West Ranch football has the chance to make history once again tonight as they play Woodrow Wilson of Long Beach in the second round of the CIF-Southern Section Division 7.
The Wildcats reached the second round of the postseason last year, but fell to Oxnard by three points.
“We never thought we would be in this position when I first took over and it’s the second time doing it,” Varner said. “How far you want to go is up to your effort.”
The Bruins (10-1) are the runner-up of the Moore League and bring an athletic quarterback in Ryan Pettway into the contest.
In his senior year, Pettway has completed 115-of-171 passes for 2,433 yards and 36 touchdowns while rushing for an additional 269 yards and four touchdowns on 39 carries.
“I maybe have thrown with him. He’s looking good of the film we were watching,” said West Ranch quarterback Walker Eget. “He’s a really good mover, he loves to hit small routes, but he completes it. He’s a really good quarterback.”
Pettway has reliable receivers, as four players on the roster have over 200 yards receiving each on the season. Eget has options, too. Brandon Wyre leads all Wildcat receivers in yardage with 913 yards and has nine touchdowns. He’s followed by Nick Kohl, who has 692 yards and eight touchdowns. Zach Van Bennekum has 557 and nine touchdowns.
“I would say if we have four receivers out there, he’s got four options,” Varner said. “And he’s very good at getting rid of the ball before that size disadvantage ether we have comes into play. When he’s on, he’s really on and our receivers are really on.”
The Wildcats (9-2) have a reliable stable of running backs as well, with Reiger Burgin leading the pack at 905 yards and 15 touchdowns on 164 carries.
Quick thinking on offense will be key for West Ranch, as the team finds itself outmatched in terms of size against Wilson’s quick and aggressive defense.
Six-foot sophomore Cole Henderson leads the Bruins in sacks with six and 5-foot-10 linebacker Ethan Moxley leads the team with 73 total tackles, according to MaxPreps.
“Their defense is fast and they play with intention,” said Kohl. “They’re going in hard. They want to be on that field and hit hard.”
Although they may be smaller and have less playoff experience, Varner thinks that being underestimated could possibly be one of their greatest assets.
“I’m sure we don’t look like much, but it’s up to them to get ready and for us to get ready and that’s why we play this game,” he said.
“We’ve been outsized against everyone almost all season long. Most teams we play in league have bigger lines and we just do our best and try and get the kids comfortable and reacting instead of thinking.”
Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. at Valencia High School.