CHULA VISTA – With a new football season comes new hopes and opportunities. It’s another chance to lace up your cleats, go onto the field with your “brothers” and compete. The Brawley Wildcats have never shield away from any opponent and this year is no different. Coming out of the gates, head coach Jon Self and the Wildcats traveled west to Chula Vista to take on the #1 team in Division III, the Mater Dei Catholic Crusaders. It was a game that would show just where the Wildcats stood, and the result shows just how far they need to go.
Falling behind 21-0 early in the 1st quarter, Brawley battled back to get within one score of the Crusaders. In the end, the explosiveness of the offense combined with their talent and skill would result in a 53-21 win for the Crusaders at Egger Stadium in Chula Vista.
It seemed apparent on the Brawley sideline the sense of shock of being down so early on in the game. But it did not deter them from trying to mount a comeback.
The Wildcats would finally break through on the scoreboard off a short run by Isaiah Young early in the 2nd quarter. Ethan Gutierrez would cut into the Crusaders lead even more when he faked a handoff to Young and ran it in himself 12 yards to cut the deficit to 21-14 just before halftime.
Mater Dei Catholic would answer almost immediately when quarterback Domonic Nankil would find Jerry McClure streaking down the sideline for a 61-yard bomb and a score to increase their lead back to two touchdowns going into the half; taking the air right out of the Brawley sideline.
Brawley would score again with a 53-yard sprint by Isaiah Young midway through the 3rd quarter, but the aerial assault by Nankil, who threw for 378 yards and five touchdowns, would prove to be too much for Brawley as the Crusaders outscored the Wildcats 26-7 in the 2nd half.
While dissapointed with the result of the game, Brawley head coach Jon Self said he was proud of his players for never giving up. “The scoreboard doesn’t represent the fight these kids had in them tonight,” said Self.
Ethan Gutierrez finished the game 11 of 18 passing for 87 yards and ran the ball 13 times for 93 yards rushing and a score on the ground. Senior Isaiah Young would add another 123 yards rushing on 19 carries and two rushing scores.
Brawley (0-1) will travel back to San Diego next week with another high profile matchup in Week 2. They will face the Valley Center Jaguars, the same team to defeat the Wildcats at the CIF-SDS championship back in 2003. Mater Dei Catholic (1-0) will hit the road for the first time this season when they take on the Westview Wolverines.