The Santa Clara Bruins football team appears to be finding its stride and identity at the right time. Since dropping their season opener against Soquel by a 27-6 final, the Bruins have won three-straight games as they head into league play this coming Friday. Wins against Mission (San Francisco) 36-12 and Menlo School 16-14 preceded a blowout win, 48-0 over Los Altos this past Saturday.
Against Los Altos, senior wide receiver Joseph Hernandez caught just two passes from junior quarterback Rocco Rolih IV, but both went for touchdowns. Tailbacks Bailey Mungaray and Isiah Ketton each found the endzone on the ground in addition to a running score from Rolih himself. The Bruins defense would also get in on the scoring, returning a fumble recovery for a touchdown.
The obvious question, which was more impressive, the 48 points or the zero points?
“It’s always hard to get a shutout, no matter what,” said Bruins Head Coach Burt Codera. “They could break a play or get a field goal, shutouts are important. I would say the shutout [was more impressive], the defense scored a touchdown and got us a couple turnovers in good spots.”
Hernandez, who also plays on the defensive side of the ball at times, agreed with his head coach.
“The zero, definitely the zero,” answered Hernandez on which side of the score was more impressive. “All the hard work the defense puts in just motivates the offense even more. So, I think it all starts with the defense.”
The Bruins’ defense featured tremendous performances from the big boys up front including defensive tackles Ibe Otha and Amos Talalele. They paved the way and ate up blocks to free up linebackers Isaia Sasa and Mike Rios to make plays.
On the defensive touchdown, it was Mungaray who scooped up the loose ball and returned it to the house.
“The defense and offense went hand to hand in this one,” remarked Mungaray, who plays corner on defense in addition to his running back duties. “Getting that three points on the board early allowed the defense to breathe a little bit. We really worked together as a team, that’s what impressed me the most.”
When it comes to the Bruins’ offense, what stood out the most on film was their ability to draw in the Los Altos defense for big gains on screen plays.
“We’ve been trying to find our identity and we seem to be a bit more pass friendly than most high school teams,” noted coach Codera. “A lot of teams are going to blitz to get pressure on you so to neutralize that you hit them with screens. Getting our athletes in space with linemen in front of them, that’s a recipe for success.”
Santa Clara will now open up league play in the De Anza league when they take on Fremont on Friday, Sept. 27. The Bruins and Firebirds kickoff is slated for 7 p.m.