Friday night’s football game between rival schools Santa Clara and Wilcox may seem like two teams going in opposite directions. The 35-0 win was the Chargers’ third-straight victory, whereas the loss was the Bruins’ fifth-straight loss. However, when one digs a little deeper, the reality shows both teams are happy with the direction their teams are headed.
Santa Clara Bruins See Improvement in Loss
No team is ever happy after a 35-0 loss, but the final score Friday actually demonstrates development for the Bruins. The previous two times the Bruins faced off against their northern rivals, they were drubbed by identical 63-7 scores. This time around, the Bruins prevented the Chargers from getting on the board until midway through the second quarter.
“I’m really pleased with the way we have been playing, other than the Palo Alto game,” chimed Bruins Head Coach Andrew Calderon. “We’re just a few plays away on offense where we can have sustainable drives. The overall team grittiness, that’s there. I’m pleased with the way they are playing; with the staff and how they are coaching them up.”
On the defensive side of the ball, the Bruins coaches have certainly done a great job and the players have responded. Keeping the Chargers out of the end zone through the first quarter is no small feat. In previous weeks the Bruins were in tight games against Mountain View and Milpitas, losing 21-14 and 10-0.
“We have been executing well on defense, we fight every practice, every game,” chimed Bruins senior linebacker Michael Rios, who also plays running back on offense. “Just we haven’t had something click on offense yet.”
While the Bruins offense has struggled, the team camaraderie has remained strong despite a switch at quarterback. Senior Aiden Rangle started the season at quarterback and is now shining on defense with sophomore Matthew Conklin taking over as the signal caller. Such a move could have caused friction, but coach Calderon praised Rangle’s “do whatever it takes for the team” attitude when told about the change.
“When we informed him of our decision, he didn’t bat an eye,” remarked Calderon. “He was like ‘wherever you guys want me to play and think I can contribute, that’s what I want to do’.”
Wilcox Chargers Prepare for Playoffs
As for Wilcox, what they want to do is continue their winning streak as they head towards the playoffs. While the streak has come against teams whom they were heavily favored against, all the Chargers can do is play the games on their schedule. After the loss to Los Gatos in the league opener, Wilcox has taken care of business.
“I think we have continued to improve as the season has gone on,” chimed Chargers Head Coach Paul Rosa. “We’re starting to find [our groove] and we are getting healthy also. We’re not having to play as many two-way guys either, so that makes a big difference. More guys are getting experience overall, which is good for our young team.”
Known as a run dominant offense, Wilcox quarterback Armand Johnson has impressed when he gets the opportunity to throw the ball. His chemistry with receiver Charlie Carlson and tailback Luther Glenn in the pass game will likely be key for a deep playoff run through CCS.
Wilcox plays at Homestead this Friday, October 29, while the Bruins have a bye. The regular season will wrap up the following week.