Wildcats topple Bruins in a barn burner, 66-63

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Laurie Carrillo

Junior Richard Rodriguez ran rampant on the West Brook defense Friday Night

Adeen Rao, Staff Writer

In a contest which featured a combined 129 points, it was a defensive stand that made the difference in Friday night’s 66-63 win against the West Brook High School Bruins.

The buzz before the game centered on the West Brook Bruins’ blue-chip quarterback/safety Bryce Anderson, who qualifies as an Under Armour All-American, an LSU commit, and a safety who doesn’t play safety. Anderson did not play a single snap at his main position Thursday night, and one would be pressed to think the eighth ranked safety in his class could have made a difference as far as the Bruins defense was concerned.

Offensively, the Wildcats had a monstrous night, racking up just under 800 yards of offense. The bubble screen was much less prominent than it was in the Wildcats 55-7 romp over Langham Creek, and the consensus around campus was that the Wildcats running game needed to step up if the Wildcats were going to succeed: and they did all that and more.

Junior tailback Richard Rodriguez notched 239 yards at 9.2 yards per carry along with four touchdowns. The Wildcat offensive line deserves a lot of credit for the 450 yard rushing performance tonight, as the Bruins got zero pressure throughout the tilt. Thanks to the running game, the Wildcats offense was far from one-dimensional Friday night.

Senior quarterback Colton Marwill was 11/18 passing with 329 yards and two touchdowns, alongside 41 yards on the ground and two touchdowns in that regard, giving him a total of four on the night. Last week the receiving game was powered by senior wideouts Joseph Manjack and John Boehning, and this week was no different, with the duo combining for seven receptions on nine targets, just under 250 yards, and two touchdowns.

For the second week in a row we saw the Wildcats seldom kick extra points, and that gamble paid off as they picked up four more points than usual thanks to their success on the two point conversions.

Offensively, the Wildcats had a monstrous night, racking up just under 800 yards of offense.”

As for the kicking game, the night couldn’t have gotten off to a worse start. With the Wildcats seemingly cruising into halftime with a 45-29 lead, they sent out the kicking unit, only for the kick to be blocked and returned all the way for a 97-yard touchdown, bringing the Bruins right back into the game as time expired. However, with their next opportunity to kick, the Wildcats went right back to their kicking team, with the ensuing kick splitting the uprights to give the Wildcats a 52-42 lead. The unit finished the night 3/4.

In terms of the field position battle, the Wildcats came out undoubtedly on top, setting up shop at around their own 36 yard line on average. In contrast, the Bruins had zero drives starting in Wildcat territory, with an average starting field at their own 28 yard line. For the second game in a row, the Wildcats did not punt, and that stat could hold this entire season as I don’t see this offense getting in any fourth and very long situations.

Defensively, it was a night to forget for the Wildcats, with 57 points allowed (six coming from the blocked field goal return) and little stops. However, when it was the game on the line, the defense was a brick wall, standing tall against the Bruins in the two-minute drill to seal the game. Minimal issues from last week’s game against Langham Creek developed into larger issues tonight for the defense, with the unit frequently losing Quarterback Bryce Anderson on scrambles and run-pass options.

The atmosphere was deafening at TISD Stadium by the end of the night, with streamers flying in the stands and kids screaming on third downs. Additionally, the band’s dancing contest at halftime will not be forgotten.

UP NEXT: An away non-conference bout with Deer Park (0-2, 0-0 Conference)