SLAMMING ON THE BRAKES -- Eagles running back Santiago Hernandez  (10) stops abruptly and changes directions to avoid a Haskell defender as Eldorado took on the Indians at Blizzards Stadium in Winters on Thursday, October 3rd. Hernandez carried the ball 17 times for 134 yards as the Eagles took home the 35-14 victory. -- RANDY MANKIN | THE ELDORADO SUCCESS
SLAMMING ON THE BRAKES -- Eagles running back Santiago Hernandez (10) stops abruptly and changes directions to avoid a Haskell defender as Eldorado took on the Indians at Blizzards Stadium in Winters on Thursday, October 3rd. Hernandez carried the ball 17 times for 134 yards as the Eagles took home the 35-14 victory. -- RANDY MANKIN | THE ELDORADO SUCCESS

The Eldorado Eagles went to Winters looking for some payback on Thursday, October 3rd, and found it the second half of their 35-14 win over the Haskell Indians.

It was Haskell who eliminated the Eagles from the State 2A Playoffs just last year, and the two teams found themselves facing one another less than a year later on a neutral field.
Due to declining enrollment, Irion County had gone down to play 6-man football this year, leaving a hole in the Eagles 2019 schedule. Haskell experienced the same thing when the Baird Bears exited their district.

The two teams met for a rare Thursday night game in Blizzard Stadium in Winters and the timing of the victory could not have been better for the Eagles. The team is idle this week, allowing for bumps and bruises to heal before heading into the District 8-2A schedule next week.

Haskell took an early 7-0 lead and appeared to have a handle on the Eagles explosive offense, holding Eldorado scoreless in the first quarter.

“Haskell put together a pretty good game plan and gave us some sets early that they hadn’t shown on film,” Eagles Head Coach Michael Johnson said. “I feel like we handled it well. Our kids responded and played it, and give credit to the Indians, they made really good plays on the two scores they had.”

Santiago Hernandez put the Eagles on the scoreboard with a hard, four-yard run up the middle with 8:51 left in the second stanza. Jonathan McGee kicked the extra-point to tie the game.

Korbin Covarrubiaz put the Eagles on top when he hauled in a 39-yard pass from his brother Kevan, and cradled the ball to his chest, protecting it from an Indian defender. He fell across the goal line to score with 4:24 remaining in the first half. McGee added the kick to give the Eagles a 14-7 lead.

The score held until midway through the third quarter when Haskell tied the score on a 28-yard TD pass and extra-point kick. From there on, the Eagles defense stepped up and shut down the Indians.

“Our defensive line continued to be a force as well as our linebackers,” Johnson said. I thought David Barajas played his best all-around game of the season which is great. That’s two games in a row now that we held our opponents to under 100 yards on the ground and kind of forced them to be one dimensional. It was also good to see our secondary come up big time when they were challenged. That was awesome!”

Even as the Eagles defense began to dominate their phase of the game, Eldorado’s offense sparked to life.

Kevan Covarrubiaz carried the ball 11 yards to pay dirt with 1:56 remaining in the third stanza. McGee booted the extra-point through the uprights as the Eagles broke on top 21-14 and never looked back.

Kevan Covarrubiaz got his second rushing TD at with 7:03 remaining in the game as he followed the block of Francisco Villanueva and weaved 13-yards to pay dirt. McGee again added the extra-point to extend Eldorado’s lead to 28-14.

“Offensively I loved how we simply stayed the course and kept making plays when we needed so the chains kept moving. Jaakan (Jurecek) got us going early in the passing game, and Cooper (Meador), Santiago, and Korbin all stepped up to make big plays throughout the game,” Johnson said. “Kevan did a great job of taking what the defense was giving him and not forcing any bad throws.”

Hernandez got his second TD of the night with a 34-yard sprint right through the middle of the Indian defense and went untouched into the north end zone. Once again, McGee kicked the extra-point and put the cherry on top of 35-14 victory.

But, it wasn’t all offense and defense, the Eagles’ special teams played well, too.

“Our special teams play was one of big factors in the win,” Johnson said after the game. “Cesar was booming punts and putting our defense in great position as was Reese with his kickoffs...and, McGee was five for five on the night.”

Defensively, the Eagles swarmed to the ball, with Barajas, Eric Reyes, Jurecek, Edgar Muniz and Emiliano Hernandez leading the surge. Cesar Garcia broke up a couple of deep passes and intercepted one to end a Haskell drive.

On offense, Kevan Covarrubiaz threw for 239 yards and a TD. He also carried the ball 15 times for 75 yards and two TDs.

Santiago Hernandez was the game’s leading rusher with 134 yards and two TDs on 17 carries.

“All in all, this was a great team-win to cap off the non-district schedule,” Coach Johnson said as he began putting his team through their paces during the bye week.

“Schematically we are working toward our first district game against Miles, but our main focus is on taking care of the things we need to that lead to success,” Johnson added. “ We just want to be masters of our craft, so our focus is really on the little technical things we need to work on going into district.”

The Eagles are idle this week, but the four other teams in the district will see action. Miles will travel to Menard while Christoval will travel to Rocksprings.

The Warbirds will make the trip to Miles on Friday, October 17th for their first district game.