The Wilson Bruins showed why they’re the hottest team in Long Beach this week with a 43-7 win over visiting Huntington Beach on Friday.
“If we can play that way every week we proved we can do something this year,” Wilson coach Mark Ziegenhagen said. “They’re doing a great job of focusing.”
Senior quarterback Ryan Pettway led a balanced Wilson attack by completing 17 of his 21 pass attempts for 228 yards and four touchdowns to three different receivers. Nick Timko caught two of those scores in the first half.
The Bruins offense has averaged almost 450 yards per game this season, and a lot of that came from the Pettway to Michael Bruner connection. However, Huntington Beach double teamed the junior receiver and Pettway made the correct adjustments.
“The only reason our receivers were open so much is because they were bracketing Bruner,” Pettway said. “They game planned all around him which opened our other receivers up to make plays and that’s what they did today. We have a much better receiving corps than we get credit for and it showed today.”
Timko finished with three catches and two scores for 78 yards, and fellow junior Tyrie Robinson had a game-high six catches for 76 yards. Bruner had three catches for 52 yards. Ethan Moxley and Clint Stephens caught the other two touchdown passes on play-action fakes in the red zone.
“When Pettway was a sophomore he probably would have thrown more bombs tonight,” Ziegenhagen said. “But now he’s understanding what we’re trying to do.”
“All week (offensive coordinator Jim Houston) was in my head saying ‘take what they give you’,” Pettway said. “Even when I messed around in practice and threw it deep he’d remind me ‘take what they give you’ so I just stuck with that today and we had a great game.”
The Wilson defense pitched a shutout until the final minutes of the running clock fourth quarter. Senior Soloman Bowie made a handful of big plays including a 90-yard fumble return for a touchdown, and defensive back Saadite Green Jr. had two interceptions for the second consecutive game. Huntington Beach only had 55 net yards of offense in the first three quarters.
“Bowie is a man,” Ziegenhagen said. “He’s all over the place and he brings that intensity to our defense. He plays with a lot of heart and that affects everyone else.”
Wilson (3-0) travels to face St. Anthony next week in the Battle For 7th Street rivalry. The Bruins haven’t started a season 4-0 since the 1960’s.
“We’re creating a culture and we’re creating an opportunity,” Ziegenhagen said. “We can’t let that opportunity slip away. We have to stay focused, and humble and hungry and all of that corny stuff, but it’s so true. These kids are 16 and 17 years old and their minds are fragile. If we don’t keep on them about it they’ll lose it.”
“We feel great,” Pettway said. “When you’re number one you know everyone is coming for you and you have to play your best every week. Our leadership from our defensive captains like Bowie and Moxley has been outstanding. We’re just putting out a great overall team effort.”
Wilson backup running back Peter Sio ran the ball 18 times for 88 yards, while Pettway picked up 67 yards on seven carries. Bowie came in late and ran it four times for 30 yards and a touchdown. Regular starting running back Dillon Harris was out due to injury.
The Bruins are currently ranked No. 4 in CIF Southern Section Division 7.