San Angelo’s TLC Academy football team came to Eldorado last Friday looking for their first win of the season. What they found was a storm, literally and figuratively, as the Eldorado Eagles rang up a 27-6 lead before lightning called a halt to play with 3:14 remaining in the second quarter.
The score could have been even more lopsided had the lightning meter on the sidelines not activated exactly when it did. Rudy Sanchez notched up the third interception of the night for the Eagles and Eldorado’s offensive unit was taking the field just as a lightning strike was detected only eight miles away. UIL rules require players to leave the field if lighting is strikes within 15 miles.
The game was eventually called when both head coaches met with officials and agreed to end the contest, giving Eldorado it’s third straight win of the season.
It was a sudden end to a much anticipated game. Homecoming festivities, planned for halftime, were hurriedly carried out as Queen candidates and Duchesses were escorted onto the track. EHS senior Laura Garcia was announced as the 2010 Homecoming Queen and was greeted by applause from the few fans who remained in the stadium.
But, while the game was underway, it was an exciting one for Eldorado Eagles fans. A large thunderhead, laced with lightning, mushroomed in the west as the two teams took the field. Dylan Ramos hauled the first of two interceptions to end TLCA’s opening drive inside Eldorado’s 35 yard line. Four plays later, quarterback Jaymie O’Harrow connected with Ruben Vasquez on a 44-yard touchdown pass. Hector Reyes booted through the extra-point to give the Eagles a 7-0 lead at 9:12 in the first quarter.
TLCA gained a first down on their next possession before being forced to punt. Eldorado’s offense then took the field and provided the thunder to match the lightning in the rapidly approaching cloud. The Eagles pounded out four first downs to reach TLCA’s 15 yard line before Nathan Jimenez took the handoff on a counter play and sprinted into the end zone for the team’s second score of the night. Reyes’ PAT attempt missed slightly to the right and Eldorado’s lead stood at 13-0 with 5:34 remaining in the opening stanza.
The visitors began their next possession picking up four first downs. They would then capitalize on a 4th pass from the 17 yard line. Shannon Fay threw a pass into the end zone that bounced off another TLCA wide receiver and into the hands of Anthony Hill for a score. TLCA’s PAT attempt failed and Eldorado led 13-6 with 3:31 remaining in the first quarter.
The Warbirds took the ball for their third possession of the game and gained six first downs to reach deep in TLCA territory as time expired in the quarter. Rudy Sanchez opened the second period with an eight-yard TD run. Hector Reyes added the PAT and Eldorado took a 20-6 lead.
TLCA’s attempt to counter Eldorado’s score ended quickly when Dylan Ramos tallied his second interception of the game and set the Eagles offense up on their own 20 yard line.
Two plays later, Rudy Sanchez followed the blocking of his large offensive line, broke into the secondary and sprinted 80 yards for Eldorado’s fourth TD of the night. Hector Reyes again converted the PAT to make the score 27-6 in favor of the Eagles.
Sanchez ended TLCA’s next drive when he intercepted a pass moments before lighting from the looming thunderstorm ended play.
Eldorado gained 253 yards rushing during the shortened game, 212 of it on the ground with the remaining 41 coming by way of the pass. In all, the Eagles tallied 11 first downs.
For their part, TLCA managed only 90 yards of offense and they turned the ball over three times.
Individually, Rudy Sanchez led all rushers with 151 yards and two TDs on eight carries. Miles Mikeska carried four times for 43 yards. Nathan Jimenez rushed once for 15 yards and a TD and Anthony Mata gained six yards on a single carry.
Eagles quarterback Jaymie O’Harrow completed his only pass of the night to Ruben Vasquez for 44 yards and another touchdown.
Defensively, Miles Mikeska tallied four tackles followed by Lane Griffin and Josh Jurecek with three tackles each. Dylan Ramos intercepted two passes and Rudy Sanchez would intercept one.
Eagles head coach Danny Wilhelm commented after the game, “We were pleased to get the win even though it was shortened by lightning.”
“We have some areas to improve on defensively,” Wilhelm added, “We also must continue to play the way we have on offense.”
The Eagles will get another chance to impress the home crowd as they host the Bronte Longhorns in a highly anticipated matchup.
“Bronte should provide us a good benchmark as to where we stand and where we think we can be before district starts,” Coach Wilhelm commented.