Even after a successful 2021 season which saw the Wildcats earn an Imperial Valley League title and a playoff win, head coach Jon Self views 2022 as a brand new year - 13 On Your Side's Luis Lopez reports
YUMA, Ariz. (KYMA, KECY) - The Brawley Wildcats are coming off a very successful season in 2021.
Which included nine wins, four wins in the Imperial Valley League, a Bell Game win, and even a playoff run.
But this year, head coach Jon Self is looking for a fresh start.
“Yes, we got a bunch of guys coming back, but it’s a new season, it’s a new look, it’s a new attitude that we’re gonna have,” Self said.
Self’s squad in 2022 brings with it plenty of experience.
Last year the Wildcats earned a playoff victory, a dominant 49-7 win over Westview of San Diego.
Their season would come to an end one week later with a close 38-35 loss to Santa Fe Christian.
Self says players who got a taste of the postseason last year are now better suited for the upcoming season.
“Getting that longer run last year gives them the experience to see what it’s like, see how to ride the bus see how to get prepared before the games, I just have a good feeling of the place that we’re at right now," Self said.
Among those more experienced players is the Wildcat gun slinger, Senior Ethan Gutierrez.
The team’s 2021 co-MVP threw for 1,073 yards, also rushing for 822 yards, scoring 13 touchdowns in the process.
This year, Gutierrez hopes to best himself in every way.
“This year, I’m hoping to do even better than last year. I wanna get double I wanna be double MVP, I wanna be double the league MVP, I’m gonna do whatever I can to do that," Gutierrez said.
Coach Self sees beyond the accolades.
Saying what he’s most looking forward to from his quarterback, is being someone who can rally the troops.
“The leadership is going to be the most important out of him, we’re really looking forward to him stepping up and just being a leader, not only on the field but off the field," Self said.
It’s being a leader that helps to motivate Gutierrez, as he enters his last year in a Wildcat uniform.
“Just playing with my dogs my last time you know, playing one last year with them, but I mean, upcoming season I’m excited, this is my last year, I'm going to do whatever I can, I’m gonna go all out on the field every game no matter what,” Gutierrez said.
The Wildcats’ first game will come at home against Scripps Ranch on August 19th.