Friday night was important in District 2-5A with 2 games having gigantic district title implications. One was happening at Mustang Stadium in which the Burges Mustangs took on the Andress Eagles and the other was occurring in Northeast El Paso as the Austin Panthers visited the Irvin Rockets.
The Panthers knew they must win their game against the Rockets if they had any chance of being in district title talks. Knowing that, the Panthers got right to work with 9:50 left in the opening quarter when Austin’s Israel Luna raced past Rocket defenders for a 21-yard dash to the endzone to put his Panthers up, 7-0.
73 seconds later, the Panthers found the endzone, once again, as Jayden Wilson had a 4-yard Touchdown run to make it 14-0, Panthers. With turnovers being the Rockets’ worst enemy early in the game, Austin’s Irving Cortinas picked off the Rockets and saw nothing but paydirt to extend the Panthers’ lead, 21-0, with a Pick 6.
Still in the 1st Quarter, Panther Quarterback, Luis Fernandez, found Sebastian Morales for a 70-yard touchdown connection to put the Panthers in cruise control with a 28-0 lead with a little over 3 minutes left in the 1st Quarter.
The 2nd Quarter was a defensive battle between both teams, as it ended with a 28-0 lead for the Panthers at the half.
In the middle of the 3rd Quarter, Austin’s Gabriel Lugo contributed to the Panthers’ scoring frenzy with a 9-yard Touchdown run, to put Austin up, 35-0.
The final score of the game came with 4:31 left in regulation when sophomore running back, Ruben Bustillos, had a 14-yard Touchdown run to end the night with a 41-0 Panther victory.
The Panthers found out later in the night that the Burges Mustangs defeated the Andress Eagles, 35-34 – which makes things very interesting for the District 2-5A title race.
Since, Austin lost to Andress earlier in the season, but they defeated the Mustangs last week, there is currently a 3-team tie for first place in District 2-5A.
Next week, the Irvin Rockets (2-6, 0-4) will travel to Andress to take on the Eagles. The Panthers (4-3, 2-1) will host their rivals, the El Paso High Tigers, for the Battle of the Claw at R.E. McKee Stadium on Homecoming night.
After the game Panthers QB Luis Fernandez talked about the win:
Here’s what Austin coach Eric Pichardo had to say after the shutout win
Paul David Oliver reporting