Imperial Valley Press - - FRONT PAGE - BY TOM RONCO

BRAWLEY — Scor­ing two unan­swered sec­ond-half touch­downs, the Morse High Tigers de­feated the Brawley Union High School Wild­cats, 22-14, in a San Diego CIF Divi­sion III quar­ter­fi­nal game at Warne Field Fri­day night.

The fourth-seeded Wild­cats and fifth-seeded Tigers bat­tled it out in a very phys­i­cal game whose out­come went down to the last minute.

“I think the kids played ex­tremely hard,” said Brawley Head Coach Jon Self. “It was a tough game phys­i­cally, and they had a cou­ple of spe­cial ath­letes, and yet we were right there with them.”

Brawley took the open­ing kicko and drove 68 yards to the Morse 1-yard line where se­nior Casey Kline scored on a quar­ter­back sneak.

Kline re­turned to ac­tion in the Bell Game af­ter re-in­jur­ing his shoul­der, an in­jury which cost him three games in 2017 and three more this sea­son, af­ter talk­ing with Boise State’s foot­ball sta where he has com­mit­ted to play next sea­son.

“They left the de­ci­sion up to me. … The MRI was bad, and I was at 60 per­cent, but that was enough to get out there,” Kline said. “But I knew there was never go­ing to be a uni­form I’d put on with more pride than my home­town’s, so I just played the best I could.”

Brawley missed the PAT and led 6-0 un­til UCLA-bound Shamar Mar­tin en­gi­neered a drive and capped it with a 6-yard touch­down run and a two-point con­ver­sion to give the Tigers an 8-6 ad­van­tage.

Brawley ral­lied with a 79-yard drive that ended just 0:36.6 be­fore half­time, when se­nior run­ning back Michael Moreno scored from 1 yard out and then con­verted a two-point run to give the Wild­cats a 14-8 half­time lead.

Moreno su ered a high-an­kle in­jury on his first carry of the Bell Game two weeks ago, and his play was lim­ited.

“No way I was go­ing to miss this. … The doc­tor said I could play, and even less than 100 per­cent, I was go­ing to play, and I fi­nally got the touch­down,” Moreno said.

“We played hard all game long, fought to the end, and I’m so proud of this team. We had a lot of things hap­pen this year, but every­body stepped up.”

Morse would open the sec­ond half with a 79-yard drive and scored a two-point con­ver­sion to re­take the lead at 16-14.

Isiah Thomp­son broke loose in the fourth quar­ter for an 85yard touch­down run.

Brawley played stel­lar de­fense through­out the game as the Tigers pounded the foot­ball and only at­tempted two passes, which went in­com­plete.

“I left it all on the field. … I knew if we lost it was my last game so I played with ur­gency,” said Wild­cat linebacker Deonte Bell. “Their line was phys­i­cal, but we could han­dle that, but their backs were fast and a cou­ple mis­takes cost us the game.”

Brawley tried to come back with two late drives each of which failed de­spite the Wil­cats uno cially gain­ing more yards pass­ing (148) than rush­ing (126).

Brawley fin­ishes the 2018 sea­son with an 8-3 over­all record and an Im­pe­rial Val­ley League mark of 4-1.

”I’m very proud of the e ort tonight, and I have a lot of re­spect for this team,” Self said. “They came to play tonight, and they came to play each game all sea­son.”


Brawley Union High’s Nathan Godinez gets sacked as he runs the ball against Morse High dur­ing a CIF San Diego Div. III foot­ball game on Fri­day in Brawley.

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