The Eagles were down 13-0 at one point but, rallied back with a valiant effort to tie the game and force the overtime period. Both teams combined for almost 700 yards of offense and each team had its share of big plays during the contest.
The Eagles record now stands at one win and three losses with one game left before the start of district play. The Eagles will forego their scheduled bye week and host the Skidmore-Tynan Bobcats this Friday night at 7:30.
“We were down 13-0 at halftime and almost 20-0 but, our players responded with a sense of urgency and we had a chance to win this game, we just came up on the short end of it,” said Coach Brad Vickers. “We are extremely proud of all of our players. Our players could have folded and quit but, they have absolutely no quit in them. Our whole team played with all of their heart tonight and things just did not go our way.”
Dillan Blaker gave the Eagles a great start as he returned the opening kickoff 18 yards to the Eagle 34 for good field position to start the game. On the Eagles second play from scrimmage a fumbled exchange recovered by Josh Trigo gave the Mustangs an opportunity that they would capitalize on. Nine plays later, Mustang quarterback Cody Box hit receiver Manuel Gonzales with a five-yard touchdown pass. John Guillory’s extra point kick was no good and the Mustangs had an early 6-0 lead.
The Eagles began their next drive at their own 30 after an 11-yard kickoff return by Dominique Eskridge. The Eagles drove to midfield where the Mustang defense held and forced a punt. The Mustangs took the ball at their 14 and drove down-field using a mixture of pass and run plays from a spread offensive set.
Ten plays later fullback Jeff Medina broke free for an 18-yard touchdown run. Guillory’s kick was good and the Mustangs led 13-0 as the first quarter of play ended.
The Eagles next possession began at their own 39. Four plays later and facing a second down and 10 for a first down, quarterback Jose Esparza’s pass intended for Josh Jones was intercepted by Gonzales to end the Eagle drive.
The Mustangs took over at their 46 and moved quickly to the Eagle 30. The Jaramillo brothers, Jonathan and Marcus, both defensive backs, teamed up to stop the Mustangs as M. Jaramillo tipped a Box pass intended for Jaime Coronado, and J. Jaramillo snagged the ball and returned it 49 yards to near midfield, giving the Eagles new life.
Woodsboro was unable to capitalize as an Esparza pass intended for J. Jaramillo was intercepted by Mustang Paul Saldana. Both teams would exchange the ball one more time each via another interception and on downs to set up a dramatic ending to the first half of play.
The Mustangs had the ball at the Eagle 33 with 3:32 left in the first half. The Mustangs continued their mixture of pass and run plays and moved the ball to the Eagle seven. On fourth and goal to go, Esparza redeemed himself as he stepped in front of a Box pass and returned it out of his own end zone 34 yards to end the scoring threat and give his team some breathing room.
The Eagles safely ran one play to end the half with Nixon-Smiley ahead 13-0.
Woodsboro began the second half with the ball at their 24 and began using their signature running attack to move down the field. The Eagles moved to the Mustang 18 where they faced a fourth down and three yards for a first down.
Running back Anthony Hernandez busted loose for eight yards to keep the Eagle drive going. The Eagles reached the Mustang seven-yard line when the turnover bug hit them again as a fumbled exchange was recovered by Mustang Derrick Allen to end the threat.
Nixon-Smiley was unable to move the ball and punted after five plays. The Eagles took over at their 40 and on their second play Trevino energized the crowd with a 56-yard touchdown run. The snap on Jones’ extra point try was high but the Eagles cut the Mustang lead to 13-6 with 3:49 left in the third quarter.
The Mustangs began their next possession at their 38 and quickly moved into Eagle territory. On third and five from his own 43-yard line, Box attempted a pass for Aerial Velasquez only to watch in disbelief as M. Jaramillo evened his brother’s effort with a 49- yard interception return.
M. Jaramillo’s pick gave the Eagles a first and goal inside the Mustang five-yard line and two plays later, Ruben Garcia bulled his way in from one-yard out for a touchdown. Jones’ kick was good and the teams were now tied at 13-13.
The Mustangs got the ball next at the Eagle 46-yard line and quickly moved to the Eagle 20 as the third quarter of play ended. On the second play of the fourth quarter, Saldana escaped for a 20-yard touchdown run. Guillory’s kick was good and the Mustangs led again 20-13.
Woodsboro took the ensuing kickoff at their 30 and began another solid drive. Thirteen plays later, Hernandez found his way into the end zone on a four-yard run. Jones’ kick was wide left and the Mustangs held a 20-19 lead with 7:07 left in the game.
Nixon-Smiley came right back as they started another march from the Eagle 38 via a penalty on the kickoff. Four plays later, Box hit Velasquez with a 10-yard touchdown pass. Guillory’s kick was no good and the Mustangs led 27-19 with six minutes left in the game.
Woodsboro began its next drive at their 36, determined to score and complete the two-point conversion to tie the game. On their fourth play, Hernandez broke free for a 20- yard run and a 15-yard personal foul was tacked on when a Mustang defender hit Hernandez late as he went out of bounds, giving the Eagles great field position deep in Mustang territory.
Five plays later, Hernandez found the end zone from two yards out. Trevino then took a pitch and out-raced the defense to the right corner of the end zone for the must-have two-point conversion tying the game at 27-27 with two minutes left in the game.
The Mustangs regrouped for one last drive that began at their 30-yard line. The Mustangs moved the ball quickly and were in striking distance at the Eagle 14 with less than one minute to go when the “mean green hitting machine” dug its claws in and made a stand that Davy Crockett would have been proud of.
Three consecutive pass plays failed as the Jaramillo brothers, Esparza, and Ronnie Martinez denied each Mustang receiver a chance at the ball. On fourth down, defensive end Matt Escamilla came up huge for the Eagles as he pressured Box and batted down a pass to end the drive.
The Eagles took over and ran one play as time expired to force the contest into overtime.
Woodsboro took the ball first in the overtime period and moved the ball well on the ground. Facing a fourth down and inches for a first down at the 15, the penalty bug struck again as the Eagles were flagged five yards for a delay of game.
Woodsboro was unable to overcome the penalty and possession was given to Nixon-Smiley. The Mustangs drove 25 yards and ended the game when Medina went in from the three.
“We decided to play our bye week to work on some things prior to the start of district play,” Vickers said. “Skidmore-Tynan will present us with a great challenge. They have a good program and they compete in a tough 2A district.
“We will take this opportunity to play for 48 minutes and longer if need be to get ready for a tough district schedule. Our team appreciates all of the support we have received and it is comforting to know that our community still believes in us. It means everything to our players to know that we have someone to represent and play for. We are an exciting team to watch and we are very close to putting all the pieces together. We hope to see the stands full again this Friday night.”