The Pebble Hills Spartans led by Quarterback Gael Ochoa came back and beat the Eastwood Troopers 29-28 in an exciting game Thursday night at the Socorro Athletic Complex.
Going into this game the 2-1 Troopers were heavy favorites, after all, they have a high powered offense lead by Andrew Martinez that scores a lot of points and the Spartans had struggled to start the season with a 1-2 record.
But those games were non district, and as everyone knows once district play starts, everyone ups their game play.
And that’s exactly what the Spartans did. The tone for the game was set early when on their first drive when Coach Mark Torres decided to go for it on fourth and 1 on their own 28 yard line. Pebble Hills not only got the first down but 2 plays later Ochoa connected with Jalile Bost for a 65 TD pass that gave them a 6-0 lead. The PAT was missed.
The Troopers would take a 7-6 lead late in the first quarter when Andrew Martinez threw a 4 yard TD pass to Aaron Rodriguez.
Then they would add another 7 points when Martinez connected with Samuel Lopez for a 19 yd TD pass 5:41 in the second quarter.
The Spartans would tie the game 13 seconds before halftime as Ochoa scored on a 1yd TD run.
So with a game tied 14-14 at Halftime, it was apparent that the Pebble Hills defense had found a way to slow down the Troopers high powered offense but the same could be said for Eastwood’s Defense
And it continued for that way for both defenses as the Troopers didn’t let the Spartans score in the third quarter and the Pebble Hills defense didn’t give up a touchdown until late in the third that gave them a 21-14 going into the fourth quarter.
In the fourth quarter things would change as once again Gael Ochoa would score a 1 yd TD run 10 seconds into the quarter and with the PAT the game was tied 21-21.
Martinez would connect with Evan Macias for a touchdown pass that gave the Troopers a 28-21 lead with 7 minutes left to play.
On the following drive the Spartans were moving the ball but then Ochoa would throw a pass that was intercepted by Frankie Escobar, it looked like Escobar was gonna have a pick six but Ochoa tackled him at the four yard line. That tackle would end up being the play that saved the game for the Spartans.
So with all the momentum in the Troopers favor and them having the ball 1 down and goal at the 4 yard line, one would think that Eastwood would score and seal the win for them, but that’s not what happened.
What actually happened is that Eastwood would get 3 costly penalties that would push them back all the way to the Pebble Hills 35 yard line. That forced the Troopers to punt on fourth down and it was a good one because they downed the ball at the Spartans 2 yard line with 4 minutes left to go in the game.
That meant that if Pebble wanted to tie or win the game they would have to dive 98 yards to do…it and that’s exactly what they did!
Some great play calling from the Spartans coaching staff combined with some great runs by Ochoa, their running backs and catches from their receiver got the Spartans all the way to Eastwood’s 2 yard line. Ochoa would punch it with a TD run with 25 seconds left to go in the game.
But now the question was wether Coach Mark Torres was gonna go for the tie or the win. Torres decided to go for two and the win. And once again with some great blocking from his offensive line, Ochoa ran it in for the two point conversion that would give Pebble Hills the come from behind victory over Eastwood 29-28.
With the win, the Spartans are 2-2 (1-0) and Eastwood is 2-2 (0-1).
Next week Pebble Hills will take on Eastlake and Eastwood will play against Franklin.