There’s a popular cliche that goes, “close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades,” and when it comes to competitive sports, many will tell you there is no such thing as a “moral victory.” However, the Wilcox Chargers’ 20-19 loss to rival Los Gatos might be the closest thing to a moral victory as it gets in the sporting world. Not that you’ll likely get many Chargers coaches or players to admit to it, but the fact that the young underdog squad was even in the game, much less up 19-0 at one point in the second quarter, is incredibly impressive.
Impressive because while the teams are perennial rivals and juggernauts in the De Anza division, this is the season that Los Gatos was supposed to beat Wilcox. The Wildcats are older and more experienced. Hence, the way Wilcox soared out of the gates was quite the jaw-dropping start to the contest.
Wilcox found paydirt on the opening possession without throwing a pass. Junior tailback Luther Glenn shined behind his offensive line and finished off the drive with a 1-yard touchdown run. In the second quarter, the Chargers defense started to take over. The first of their four interceptions was a pick-six touchdown by senior corner Rashaun Bowden.
“He’s had a really good year this year and obviously had a good game tonight,” remarked Wilcox Head Coach Paul Rosa on Bowden. “He played in some tough games last year that prepared him for this and he had a great game.”
Not only was it a great game because of the interceptions, but Bowden had lock-down coverage all game long, including on a double move, deep ball attempt on the play immediately before his touchdown.
“I definitely felt like I was in the zone,” said the senior DB. “I kinda knew that they wanted to get a score on the board, so I was on the lookout for deep passes.”
Bowden’s second interception later in the second quarter came shortly after a brilliant, touchdown-saving tackle by junior wide receiver Charlie Carlson. It looked for certain like the Los Gatos kick returner was going to score a touchdown when Carlson came out of seemingly nowhere to catch up. His full-extension dive tripped up the returner at the 19-yard line.
“That was an amazing play, he saved a touchdown and it led to a stop,” praised Bowden on Carlson. “It was a really clutch tackle.”
Moments after the tackle Carlson didn’t think much of the play because it was still a big return setting up the Wildcats in the red zone. However, after Bowden’s second interception, Carlson realized just how big of a play he had made.
“I thought we might still get scored on at that point, so I wasn’t very enthusiastic after the tackle itself,” admitted Carlson. “But then when we got the interception I realized that I stopped them from scoring a touchdown.”
Wilcox would then score their third-straight touchdown on the ensuing possession. Quarterback Jesse Gutierrez found senior tight end Bryan Escorza wide open over the middle for a 27-yard touchdown reception.
Unfortunately for Wilcox fans, two additional interceptions by senior Jesse Teo and junior Christopher Sargent were not enough to hold off the Wildcats’ second-half comeback.