Despite seeing the season end in a 63-7 loss to their cross-town rival Wilcox Chargers, the Santa Clara Bruins exceeded expectations in 2019. Buoyed by a 3-1 record in non-league games to start the season, the Bruins finished the year with a 4-6 overall record. While they went just 1-5 in league play, their defense kept them competitive enough where it would not have shocked followers had they gone 3-3 in league. Losses to Mountain View (20-0), and Milpitas (28-7), were both one score games until just before halftime.
“We talked about competing for the entire 48 minutes of every game and we talked about sticking together and if I’m just judging them on those two things, I thought we did a really good job,” said Bruins Head Coach Burt Codera on the season. “It was definitely a step up in competition going up in leagues. I didn’t know how we were going to fare against these teams, but I think we held our own at times. I feel like the program is headed in the right direction.”
If the Bruins program is to continue heading in the right direction, they will have to do it next year without the services of a number of key seniors who will be graduating this spring. Jack-of-all-trades Bailey Mungaray, who shined as a corner, receiver and return man is set to graduate, along with leading receiver Joseph Hernandez, offensive linemen Nicholas and Matthew Martinez, and defensive standouts Alan Tran and Gabriel Lopez, among others.
“Nick and Matt Martinez are the epitome of what a brother can be,” remarked Hernandez when asked about his fellow senior teammates. “They were always there, even during practice, if we scored, hugging me and celebrating. That’s what it’s all about, those moments, just capturing it as much as you can.”
“A lot of these seniors have been on varsity since at least sophomore year, and I’m really proud of these seniors, they worked hard,” praised Mungaray. “It wasn’t just during practice, we would stay after, throw routes, do some running, put in that extra work. I’m proud of the seniors and how we did.”
On the other side of the field on Friday remains the class of the De Anza Division. The Chargers secured at least a share of their second-straight League Title with the win over the Bruins. They will play one more league game next week when they take on Fremont on Friday, Nov.8. The Chargers are slated to win that game to improve to 6-0 in league and officially become De Anza League Champions for the second straight season.
The big question for the defending CIF State Champions is, are they ready for the bright lights of the playoffs after having gone over a month’s time without a truly competitive opponent?
“I think we have to make sure we know it’s gonna matter in a couple of weeks and practice that way,” noted Wilcox Head Coach Paul Rosa. “The key is you just gotta keep practicing hard and stay prepared and focused. We’ve been doing a good job of that.”
“I think no matter what, we will be ready,” said senior Paul M. Rosa. “We’re competing with each other in practice and as long as we do that, nobody is going to be tougher than we are. We should be good in playoffs.”