by David Winchell
SAN GABRIEL – The beginning of the game looked bleak for the visiting Gabrielino Eagles, being down 14-0 with 6:44 left in the first half to the Contreras Cobras. The current two game losing streak was in danger of growing to three. But a high-spirited defense and an inspired offense took over in the second half leading to a 35-14 victory. Coach Harold Sanin was proud of the way “the team showed character fought back to score 35 unanswered points,” and was impressed with his squad after taking a number of punishing hits meted out by the Cobras. The Eagles are now 2-2 and the Cobras are now 1-3.
The Eagles began their first offensive drive of the night near midfield and were moving toward a score, but an Eagle fumble at the 10-yard line ended that threat. After an exchange of punts, Cobras QB Diego Quintanilla connected with WR Francisco Sandoval for an 80-yard touchdown. Five minutes later FB Emilio Torres rumbled in for a 19-yard touchdown two plays after RB Jonathan Pineda had ripped off a 58-yard run. The Eagles seemed listless, tense, and searching for answers. The Eagles had already given up two long plays and were unable to generate much offense on their own.
The Eagles took the kickoff and six plays later, Nick Hernandez carried the ball in for a 14-yard score. The PAT was good and at 3:56 to go in the half the Eagles had cut the Cobras lead in half, 14-7. The Eagles defense began their assault on the Cobras on the first play of the drive, Eagle LB Cody Rubalcava pounced on a loose ball at the Cobra’s 30 yard line. Three plays later, Bryan Vargas carried the ball into the end zone, tying the score. But it was the next drive that defined the Eagles game and heart as the Cobras determination was to go into halftime after regaining a lead.
The drive began on the Eagles 27-yard line and six plays and three timeouts later Cobras were inside the Eagles’ 10 yard line with just 22 seconds on the clock. Rubalcava broke into the Cobras’ backfield and sacked QB Quintanilla forcing a fourth down. Onto the field scrambled the Cobras field goal unit but Eagles Francisco Aguilar broke free to block the Cobras field goal attempt.
Inspired by the two scores, a strong defensive stand, and, according to Head Coach Sanin, an inspirational halftime talk by assistant coach Ben Macias reminding the team to stay focused and build on the end of the first half, the Eagles shut out the Cobras in the second half. On the opening drive, the Eagles began on the 44-yard line and seven plays later QB Mark Winchell scored on an 8-yard run with 8:02 left in the third.
The Eagles defense took over the rest of the way, grabbing four interceptions and three fumbles. Interceptions and returns by Albert Garcia, Alex Munoz, Nick Carreon and Chris Montoya stopped four second half Cobras drives and led to the Eagles Winchell connecting with Bryan Vargas for a 24-yard score and a 2 yard touchdown run in the final quarter to close out the scoring.
Next up for Contreras is their league opener on the road against Bernstein (1-2) as the Eagles host an undefeated Pasadena Poly (3-0) in their final non-league contest.
(No Ratings Yet)