PUTTING SIX ON THE BOARD --Eagles quarterback Korbin Covarrubiaz put the Eldorado Eagles on the scoreboard with a nine yard romp in the second quarter of the Eagles bi-district match with the Somerville Yeguas on Thursday, November 11th at Bulldog Field in Burnet. Eldorado came from behind in the fourth quarter to claim a 35-33 win and the Bi-District Championship. -- RANDY MANKIN | THE ELDORADO SUCCESS
PUTTING SIX ON THE BOARD --Eagles quarterback Korbin Covarrubiaz put the Eldorado Eagles on the scoreboard with a nine yard romp in the second quarter of the Eagles bi-district match with the Somerville Yeguas on Thursday, November 11th at Bulldog Field in Burnet. Eldorado came from behind in the fourth quarter to claim a 35-33 win and the Bi-District Championship. -- RANDY MANKIN | THE ELDORADO SUCCESS

In football there are rallies, there are comebacks, and there are come-from-behind wins. Rarely, however, do fans get to see a team overcome a 20-point deficit in the final quarter. Even more rarely does it happen when there’s a gold football on the line.

But, that’s precisely what the Eldorado Eagles did on Thursday, November 11th at Bulldog Field in Burnet as they defeated the Somerville Yeguas (pronounced Yay-wahs) 35-33 for the Bi-District Championship.

A Somerville defender intercepted a pass early in the fourth quarter and returned it for a touchdown. The extra-point kick gave the Yeguas a 27-7 lead with 11:48 left to play and it looked to all the world as if Eldorado’s season would end that night on the artificial turf of Bulldog Field.

But, the Eagles’ come-from-behind surge began on the very next play when Cooper Meador returned the ensuing kickoff 81-yards for a touchdown.

What followed was a fourth quarter comeback that will claim a place in Eldorado lore.

“It all began with Cooper’s kickoff return,” Coach Long said of Eldorado’s step away from the brink. “That really gave us a spark,” Long said. “Cooper is a difference maker and that return couldn’t have come at a better time.”

The Warbirds put four TDs and a total of 28 points on the board in the final stanza as Somerville’s defense, which dominated the first three quarters of play, ran out of gas and collapsed.

“They played a smart game defensively,” Long said of the Yeguas. “They were intent on stopping our running game and their big guys had Korbin scrambling most of the first half, but I do think they were getting tired at the end.”

Eldorado took its only lead of the game with a mere 1:18 left to play. That’s when Meador hauled in a Covarrubiaz pass and went 18-yards to pay dirt. The TD tied the score at 33, setting up Covarrubiaz’s dive across the goal line for the two point conversion.

The official at the goal line on Eldorado’ side of the field yelled “He’s in. He’s in,” as she raised her arms and ran down the line to help dig through the pile of players.

Eldorado’s defense was called on for the first time in the game to play with a lead and to shut down Somerville’s offense.

With 1:18 left to play, the Yeguas received the kickoff from Kaden Gonzalez and returned it to their own 29 where Tony Kmiec made a good open field tackle to prevent Somerville’s Verkobe Woodberry from getting behind a wall they had set up on the left sideline.

Kmiec then teamed up with Sam Griffin to stop Yeguas running back Ian Teague three yards behind the line of scrimmage on the opening play of the Eagles defensive stand.

Santiago Hernandez blitzed Somerville’s senior quarterback Johnny Legg and hit his arm as he lofted a pass that fluttered in the air and fell to the ground, just out of the reach of Eldorado’s Cooper Meador.

The Yeguas’ comeback hopes dimmed as a couple of its players went down with injuries and Coach Cal Neatherlin burned his last timeout even after the official had granted an injury timeout.

A desperation fourth down throw fell harmlessly to the turf as Eagles players erupted in celebration.

The celebration continued on the field and in the grandstands when, with a mere three seconds left on the clock, the Eagles offense lined up on the ball. Quarterback Korbin Covarrubiaz took the snap and knelt with the ball to end the game.

Neither team scored in the opening period as good defensive plays and offensive miscues stymied both squads.

Somerville’s defensive front featured a trio of three hundred pounders, and their ball-hawking defense intercepted Covarrubiaz four times. Running back James Kimble also put the ball on the ground early in the game.

“We made our share of mistakes,” Long said of the turnovers, but he seemed more concerned about procedure penalties. “The way we played for the first three quarters just wasn’t representative of the way we’ve played all year.”

Eldorado tallied seven penalties for 50 yards while Somerville was flagged three times for 17 yards.

Santiago Hernandez made an over-the-shoulder catch in the second quarter that went for 59 yards. A horse collar tackle penalty on the Somerville defender moved the ball to the Yeguas’ nine yard line. Covarrubiaz carried the ball in from there on the next play and Kaden Gonzalez added the extra-point to make the score 7-7 with 7:06 remaining in the first half.

That’s where the score stood as both teams retreated to the field house for the half-time intermission.

Somerville pulled ahead in the third quarter with a TD run from one yard out and another from 37 yards away.

The Yeguas notched up their fourth interception of the game early in the final quarter. The Somerville defender took the Covarrubiaz throw all the way back for a 40-yard pick-6. The extra-point kick gave the Yeguas a 27-7 lead with 11:46 left to play.

What followed was a four-touchdown rally on the part of the Eagles that one Eldorado fan later called, “miraculous.”

With the Eagles trailing 27-7, Cooper Meador gathered in the Yeguas kickoff that skittered along the ground and took it 80 yards to pay dirt. It was the first of three touchdowns he would score in the quarter.

With Somerville’s large defensive line tiring, Covarrubiaz had more time in the pocket and he used it well as he connected with Meador on a 56-yard TD pass with 6:41 left to play. Meador also caught the pass for the 2-point conversion to make the score 27-21 in favor of Somerville.

The Yeguas still weren’t done yet, however, and they scored on a 37-yard run, but failed to convert on the 2-point try with 3:01 left on the clock.

Hernandez’s kickoff return set up the Eagles next score when, a mere 17 seconds later, Jason Covarrubiaz found himself wide open down the left sideline. His cousin, Korbin Covarrubiaz, hit him in stride for a 24 yard TD. The 2-point try failed and the Eagles trailed 33-27 with 2:44 left on the clock.

A defensive stand on the part of the Warbirds forced a Somerville punt and Eldorado set up shop for the game-winning drive.

Damian Romo kept the sticks moving by dragging a Somerville defender beyond the first down marker to put the Eagles within striking distance.
A pass to Meador down the left sideline was just out of reach. Then, with 1:18 left in the game, Covarrubiaz lofted a pass to the back of the end zone where Meador leaped up and over two Somerville defenders for the game-tying catch.

As the Eagles lined up for the 2-point try, Meador was split out wide to the left. A glance from Covarrubiaz and the slightest of nods on Meador’s part, caused a couple of Somerville’s defenders to cheat a couple of steps in Meador’s direction. But, there would be no pass as Covarrubiaz took the snap and ran into the middle of the line.

The Yeguas’ massive defensive line was gassed. They had been the immovable object standing in the way of to Eldorado’s irresistible force for most of the game, but on this play, it was the Eagles offensive line who moved the defenders off the ball and Covarrubiaz dove head first into a crease in the line for the 2-point conversion.

So it was that the Eldorado Eagles, who trailed for much of the contest, took their first and only lead with 1:18 left on the clock.

Eldorado’s defense did the rest and Korbin Covarrubiaz ended the game with the Eagles offense lined up in the victory formation.

EHS Principal Perry Graves presented the team with a Bi-District Championship trophy as friends and family members gathered on the field.

Then, as the team celebrated their victory, word came that their District 14-2A rival, the Christoval Cougars had lost 30-29 to the Burton Panthers in their bi-district game in Llano.

With Miles loss to the Granger Lions, that leaves only the Eagles and the Rocksprings Angoras, who defeated the Snook Bluejays 64-34, to represent the district in the playoffs.

The Eagles will next face the D’Hanis Cowboys who claimed the District 15-2A title. Both teams are 9-1 on the season. Eldorado’s only loss came to Christoval in the eighth week of the season. D’Hanis lost 14-7 to the Harper Longhorns in a non-district game on August 28th.

Eldorado and D’Hanis will meet at 7 p.m. on Friday, November 18th at Walter Leavermann Stadium - Del Rio, TX. D’Hanis will be the home team.

Tickets are $6 for adults, $4 for students, and may be purchased online at https://www.vancoevents.com/YBE. There will be no tickets sold at the gate, only scanners for prepaid tickets.