On a day that Chargers players won’t soon forget, the Wilcox varsity football team ran away with a decisive victory inside Levi’s Stadium. After the final whistle of their 49-11 win over Los Altos, Wilcox players watched highlights of themselves on the stadium big screen. For one day these kids got to feel like professional superstars—like a Joe Montana.
Speaking of legendary 49ers quarterbacks, Chargers senior David Hernandez channeled his inner Steve Young with a tremendous day running the football. Hernandez accounted for three touchdown runs among the Chargers’ first four scores. The other touchdown, Wilcox’s second of the game, belonged to tailback Gabe Herrera. Known primarily as a rusher, Herrera was the recipient of a great playcall, a play-action pass at the perfect time. Herrera was wide open in the flat and caught Hernandez’s pass before scampering into the endzone untouched for a 20-yard score.
“It’s funny because during practices people tell me I can can’t catch,” chuckled Herrera. “So when I caught that ball and scored, I came back to the bench and I was like, ‘See, I can catch! I can catch!’”
For Herrera, the experience of playing at Levi’s reminded him of some of his favorite 49er players.
“It’s a great experience to come out here and play on this field. I like the Niners, so I just think about Patrick Willis, NaVorro Bowman and Carlos Hyde. To play on this field is a huge honor. I thank the whole 49ers organization for letting us play here!”
While Wilcox ended up winning by a wide margin, it took a big touchdown drive at the end of the first half in order to enter halftime up 10 points instead of just three. A late touchdown run from Hernandez increased the lead from 14-11 to 21-11.
“That was a huge drive, I actually talked about that drive at halftime with our coaches,” noted Chargers Head Coach Paul Rosa. “It would have been a much different game if we didn’t make it 21-11 and it was still just 14-11.”
Along with Hernandez and Herrera, Wilcox got key contributions from a number of other players. Starters Ryan Cooper Jr., Michael Dinwiddie and Kejon Fletcher stood out with impressive performances, but so did role players like Nick Malvini and Brandon Washington. The latter two broke up pass plays with nicely timed reads. Malvini’s break up tipped the ball up in the air allowing Fletcher to run under for it an interception. Cooper meanwhile was a force all game long with a pass breakup of his own and Dinwiddie registered a pair of sacks.
“[Cooper] was awesome today,” agreed coach Rosa. “In addition to his strong defensive play, he also made a bunch of downfield blocks that sprung us for long runs. He’s a two-way guy, one of our most athletic guys.
“[Dinwiddie] has also been a great team guy,” added Rosa. “He’s been awesome, he plays [defensive line] and sometimes you are getting grinded on a lot, you have to take on double teams and you don’t get a lot of fame. I’m glad he got two sacks today. Usually, he’s been doing the unheralded dirty work defending the ground game.”
With the victory, Wilcox moves to 2-2 overall. They will look to improve to 2-0 in league play when they host Los Gatos next week.