Opening night at Thunderbird Stadium in West El Paso took a full half for either team to get their offense moving but in the end, the Del Valle Conquistadores would dominate the 2nd half in all phases of play to defeat the Coronado Thunderbirds on their home turf in front of a jovial home crowd on Friday Night.
Both teams began the game with a full half of trading 3 and outs and turn over on downs, with the closest scoring drive being a Thunderbird drive late in the 2nd quarter that would reach the Del Valle 24 before stalling. That and a missed field goal were the only scoring threats of the first half.
Coronado would receive the second half kickoff and using outstanding special teams coverage and stifling defense Del Valle would get the ball after a 3 and out.
Del Valle would drive to the Coronado 8 yardline where RB Christian Martinez would open the scoring on a jet sweep 8 yard run giving the Conquistadores a 7-0 lead.
On the ensuing drive another good Del Valle kickoff pinned the Thunderbirds deep in their own territory where Del Valle Safety Damian Diaz would recover a fumble on the Coronado 20 and capitalize on the ensuing drive with a 14 yard touchdown on a reverse to Del Valle Receiver R.J. Bracamontes giving the Conquistadores a 14-0 lead.
The Fourth quarter would begin with a big punt return by Del Valle’s Brandon Tellez setting the Conquistadores up in the Red Zone where QB Jesse Ramos would score on a read option giving Del Valle a 21-0 lead.
Coronado would answer on the ensuing drive when QB Blake Randag would hit Receiver Cade Little on a 70 yard touchdown pass in stride making the score 21-7.
Del Valle’s Isaac Williams would recover another Coronado fumble deep in Thunderbird territory, and Del Valle Quarterback Jesse Ramos would score his second touchdown of the night on an 11 yard keeper to put the game out of reach at 27-0.
Del Valle dominated the second half in all 3 phases in the game forcing two fumbles on defense, using special teams to pin Coronado in their own territory and big returns to give them short fields to work with and doing enough offensively to take advantage of the field position to win the game. This is a big road win for the 1-5A Conquistadores with a win over a solid Coronado team looking to reestablish themselves as a 1-6A Playoff contender.
Final Score Del Valle Conquistadores 27 Coronado Thunderbirds 7.
Chris Gomez Reporting