Despite their offense being unable to pick up a single first down until just before halftime, the Santa Clara Bruins were in a dog fight with the Milpitas Trojans for the majority of the first half Friday, thanks almost entirely to their defense.
While Milpitas would score a touchdown on their second drive of the game, the extra point would be no good and Santa Clara would trail just 6-0 until the last minute of the first half. Even with their offense stuck in first gear through two quarters, the Bruins defense prevented the Trojans from scoring on all but one of their first six drives. Milpitas would score their second touchdown on their seventh drive with just 27 seconds remaining in the second quarter.
“They have been good all week, all year,” remarked Bruins Head Coach Burt Codera on his defense after the game. “They are aggressive, they play downhill, they are coached up very well and play hard.”
“We felt confident the whole game,” said Bruins linebacker Alan Tran. “During practice we knew what we were going to face. We prepared ourselves well, we came out strong and told ourselves, ‘11 guys to the ball.’ That’s how we play.”
Without a doubt the biggest play of the game for the Bruins came from defensive back Bryson Bradley. The junior intercepted a deep, overthrown pass in the middle of the field at his own 30-yard line and returned it 36 yards down to the Trojan’s 34-yard line.
Unfortunately, the Bruins offense would stall yet again on the ensuing drive after the interception. A touchdown on that drive would have possibly given the Bruins the lead with a successful extra point. However, it wasn’t until halfway into the fourth quarter, trailing 21-0, when the Bruins offense finally got into a rhythm.
A 25-yard catch by Gabriel Lopez over the middle followed by a 30-yard catch by Bailey Mungaray finally got things cooking. A short out route and tough run after the catch by Mungaray later in the drive and a 9-yard reception by Max Orellana put the Bruins at the Trojans one-yard line. After a quarterback sneak was unsuccessful, quarterback Rocco Rolih IV found Mungaray on a quick hitch for a one-yard touchdown pass.
“He might be little, but he’s strong,” noted Tran on Mungaray. “I think he’s one of the strongest people I’ve ever met. He has heart, he wants to play, he wants to play for this team, for us. He just wants to play, period. I’m proud of him.”
Mungaray was not only a force in the Bruins’ lone scoring drive of their eventual 28-7 loss, but he was excellent wrapping up as a tackler from his cornerback position and he consistently gave the offense solid field position after strong returns on special teams.
After a hard-nosed fight for extra yards after a short catch two plays before his touchdown, Mungaray was given praise by one of the Trojans defenders.
“[The other team] recognizes when a kid plays with heart and plays the game the right way,” added coach Codera on Mungaray. “I mean look at him, he’s all beat up, he’s limping around, he leaves it all out here.”
The loss all but assuredly knocks the Bruins out of playoff contention as they fall to 4-5 overall and 1-4 in league play. Santa Clara wraps up their season against cross-town rival Wilcox this Friday, Nov. 1.