The Wilcox Chargers won their third-straight game in convincing fashion on April Fool’s Day, beating hometown rival Santa Clara 46-0. Next up for the Chargers is perennial league rival Los Gatos. Both teams enter with 3-0 records, making the game a de facto De Anza League Championship. Wilcox heads into the juggernaut of a matchup nursing a few bumps and bruises, but their confidence remains high as they continue to personify the underdog mentality.
“We’re having a good season so far, everybody is locked in and doing what they are supposed to be doing,” said Chargers sophomore tailback Andrew Palacios. “I was definitely shocked to see we were ranked so low. I think we are showing people that we are doing what we always do at Wilcox.”
“If we do have to go next man up, I think we are prepared for it,” said Wilcox Head Coach Paul Rosa on his team’s depth heading into the big game. “Especially this season, we are already trying to play as many guys as possible. We knew that injuries were going to pop up and you have to have other guys ready. With us, the next guy that gets in there is not that far behind the guy that is ahead of him.”
While the Chargers look ahead to a season-defining matchup this week, the Bruins, who are now 0-3, will finish their season with games against Palo Alto and Milpitas. As Santa Clara Head Coach Burt Codera notes, it has been an especially tough season given all the challenges of playing through the pandemic.
“It’s just been constant adversity that we’ve had to face,” said Codera. “We lost a lot of kids to New Valley, to grades, people had to move out of state, all pandemic-related stuff that wouldn’t have happened. I lost probably 15 kids, probably 12 starters.”
Codera says he’s particularly proud of the seniors that have stuck with it despite the uphill battle with the pandemic and playing in the extremely tough De Anza Division.
“The seniors that have stuck it out through the pandemic, made the grades, stayed eligible and still had the desire to play, those guys are amazing. Ibe Otah, Josh Baughman, and JC Ferguson are some of our key seniors that have stuck it out.”
The scores thus far this season haven’t been friendly to the Bruins. Santa Clara has been outscored 141-14, but at the end of the day, a lot of these kids are just thrilled to be able to play football again, particularly seniors who had feared missing out on their entire senior season.
“That first game was unreal because it seemed like there was no chance for playing our senior year,” noted Otah, who starts at left tackle on offense and defensive tackle on defense. “I was just so happy because I really love this game. It was a surreal feeling.”