Football to Tackle Visiting Silver Hawks in CIF Div. 8 Opener


Courtesy of Marissa Arnold

Jeff Wallace, senior, lifts senior Aidan Arnold in celebration during the Wildcats’ win over El Dorado High School on Oct. 29. Football’s season continues tomorrow evening against the visiting Silverado Silver Hawks in the CIF Div. 8 play-off opener.

Varsity football celebrated head coach Robb Perrance’s final home game on Oct. 29, but the farewell was a week premature as the Wildcats were awarded a home game in the first round of the CIF Division 8 play-offs, which begin Friday.

The Wildcats, currently 5-3 overall, enter the play-offs after claiming the North Hills League title with a 25-20 win over El Dorado High School on Oct. 29. It’s the second league title in as many years for the Wildcats — the team also won the league championship in a COVID-19-shortened 2020-2021 season.

Making the 71-mile trek from Victorville to Wildcat Stadium is Silverado High School of the Desert Sky League. The 5-5 Silver Hawks ended their regular season on a five game win streak and a league championship.

A key to victory for the Wildcats will be stopping Silverado’s dual-threat senior quarterback Ian Wilson (650 yards passing, 221 yards rushing, 10 touchdowns), and triple-threat junior Darren Gandy (693 yards passing, 329 yards rushing, 252 yards receiving, 17 touchdowns). Silverado’s favorite target is Lyndon Ravare, senior, who has hauled in a team-leading 38 passes for 758 yards and seven touchdowns. Junior Fredrick Hunter leads the Silver Hawks ground game with 771 yards on 130 carries, and nine touchdowns.

To prepare for the opening contest, the Wildcats have spent the past week studying game film of Silverado.

“We’re just trying to study what they do, trying to prepare, and work on our game plan,” said quarterback Justus Thongphrachanh, senior.

Thongphrachanh has thrown for 1750 yards and 15 passing touchdowns, and rushed for 202 yards and three touchdowns this season. Andrew Rubio, senior, will look to crack 100 yards on the ground again, and add to his 11 rushing touchdowns. Juniors Roman Meraz (480 yards receiving, four touchdowns) and Axl Rodriguez (429 yards, one TD), and senior Ryan Reagins (334 yards, 3 TDs) will be Thongphrachanh’s primary targets.

Tasked with stopping Silverado’s unpredictable offense: seniors Aidan Arnold (115 tackles, four fumble recoveries), Brock Labelle (86 tackles), Reagins (59 tackles), and Emilio Gonzalez (5.5 sacks).

Meraz is optimistic about the game’s outcome, and about the Wildcats’ chances in CIF: “The team is feeling good and confident and we’re hoping to go all the way this year.”

The Wildcats’ quest for a CIF Div. 8 title begins Friday night in Wildcat Stadium at 7 p.m.