For Vickers, that decision came as easily as the fourth downs he has gone for in the previous games. Vickers has consistently showed confidence in his team and he did so one more time as he brought the Class 2A Skidmore-Tynan Bobcats to town. Although the Bobcats beat the Eagles 41-21, Coach Vickers and the Eagle faithful were far from disappointed.
“We are very pleased with the effort our players gave tonight”, said Coach Vickers. “Our players hung in against one of the better 2A programs there is and played well. Although we came out on the wrong end of the score, we saw a lot of good things out here that will help us next week when we start district play.”
The Bobcats got off to a fast start as Alejandro Perez took the opening kickoff and returned it 52 yards to the Eagle 31 where Josh Jones made a touchdown-saving tackle. Three plays later, fullback Alex Gonzales went up the middle 23 yards for the game’s first score. The extra point kick was wide left and the Bobcats led 6-0 very early into the game.
The Eagles began their first possession at their 34 and marched to the Bobcat 39 using their running game. Two false start penalties set the offense back and the Eagles were forced to punt on fourth down and 15. Both teams exchanged the ball one time each as the first quarterr ended with a Bobcat 6-0 lead.
Three plays into the second quarter the Eagles were forced to punt again. Bobcat return man John Arrisola fumbled and Eagle lineman Victor Flores recovered at the Bobcat 42. The Eagles were unable to take advantage and punted again pinning the Bobcats at their 20-yard line.
The Eagle defense tightened and three plays later, the Bobcats punted and the Eagles took over at the Cat 40. Quarterback Jose Esparza raced 40 yards down the left side for a TD. Jones’s kick was wide and with 6:14 left in the first half, the game was tied 6-6.
The Eagles pinned the Bobcats at their 21 on the ensuing kickoff. On their third play of the drive, running back Jordan Carter broke around the left side for a 43-yard run to the Eagle 30. Three plays later, Carter went around the right side for a 15- yard touchdown run. Quarterback Jake Lasiter ran in for two points and the Bobcats led 14-6 with 3:12 left in the first half.
The Eagles took the kickoff at tje 37 and four plays into the drive, Esparza hit Jones with a 27-yard pass over the middle to set the Eagles up at the Bobcat 25. With less than one minute left, running back Mario Trevino hit Jones on an option pass play for a 27-yard touchdown. Jones leaped high above his defender to make an acrobatic catch in the end zone. Trevino went untouched around the right side for the two point conversion. The first half ended with a 14-14 tie.
The Eagles began the second half at their 35 but stalled. The Bobcats began their drive at their 30 and on the second play from scrimmage, Carter busted loose for a 22-yard run to give the Bobcats a first down in Eagle territory.
Four plays later, Lasiter found Zachary Hall behind the Eagle defense for a 40-yard TD pass. The point after was good and the Bobcats retook the lead 21-14 midway through the third quarter.
Woodsboro began its next drive at their 34. A 25-yard pass from Esparza to Bryan Stewart was nullified by a holding penalty and, unable to recover, were forced to punt.
The Bobcats took over near midfield and three plays later, Lasiter found Hall again behind the Eagle defense for a 41-yard TD pass. The extra point kick was good, and the Cats lead, 28-14 late into the third quarter.
The Eagles went back to their running game and drove from their 30 to midfield before two illegal-procedure penalties stopped the drive and forced a punt as time expired in the third quarter.
Bobcat linebacker Kevin Shumake snuck in and blocked Jonathan Parker’s punt attempt to give Skidmore-Tynan field position at the Eagle 39. Bobcat Gonzales ran up the middle on the first play for a 39-yard score. The kick was wide left and the Bobcats lead 34-14 with 11:42 left.
The young and resilient Eagles were down but, nowhere near finished as Marcus Jaramillo took the ensuing kickoff and raced 88 yards before he was knocked out of bounds at the Cat one-yard line. The Jaramillo run energized the Eagle crowd and two plays later, Ruben Garcia muscled his way in for a TD. Jones’s kick was good and the lead was now cut to 34-21 with 10 minutes remaining.
The Bobcats would score one more time late in the game when Carter slipped past a couple of Eagle tacklers for a 51-yard TD. The kick was good and the Bobcats led 41-21 with less than two minutes left in the game.
The Eagles put together one last drive that stalled at midfield and the game ended with the Bobcats running out the clock.
“We knew that they (Skidmore-Tynan) would present us with a huge challenge,” said Clint Bingenheimer, senior linebacker. “Playing these bigger schools has also challenged us to grow and get better. Our record may not show it but, we have competed well against some tough competition. There is no quit on our team and there is no doubt that if we play our best football for four quarters we will do well in district. We will keep working hard and get ready.”
The Eagles will open their District 31-A campaign this Friday night in Woodsboro as they take on the Runge Yellowjackets at 7:30 p.m. in Eagle Stadium.
“Runge has a storied program and they have been out of UIL competition for two years so, they will come at us eagerly and with pride”, added Coach Vickers. “As Clint said we will need to be at our best for four quarters. Esparza suffered an ankle injury against Skidmore-Tynan but, we believe he will be ready to go come Friday night. We hope to see our stands full of our believers wearing our green again because the stakes are higher now.”