A new system for the CCS football playoffs this season has wound up delivering a two-fold of second chances for the Wilcox Chargers. For the first time, the CCS Open Division and Division I playoff brackets were combined. The new format allows the loser of the Open Division Championship game a second chance to become champions by taking on the last remaining team in Division I.
This past Friday night, the Chargers fell 63-27 in the Open Championship game to the Serra Padres, the former home of Tom Brady. The Padres remain undefeated at 12-0 and are ranked as the top school in all of Northern California.
While the loss certainly wasn’t what Wilcox supporters were hoping for against the Padres, their squad is still alive for a CCS Championship. Not only do they get a second chance at a title and championship banner, but they will get a second chance at beating their perennial division rival, the Los Gatos Wildcats. The Chargers’ only loss of the league season came in a 24-21 nail biter to their bitter rivals, a team they haven’t beaten since 2019. Now, the two squads will square off in a rematch with a CCS Championship on the line on Black Friday.
After the loss to Serra, Chargers’ running back Elijah Walker was asked if the loss stung less knowing the season wasn’t yet over.
“Definitely, but the loss was still disappointing,” noted the senior tailback. “Regardless of whether we have another game or not. As a competitor and as a person who genuinely doesn’t like losing, that’s exactly what it is, I don’t like losing. I don’t care how good the team is; I don’t care if they are the No. 1 team in California. I don’t care what the media thinks about this specific team. I don’t like the fact that we lost, especially losing big.
“Yeah, it’s a nice game to go as a public school going up against the best team in Northern California which is a private school, but even then it hurt that we lost,” continued Walker. “It just didn’t feel right. I think we could have played better or I could have done something different to help the team win.”
As the team’s top rusher and one of its most outspoken leaders, Walker’s hatred of losing should serve the Chargers well as the team enters the revenge game against Los Gatos with everything on the line.
“I’m really excited because we haven’t beaten them in my time here,” added Walker on the rivalry being renewed at 7 p.m. this Black Friday. “I think this is the biggest test. How straight can we get our heads in this playoff game? Can we ignore everything in the past or are we going to let those losses affect us?”
Head Coach Paul Rosa and the rest of the Chargers coaching staff will be hammering home ball security heading into the rematch. In that 24-21 loss to Los Gatos, the Chargers lost a fumble right near the goal line. They also had a blocked punt against them that the Wildcats scooped up and scored a touchdown on.
“Protect the ball,” responded Wilcox Chargers Defensive Line Coach Emmit Palacios on what the team has to do better this time around against Los Gatos. “Whoever turns the ball over less often will win this game.”