WINTERS, TX — Head Coach Matt McCarty is building something special in Winters. His Blizzards showed how much they believed in each other and the coaching staff throughout a game they could have easily given away.
Winters was powered by a defense that flew all over the field and a running game that overwhelmed the Eagles as the game wore on.
The game started in gridlock as both teams moved the ball well down the field before petering out as they approached the goal line. Winter’s triple option carried them to the Eldorado 31 before turning the ball over on a fumble, Eldorado’s balanced spread attack turned the ball over on downs after making it into the red zone.
The Blizzards took over from their 15, and junior running back Matt Jacob took over. With runs of 11 and 19 yards, Jacob forced the Eldorado defense to lock in on him and allowed quarterback Alex Salas to keep the ball on an option play for 31 yards to the Eldorado 27 yard line.
It looked like the drive would end after a false start turned a 4th and 2 into 4th and 7, but Rosas connected with his target to make it 1st and goal from the 7. Miguel Rodriguez then took a pitch outside into the end zone on the first play of the second quarter to take the early lead. The extra point was no good.
Eldorado then gave the ball right back with a fumble but showed some defensive toughness of its own and forced a punt. Senior quarterback Kevan Covarrubiaz took the lead by finding sophomore wide receiver Cooper Meader down the left sideline for an 87 yard touchdown catch. 7-6 Eldorado.
Jacob responded by breaking through the Eagle defense for runs of 17 and 22 yards. Running back Malakye Kelly then punched it in from the six yard line with 3:15 left in the second quarter. The extra point was missed again, 12-6 Winters.
Eldorado answered on a drive headlined by a 27 yard jump ball hauled in by Meader. The touchdown came on an 8 yard laser from Covarrubiaz as the clock hit zero.
Eldorado was poised to take a two possession lead after recovering an onside kick to open the half, but Covarrubiaz threw an interception on first down giving the ball back to Winters in great field position.
Running back Ethan Sanchez broke a long run, and quarterback Alex Salas took a keeper into the end zone a few plays later to reclaim the lead.
The two teams would then trade punts and turnovers until halfway through the fourth quarter. Winters picked off Eldorado again and started its final scoring drive from its 45. They ran the clock down with a mix of inside and outside runs and were given an extra boost by a pair of unsportsmanlike penalties by the Eagles.
Houston Esquivel scored and made the game 26-14 with 3:51 left.
Despite late game heroics by senior Jaakan Jurecek, who made several plays in the backfield on defense, recovered a fumble, and took a 20 yard post the length of the field to the Winters 5, the Eagles ran out of time.
Hernandez scored to make it 26-20 with 2:49 to play, and Eldorado would get one more shot after forcing a punt with 20 seconds remaining. A hook and ladder made the home crowd nervous as time expired, but the Blizzard defense ran down Cesar Garcia to end the game.
Final Score Winters 26 Eldorado 20.
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