A year ago, the Wilcox Chargers stunned the Valley Christian Warriors in the opening game of the season. In what turned out to be a defensive battle, Wilcox squeaked out the 10-6 upset victory on their home turf. This year, the two teams opened the season again, but this time with Valley Christian playing host. The Chargers put up a respectable performance, but a 13-0 hole proved too much to overcome and the Warriors got their revenge with a 23-13 victory. Despite the loss, Chargers Head Coach Paul Rosa was far from displeased with his team’s overall performance against one of the toughest teams in the Central Coast Section.
“I’m ok with how we played, we just made some first game mistakes and they hurt us when you play a team like that,” remarked coach Rosa. “Physically, we can play with teams like that and we are right there in the game. There were times in the game where it could have swung one way or another. After watching the film, I thought we played pretty well.”
The Chargers defense kept the Warriors offense in check for the most part in the loss. Warriors quarterback Cory Taylor completed just four of 11 passes for 127 yards. He threw one touchdown but was also intercepted by the Chargers’ Aaron Ah Sing.
“I thought we played really well on defense,” added coach Rosa. “Especially at the goal line, we held them out of the endzone a bunch of times. That really kept us in the game, they kicked three field goals, but those were big stops. Our defense was on the field for a long time, so I was happy with the way the defense played. It’s a good sign for us that we can at least stop the run.”
Wilcox held all three of the Warriors tailbacks to under 65 yards in the game. One of the key leaders in that run defense for the Chargers is linebacker Roan Poulivaati.
“I think the defense did a good job playing aggressive, but we made a few mistakes,” recalled Poulivaati on the opening week loss. “Just made key mistakes and let up big plays, it will be a learning experience we can bounce back from.”
“He’s been our guy in the middle there for three years now,” said coach Rosa on Poulivaati’s key role with the defense. “He’s a big reason why we are good on defense. Everything is just a little bit faster of a read for him now. He just plays faster and faster. He had a really good first game and I feel like he’s going to have a really great year there.”
On the flip side of the ball, the Chargers offense will want to significantly improve moving forward. First year starting quarterback Geremy McCollough gave himself a C grade for his first varsity start.
“He had a tough day,” chuckled coach Rosa on his quarterback, acknowledging how McCollough was basically thrown to the wolves for his first start. “If you go back to every quarterback I’ve ever coached, their first game is always a little rough. And for that first game to be at Valley Christian, preseason ranked No. 1, can’t really get any tougher than that. I’m not worried about him at all.”
Wilcox will look to even their record at 1-1 when they host San Benito on Friday, Sept. 6.