ELDORADO, TX — Eldorado and Christoval have had each other in their sights for a while now. It has been clear that they are the best two teams in the district, and we will finally be able to put aside the random speculation and see who the better team on the field is this Friday night.
It is also obvious who Dave Campbell's Texas Football thinks is better. The all things Texas football website placed the 8-1 Eldorado Eagles in the final spot of their top ten 2A Division II rankings. 9-0 Christoval was nowhere to be found.
Christoval has outscored its opponents 390-107 so far this season. They have taken last year’s 8-4 finish and turned it into nine straight wins. They have the defense, quarterback, and coach to go far in the playoffs, so why aren’t they respected as a top 2A power in the state? After all, there is not one team with a blemish free record in DCTF’s rankings. In fact, four teams have at least two losses. One of them, #3 Mart, has three.
The biggest reason, at least in my eyes, for Christoval not being there is its strength of schedule. The combined record of the Cougars’ nine opponents is 30-51. They have only played two teams with an above .500 record, Cross Plains (6-3) and Miles (6-3), but neither of them provided a challenge like Christoval will face each week for the rest of its season.
We know Christoval is good, but we won’t know how good until they play a formidable opponent.
Interestingly, in regards to DCTF taking Eldorado over Christoval, the Eagle’s have not really played anyone either. The teams they have beaten have a 24-49 record. The one team they lost to, Winters, is 5-5, and, just like Christoval, they have played only two teams above .500, Brackett (6-3) and Miles. Their point differential is 419-100, which narrowly beats the Cougar’s.
These two teams are nearly identical on paper. If Eldorado had beaten Winters, there might not be any way to tell them a part. That makes this a fun game to talk about and get excited for, but a very hard one to predict.
Both offenses will go as far as their quarterbacks will take them. For Christoval, Brayden Wilcox has been as dominant a force that you will find in the Concho Valley. The junior signal caller led his team in passing, rushing, and touchdowns scored in each of Christoval's first eight games. Only last week in Miles did running back Josh Fava outpace Wilcox on the ground. He had 154 yards to the quarterback's 130.
In total, Wilcox has three games this season with over 200 yards rushing. His season high is 282, and he has not been held to fewer than 125. He also has 24 rushing touchdowns.
Wilcox is no slouch in the passing game, either. He has completed 60% of his passes for 1,115 yards, 19 touchdowns, and 6 interceptions. Compared to his 1,637 yards on the ground, it is easy to see how dangerous he is in all aspects of the offense.
As far as complementary pieces go, Fava has been a very good one. The sophomore running back has picked up 814 rushing yards and six touchdowns. Fava is not as game-breaking as Wilcox, but he takes pressure off of the QB and forces defenses to watch him.
Eldorado is in the same boat if you flip the rushing and passing tendencies. Quarterback Kevan Covarrubiaz has the arm to throw the ball all over the field and often does. The senior has returned from his injury-shortened 2018 season with a vengeance throwing for 2,222 yards, 21 touchdowns, and 6 picks. Covarrubiaz controls the offense. His brother Korbin, an athletic sophomore who has a special ability to get open, is his favorite target, but the Eagles are not short on weapons. Number 3 Cooper Meador is a speedster on the outside and is a threat to catch a deep pass on every play. Jaakan Jurecek plays mostly on the defensive line, but when they move him over, he is as likely as anyone to get the ball and make a play.
When Covarrubiaz is clicking, Eldorado is unstoppable. Unfortunately for the Eagles, that is not all the time. Eldorado sometimes falls into play calling ruts where they may pass 10 or more times in row, whether they are successful or not. They do not make significant adjustments, although they often do not need to, and are not very balanced. They either pass a lot or, less frequently, run a lot.
Santiago Hernandez, their sophomore running back, is a great measuring stick for their success. If he is playing well and has a significant amount of touches, then they are more likely to be playing well. If he is struggling or not getting carries, then they are probably trying to pass their way out of a slump.
Christoval will need to put a lot of pressure on Covarrubiaz and force him to make off balance throws. If he has time to sit back and take his time, then he will pick them apart. They just have too many athletes.
That athleticism will also help slow down Wilcox. Eldorado won't be able to stop him, just slow him down. Either way, the Eagles offense will put points on the board, and I agree with DCTF in giving Eldorado the slight nod.
There is no doubt this will be an offensive bonanza worthy of a championship billing. Kickoff is set for Friday at 7:30 in Larry Mitchel Stadium, home of the Eldorado Eagles.