The Wilcox Chargers entered the first round of the CCS playoffs riding a five-game winning streak. After an opening-week loss to league rival Los Gatos, Wilcox steamrolled through the rest of their De Anza League opponents, winning each week by no fewer than 15 points.
That streak of dominance continued in Friday night’s playoff opener against Santa Cruz. In their first big game in over six weeks, Wilcox built up a 35-3 lead before eventually winning 42-23. While the final scoreboard looked like smooth sailing, the first half was hotly contested.
The Cardinals got the ball first and the combination of a defensive pass interference penalty with a six-yard run up the middle put Santa Cruz just short of midfield. A deep ball down the sideline on the following second-and-four play would be intercepted by Chargers two-way star Luther Glenn.
The Wilcox offense would take over at their own 29 and marched down the field only to come up short on fourth down, turning the ball back over to the Cardinals. After a Cardinals three and out on the following drive, Wilcox needed just one play to score from their own 11-yard line. Glenn took the carry and broke through the Cardinals’ defense for an 89-yard touchdown run.
Neither team would score on the next three drives. The Cardinals were stuffed twice, the first on a fourth-down sack by the Chargers junior, Ty Jeter. Wilcox would punt on the drive following the long touchdown, their second non-scoring drive of the game.
It was an extremely rare three and out for the Chargers offense that is known for picking up 3-4 yards minimum on almost every running play out of their Veer formation. The fact that those little chunk runs to sustain drives weren’t there early made it all the more important for the offense to get those explosive plays.
On their fourth offensive series, Glenn would break free for another long house call, this time rolling 75 yards for a 14-0 lead.
“Shoutout to my linemen like always; coach for repping us, showing us every move the defense was making,” chimed the senior on his explosive touchdowns. “Practice just makes perfect. Practice how you play. The way we were practicing showed up in the game.”
“Those were huge runs; they gave us that momentum,” chimed fellow running back Andrew Palacios who would add two touchdowns of his own, including a 35-yarder in the second half. “Luther is obviously a great back. He read his blocks and took two great runs to the house.”
When asked how important it was to get those explosive plays considering the usual five, six, seven-yard runs weren’t as frequent, Wilcox Head Coach Paul Rosa noted the Cardinals defense was playing an aggressive style of defense.
“Their defense was doing a ‘taking a chance’ type thing, so whenever they guessed correctly it was a good play on their part,” remarked Rosa. “But whenever they guessed wrong, it was a huge play for us. So yeah, we weren’t necessarily going to grind them slowly, but when we hit one it was going to go big.”
Elijah Walker and Daniel Escorza would add touchdowns in the second half for Wilcox, who will now host St. Ignatius in their semifinal playoff matchup on Friday, Nov. 19.