The Santa Clara Bruins will take on the Overfelt Royals in the first round of the CCS Division IV playoffs. It is a matchup of a No. 3 seeded Royals (9-2, 5-2) vs the No. 6 seeded Bruins (6-4, 5-1). It is also a rematch of a Week 2 contest that ended in a 30-0 loss for Santa Clara.
Bruins fans may recall that Week 2 loss being rather ugly, but it actually wasn’t as bad it appeared in the box score. The Santa Clara offense orchestrated numerous drives into the red zone in that early-season contest against Overfelt. However, turnovers and timeout miscues prevented the Bruins from scoring. Since then a number of Santa Clara players have made big improvements. The Bruins will still be the underdog in this game, a role they cherish, but don’t be surprised if these underdogs pull out the upset.
“We’re excited to possibly get some redemption. They really stuck it to us last time,” remarked Bruins Head Coach Burt Codera. “They outplayed us the entire game, but we didn’t play our A game. We’re definitely still the underdogs this time around. I don’t think anyone expects us to win except for the group we have here, but that’s the way we like it.”
“We like to call this week ‘revenge week’ because we’re looking to get our revenge on them,” said Bruins senior corner and tailback Bailey Mungaray. “They did beat us 30-0, but we were in the red zone a number of times and our offense has gotten better since then. We have a lot more confidence now in those situations.
Not only has the Bruins’ offense improved over the course of the season — with quarterback Nick Garcia developing into a solid quarterback — but the Bruins’ defense has been flying around the field ever since the big win at Levi’s Stadium that kicked off their league season.
“We had our backs against the wall. We were 1-3 at the point” recalled coach Codera on the team’s record entering the game at Levi’s, the home field of the San Francisco 49ers. “Once we played a good game against a good team and we realized what our potential, was everyone kind of bought in to what we were doing and we started clicking.”
While the Bruins have revenge on the minds, they also realize a win would mean continuing an upward track. Last year the Bruins won a CCS playoff game for the first time in over 20 years. Winning a playoff game for the second-straight season would be a big deal for the school.
“If we can get our revenge this week, it will be two consecutive years getting to the second round of CCS, which would be a big accomplishment,” noted Bruins sophomore tailback Isiah Ketton. “So, not only can we get revenge on Overfelt, but also we can continue what we started last season.”
The Bruins will return to the scene of that 30-0 loss on Friday as their Week 2 debacle was also played at Overfelt. Underdogs or not, these Bruins are completely different bears since that game back in late August. Kickoff for the Nov. 9 playoff opener is 7 p.m.