The Eastwood Troopers prevailed over the Montwood Rams winning 37-29 in the closest game of the season this past Friday.
The game started slow with neither team scoring until the last minutes of the first quarter. Eastwood quarterback Mark Torrez found Richie Rodriguez for a 25-yard pass into the end zone, which was the first touchdown of the night. Kicker Owenn Chavez scored the point after and brought the Troopers up 7-0.
The Rams scored a touchdown within eight seconds into the second quarter. However, on their next drive, the Troopers retaliated and scored with a 43-yard pass to Rodriguez from Torrez. The Rams took control of the board by scoring once again, bumping their lead to 14-13. With 20 seconds left in the half, Chavez kicked a 36-yard field goal, which put the Troopers on top 16-14.
The third quarter was a battle that proved uneventful as neither team was able to score. The Troopers held the lead into the start of the fourth quarter. Rodriguez scored on a 11-yard run that brought the score to 22-14, with the point after no good. A few minutes later, Rodriguez intercepted at the goal line which blocked the Rams from scoring. With only three minutes left on the clock, the Rams scored and made the two-point conversion to tie the score at 22-22. The Troopers struggled to score before the final whistle. The end of regulation ensued and both teams started to prepare for overtime play.
Montwood won the coin toss but decided to differ. Overtime opened with Eastwood possession. The Troopers started their drive with a fumble which the Rams recovered. After their failed attempt at a kick on the 35-yard line, the game went into double overtime.
The Rams were the first to score and take the lead 29-22. Rodriguez, who replaced an injured Torrez as quarterback, threw for 25-yards to Erin Portillo. The score was tied once again at 29-29.
Tensions were high as the game went into triple overtime. Eastwood fans rallied loudly behind their team. Rodriguez scored with a 5-yard run which brought the score to 35-29. The two-point conversion after the play brought the Trooper lead to 37-29. On the final Montwood drive of the game, senior Juan Bayona intercepted the Rams' pass at the goal line, which secured the win for the Troopers. This win puts Eastwood at 2-2 in district and 5-3 overall.
Players felt their win was well deserved. Senior Jacob Bowman said, "I think I gave it more than my all. I was getting up when I couldn't get up, and as a team I know we gave it our all. We kept fighting until the whistle was blew."
This victory set Coach Phil Barrios's expectations at a new high. "I expect more of our kids now because I know that they can win the close games that we weren't winning before; so as a coach, my expectations of them have actually gone up. That was a good win for us and I have to give a lot of credit to our kids for being able to win the game at the end, which we had not done in our last two close games. I know they can do it at the end of the game that is why I expect more."
Although this game went undecided until the final seconds, Barrios confided in his players to come out with the win. "I actually had a lot of confidence in our kids defensively, even though we had given up a late drive at the end of regulation and they [Montwood] tied it up. I still believed they [our kids] were going to be able to make a play and they showed it."
The Troopers will play against Socorro High School at the Socorro Student Activities Complex on Friday, October 31 at 4 P.M.