Another inauspicious start didn’t stop Wilson from using great pressure defensive and Michael Bruner’s three touchdowns to beat visiting San Jacinto 27-13 on Friday in the home opener.
San Jacinto opened the game with a kickoff return for a touchdown, which is exactly what happened to Wilson last week, but again the Bruins quickly responded with a scoring drive capped by a Dillon Harris touchdown. That quick exchange of fortune set the tone for a night full of momentum shifts.
“That’s high school football right there,” Wilson coach Mark Ziegenhagen said. “You just never know which way this damn ball is going to bounce. Like last week there was no panic (after the kickoff return) and I think the only guys who were panicking were the coaches on the headsets.”
Wilson took a 14-13 lead late in the second quarter and held that slight advantage while improving to 2-0 for only the second time in the last two decades.
“We’re still making mistakes but we’re making them while we’re playing hard,” Zeigenhagen said. “We played with a lot of perseverance tonight and the defense made a lot of key stops when we needed them.”
The Wilson defense was able to contain San Jacinto quarterback Kajiya Hollawayne with calculated pressure. The junior, who has offers from PAC-12 schools, was sacked five times while racking up 250 net offensive yards. Hollawayne only completed 12 of his 28 pass attempts, and only three of his last 10. Wilson sophomore Saadite Green Jr. had two interceptions in the first half.
San Jacinto took a 13-6 lead on Hollawayne’s 4th down touchdown run in the first quarter, and that’s the last time the Tigers would score. The five forced turnovers by Wilson helped keep Hollawayne off of the field in the second half.
Michael Bruner only had four catches on the night, but three of them gave the Wilson defense a lead to defend. Bruins quarterback Ryan Pettway found Bruner on the first play after Green Jr.’s first interception, and the junior receiver broke a pair of tackles to go 75 yards for the touchdown. That gave Wilson the lead when Nick Timko converted the two-point conversion.
On the first play of the third quarter, Pettway found Bruner for his second touchdown on a 70-yard slant and run down the home sideline.
“I knew I had them beat,” Bruner said. “When you catch (the short passes) you just get as much as you can. But for me I just have in my head that I won’t go down and I want to score. That’s all I’m thinking.”
Bruner didn’t need to think much on his last touchdown that sealed the victory in the final minutes. Pettway went over the top on first down to find Bruner for a 51-yard touchdown that capped the scoring.
Wilson is No. 5 in the latest CIF-SS Division 7 poll, and San Jacinto (1-1) is No. 3 in Division 6.
QB Ryan Pettway – 14/21, 332 yards, 3 TD, 2 INT
WR Michael Bruner – 4 catches, 193 yards, 3 TD
RB Dillon Harris – 21 carries, 101 yards, TD
DB Saadite Green Jr. – 2 Interceptions
DB Soloman Bowie – 2 Fumble Recoveries