The 50-20 shellacking of Bartlett in New Braunfels propelled the Eagles into a battle with arch-rival Bruni for the area championship on Friday at 1 p.m. in Javelina Stadium at Texas A&M-Kingsville.
The names on the 1988 roster of Eagles, the last team to break into the second round of the state playoffs, are too similar for coincidence. The superstition that lurks in the bedrock of sports circles, begs one question.
Was this team destined to shatter the jinx?
The Martinez twins – Mike as quarterback and Chris as a defensive tackle – see marked similarities between their 1988 team and this year’s Eagles.
“The names are the same, Martinez, Moses, Fierova, Lopez,” Chris said. “Henry played in 1980 and went to the state quarterfinals. We played with Timmy Moses, Paul Lopez and now their sons are on the team.”
Moses has two sons on the team, Logan and Trent. Fierova’s son Justin is the center and Lopez an offensive/defensive lineman.
Wade Miller, the new athletic director/head coach, brought his own karma to the game, mixing it up on the field and pulling tricks out of his playbook, like the hook and ladder that put the Eagles ahead 29-20.
Tyler Quesada hit Logan Moses with a short pass followed by Moses flipping it to DeBray Bonner, who scampered down the sideline to paydirt.
“The kids executed our plan in an unbelievable way,” Miller said. “We wore them down because we had more kids playing on one side of the ball.”
The Eagles did it all Friday night – a defensive touchdown on a fumble followed by a pitch by the Bartlett quarterback right into the hands of Jared Martinez.
Tyler Quesada then smashed through the middle to garner a 36-20 lead and a 29-point second quarter.
“There are so many similarities,” Chris Martinez said. “The team spirit is back. We loved the school. They love the school and they have the spirit and desire to win.”
Chris Martinez, who began his career in education in Woodsboro, is currently an assistant superintendent in Medina Valley in San Antonio. He remains a regular in the stands.
Mike Martinez’s son Jared waves to the boisterous crowd for more noise. The fans buy into the blustery roar.
“The team is more determined because the whole town is behind them,” Mike Martinez said. “It’s very exciting for us to see them work through the trials they’ve had to overcome.”
Superstition aside, running back Bonner, quarterback Quesada and Flores attribute their success to hard work.
This week, the Eagles reviewed a Bruni game tape and the coach is optimistic. The plan is set.
“We’re going to do what we do best on Friday,” Miller said.
For the first time in a long time, the Eagles will play Thanksgiving holiday football. December football is right around the corner. If will could make it happen, it will be done.
“Our fans outnumbered the other side two to one,” said Henry Balderamas. “You could see the excitement. At the five-minute marker, it was like New Year’s. The countdown had begun and we were ready to erupt.”
As the seconds ticked away in New Braunfels, a new Eagle dawn began.