In the sporting world, fans often talk about signature wins. A win that is ultra-impressive given circumstances like injuries, weather, game location, margin of victory, and most importantly, strength of the opponent. On Friday night, the Wilcox Chargers not only earned its most signature win of this season, but arguably the most signature win of the entire Paul Rosa era.
The Chargers have won Central Coast Section (CCS) and California State Championships during Rosa’s eight-year tenure as Head Coach, but Friday’s 52-28 playoff-opening win over the No. 2 seed St. Francis Lancers was a blowout against the second-best school in all of the CCS.
The win catapulted the No. 7 seed Chargers 39 spots higher in MaxPreps’ California state rankings from 118 to 79. Conversely, the loss dropped the Lancers 49 spots from 44 to 93. Of all the shifts in state rankings in the top 100, the next largest shift in either direction was Madison of San Diego moving up 36 spots. Numerically, the data suggests the Chargers’ win was the biggest upset in all of California for the first round of the playoffs.
Not only was the Chargers’ victory a big upset in the CCS playoffs, but Wilcox earned the win with one of the most dominant rushing performances since Rosa took over the program eight years ago. Led by tailback Elijah Walker’s 220 yards and quarterback Tyson Bonilla’s 170 yards, the Chargers nearly racked up 500 yards on the ground, “settling” instead for 485. The question had to be asked to coach Rosa, was this the most impressive win since you took over the program?
“Yeah, for sure, I would say so,” confirmed Rosa after a brief pause to think about it. “They are the No. 2 ranked team in the section and on offense we played our best game by far.”
The Chargers offensive line featuring left tackle Justin Hylkema, left guard Ryan Castillo, Angelo De Los Santos at center, right guard Michael Gonzalez and right tackle Jacob Smith paved the way for as good of a running game as any high school team could hope to put on tape.
“It was by far their best game as a group,” praised coach Rosa on his offensive line. “Our guys were really focused, one of those games where they were just in the zone. They were locked in.”
The Chargers offensive line was locked in and so was Walker gashing through the holes it opened up for him. Not only did Walker pick up over 200 yards rushing, but he also added four touchdowns on the ground. The humble Walker noted after the game against the Lancers that he wasn’t sure if it was his best statistical performance since he doesn’t keep track of his own stats. He was however aware of his team’s doubters prior to the game.
“From a team perspective, I take things personally and there was a lot of media coverage on this game and everyone had us as the underdog,” noted Walker. “Some media said that we were going to lose 28-7, and I was like ‘yeah, that’s really disrespectful.’”
Wilcox will once again look to prove its doubters wrong when the Chargers take on No. 1 seed Serra this Friday Nov. 17 for the CCS Open Division Championship. The game will be at a neutral site at San Jose City College at 7 p.m.