WINTERS, TX — Winters moved to 2-0 on the season by defeating Eldorado in a battle of wills on Friday night. The Blizzards relied on a defense that locked down Eldorado running back Santiago Hernandez and forced the Eagles to lean on experienced quarterback Kevan Covarrubiaz.
Despite two long passes to Cooper Meador and Jaakan Jurecek that helped keep Eldorado in the game, Covarrubiaz struggled for most of the night. He seemed out of sync with his receivers and often missed open targets with passes that were slightly too high or outside. Unfortunately for the Eagles, a couple of those slight misses turned into turnovers.
Winters Head Coach Matt McCarty spoke with us after the game about his ball hawking defense, “The two big plays were the only thing that hurt us tonight, but after those they [the defense] just shut it down. We preach running to the football everyday in practice and that’s what they did… The defense played great, and they stepped up when it counted.”
The most impressive aspect of Winters’ victory was how many different players made big plays when it mattered most. A single player did not win this game. One of the biggest plays of the night came when Winters was on offense late in the fourth quarter after Eldorado had cut the lead to 26-20 on the previous possession.
An illegal block by the Blizzards and tackle for loss by Jurecek helped Eldorado make it 3rd and 20 with 1:30 left. McCarty was unphased, however, and called a pass that put the ball in the hands of sophomore wide out Chaney Bahlman. Bahlman caught the ball five yards past the line of scrimmage and carried it fifteen more before being tackled right at the first down marker.
Bahlman had not been a factor in the offense until then, and the first down allowed Winters to drain the clock and prevent Eldorado from having a real chance of tying the game up.
“We had kids injured all over the place, coming off and on, and it seemed like every time we put someone else in they stepped up and went and made a play,” McCarty said. “We told them we couldn’t be more proud of the way they played tonight. It was just an awesome team effort. I think everyone had a hand in this one.”
The Coach was also impressed by the way his squad responded to a halftime deficit saying, “We came in at halftime and we told them that there are going to be games where we’re going to be behind. There are going to be more games beyond tonight where we’re gonna be behind at halftime. You just have to come out and put everything bad that you did in the first half behind you and come out and just play a completely different half.”
Winters will look to keep the streak alive next week against 3A Bangs, while Eldorado will try to get back on track in a home game against the Brackettville Tigers.