TACKLED BY THE FACEMASK -- David Barajas covers the ball with both hands as a San Saba defender grabs the edge of his facemask and wrestles him to the ground. The Aramadillos went on to hand the Eagles a 56-14 defeat in the season opener played in the sweltering heat in San Saba on Friday, August 28, 2020. -- RANDY MANKIN | THE ELDORADO SUCCESS
TACKLED BY THE FACEMASK -- David Barajas covers the ball with both hands as a San Saba defender grabs the edge of his facemask and wrestles him to the ground. The Aramadillos went on to hand the Eagles a 56-14 defeat in the season opener played in the sweltering heat in San Saba on Friday, August 28, 2020. -- RANDY MANKIN | THE ELDORADO SUCCESS

The temperature on the bank sign in downtown San Saba read 105 degrees moments before kickoff at Rogan Field for the season opener between the Eldorado Eagles and the San Saba Armadillos.

And, the action inside the stadium was just as hot, if you were a San Saba fan, as the Armadillos cruised to a 56-14 win.

There appeared to be little in the way of COVID-19 safety protocols being enforced in the sweltering heat. Most fans entering the stadium were not screened and there was very little social distancing in the grandstands on either side of the field.

Some fans were wearing face coverings, but not a majority, and many of those who wore masks lowered them from time to time, seeking relief from the overwhelming heat.

On the field, the two teams were in stark contrast. The Armadillos looked very much like a team that had advanced to the Regional Final game just last year. The Eagles, on the other hand, bore little resemblance to last year’s 10-win Bi-District Championship squad.

In their defense, the Eagles graduated several players last year. The team is also learning a system installed by first-year Coach Jon Long, and doing so under the UIL’s COVID-19 practice and workout protocols.

“San Saba is a very good football team,” Eagles Head Coach Jon Long said of the Armadillos. “They are coached very well and have things rolling there. That is where we want our program to be.”

San Saba struck early , scoring on the first offensive play of the game on a 56-yard pass. The Armadillos scored a second time in the opening quarter before attempting and recovering an onside kick near midfield. That set San Saba up for its third touchdown of the game as they opened a 21-0 lead.

The Eagles battled back in the second stanza as Korbin Covarrubiaz completed a 32-yard pass to his cousin Jason Covarrubiaz, giving the Eagles a first down deep in Armadillo territory.

A couple of plays later Covarrubiaz found David Barajas open in the back of the end zone for Eldorado’s first score of the 2020 season. Jonathan McGee added the extra point to make the score 21-7 in favor of the Armadillos.

San Saba added two more scores in the second quarter to take a 35-7 lead at the intermission.

The Armadillos notched up two more TDs in the third stanza and another in the fourth and pulled ahead 56-7 before Korbin Covarrubiaz broke free late in the game and scored on a 21-yard run. McGee again added the extra-point to make the final score 56-14 in favor of San Saba.

Korbin Covarrubiaz completed nine of 28 pass attempts, including one for a touchdown. He also threw one interception.

Jason Covarrubiaz caught three passes on the night for 43 yards. Kaden Gonzalez caught three for 22 yards. David Barajas made the one catch for 17 yards and a TD and Mario Arispe hauled in a pass for 10.

James Kimble was Eldorado’s leading rusher with 31 yards on eight carries. Korbin Covarrubiaz carried the ball 13 times for 23 yards and a TD. Santiago Hernandez carried the ball five times for five yards while Jason Covarrubiaz gained four yards on one carry.

Defensively, the Warbirds were led by Phillip Garcia with eight tackles and two assists and Cooper Meador with five tackles and eight assists.

Coach Long took a moment after the defeat to praise the play of a few of his players.

“Phillip Garcia played well on defense and is getting better on the offensive line. He and Cooper Meador did some good things on the defensive side of the ball,” Long said. “I was proud of James Kimble for stepping in at the running back spot and for running hard.”

The Eagles ran 69 offensive plays for 150 yards of total offense. That compares to 61 plays and 521 yards for the Armadillos.
Eldorado gave up 102 yards on 15 penalties while the Armadillos were flagged only four times for 25 yards.

“We didn’t execute the game plan on either side of the ball very well,” Coach Long said. “You can not beat anybody when you have 11 procedure penalties. We have to cut out the mental errors and win first downs on offense.”

Long notes that his players are getting to know several new coaches while coming up to speed on a new game plan.

“We have a long way to go to get to where our expectations are,” Coach Long said. The great thing is that this is the first game of the year, we are young and everything that we did wrong is very fixable. That’s why you play a non-district schedule.”

Eagles vs. Blizzards

The Eagles will be home this Friday, hosting the Winters Blizzards, the second 2A-Division I opponent in a row for the 2A-Division II Warbirds.

For those who cannot attend, the game will be live-streamed online at: https://m.youtube.com/channel/UCc60pmvLAf-blqUKjYuxshQ

Superintendent Robert Gibson emphasizes that COVID-19 rules will be strictly enforced. Entry to Larry Mitchel Stadium will be limited to ticket-holders and everyone will be screened at the gate. Groups must maintain six-feet social distancing. Also, all non-participants are required to wear a face-covering at all times while in the stadium, except when eating or drinking.