By John Philip Wyllie
For the second week in a row, a former prep star from a local high school has made a major impact for the ever-improving San Diego State Football Team (2-1). Two weeks ago, Aztec wide receiver Robert Ortiz (Horizon High School) contributed a touchdown and had a circus catch that found its way on to the evening ESPN Play of the Day highlight reel.
For Ortiz, (7 receptions for 125 yards and 1 TD) the September 18 game against Michigan will be one he will remember fondly. Ortiz also had the longest reception on that day for the Aztecs, a 61 yard romp following a shovel pass. His contributions were all the more amazing considering the fact that he was playing on a foot that had been ripped open the preceding Wednesday after he stepped on some broken glass.
Last week, it was Brandon Bornes (Rancho Buena Vista High) turn. The 6’1” 235 pound running back closed out the first quarter of the 27-10 victory over Nevada Saturday night with a dazzling 35-yard touchdown run.
“I had gotten into the game on two or three plays before that and they were all blocking plays. So, when they saw me come into the game they probably thought I’d be blocking. We ran a draw and their linebackers dropped deep (expecting a pass).”
Bornes broke some tackles near the line of scrimmage and then used his hurdler’s speed to race down the right flank for the score. It probably won’t be the last we see of him.
An intriguing possibility would be to combine the jitterbugging style of the smaller more elusive (5’7” 185 pound) Franklin with the power, strength and speed of the bruising Bornes. While the Aztecs have gone exclusively thus far with a single back set, a two-back set might be a future option.
“We sometimes practice out of a (two-back) pro set,” Bornes confirmed, “but we didn’t do that tonight. (The decision to use a pro set) would depend on the team that we are playing.”
The Aztecs will be visiting the Rose Bowl tomorrow for a 4:00 p.m. game versus the UCLA Bruins (2-1). The Bruins will be well-rested after coming off of a bye week. The highly-touted Aztec “Dark Side” defense will face a stern challenge in trying to shut down UCLA’s powerful running game featuring Maurice Drew (169 yards per game) and Manuel White (108 yards per game).
While UCLA is not currently ranked among the nation’s top 25, beating them would be a major accomplishment for the up and coming Aztecs.
“(UCLA) is another chance, but this time we have to capitalize on it,” Bornes said. “We have to step it up.”