It was a Jekyll and Hyde kind of performance by the Wilcox Chargers offense at Levi’s Stadium on Friday. The defending State Champions scored a touchdown on their first possession, but the rest of the opening half was nightmarish to say the least.
The Hollister Haybalers responded immediately for a touchdown of their own on their second drive. Wilcox followed that up by turning the ball over on a fumble at their own 29. Hollister needed just one play to make the turnover hurt. Just like that it was 14-7.
Wilcox would fail to score on their next drive. This time, they drove down into Hollister territory, but a run up the middle on fourth and seven was stuffed and the ball was turned over on downs.
After a defensive stop, the Wilcox offense would continue to move the ball effectively, highlighted by a big third-and-long reception by Jacob Dominguez. Unfortunately, the Chargers would fumble yet again, this time at the Hollister one-yard line.
The nightmare first half would carry over into the third quarter. Yet another fumble, this time on a pitch option. Hollister would score on the following drive to take a 20-7 lead.
At this point the tide suddenly turned. A switch seemingly flipped on the Wilcox sideline.
“It wasn’t actually any single person [who said anything],” answered Wilcox Head Coach Paul Rosa when asked if anyone stepped up with a motivational message. “We just started to make a couple plays and the energy on the sideline changed. And that was a huge deal, you could feel the sideline change and the momentum flip.”
Wilcox cut out the sloppy turnovers and scored 27 unanswered points to come away with a 34-20 victory. Paul M. Rosa, despite 2 fumbles in the first half, powered the offense. The senior finished with an astounding 273 yards rushing on 29 carries and a pair of touchdowns, including the game-winning score with 8:36 remaining.
“This game should have started different,” admitted the younger Rosa. “We just had to focus on doing our jobs and everyone did their jobs. We knew we had a lot of time left.”
Chargers quarterback Geremy McCollough also bounced back in the second half after an early third-quarter turnover. McCollough scored the first two Chargers’ touchdowns of the second half. The tying score came on a keeper where he looked initially stopped for no gain. Instead, McCoullough stayed on his feet, bounced off the hit and jetted up the middle for a 25-yard score.
“Sometimes I think [other] people think I am just a quarterback, that I’m fragile since I don’t get hit in practice,” joked McCollough on if his toughness is underrated. “I like to run the ball, as long as I know which way on the field I need to keep going, I just keep churning my feet and hope for the best.”
A toughness that certainly isn’t underrated is that of the Chargers’ defense. Defensive end Tyler Rowland and middle linebacker Roan Poulivaati helped lead the way, shutting down a Hollister run game that sold their play action fakes with conviction.
“We went in at halftime talking about how we were going to fix our front,” remarked Poulivaati. “We came out in the second half and executed it.”
Wilcox will now take a 1-1 record into a Week 3 matchup against Leland in San Jose.