The Battle of Conway went to the Veterans Memorial Patriots Friday evening as they defeated the Mission Eagles 23 – 2 in front of a packed house at Tom Landry Stadium.
Turnovers and penalties kept both teams from scoring in the first quarter but the Patriots put six points on the board early in the second quarter and never looked back. At the intermission the Patriots led 9 – 0, then increased their lead to 16 – 2 by the end of the third quarter before tacking on the final seven points of the game in the fourth.
The non-district opener for both teams was a hard fought battle but with the win the Patriots will have the honor of holding on to the Battle of Conway helmet which they have possessed for the past year as a result their 14 – 7 victory over the Eagles last year.
Immediately after the game Mission head football coach Mario Pena attributed the loss to costly mistakes that not only kept his team out of the end zone all night long but also shortened the field for the Patriots.
“We hurt ourselves the first several scores,” Pena said. “The first time they scored we had three personal fouls so that’s 45 yards on penalties. Then just when we were about to score we turned the ball over on the two yard line. Aside from the big screen play that they had, we played well defensively. Offensively all those turnovers are not going to cut it.”
Veterans Memorial head football coach David Gilpin pleased with his team’s performance on the field; especially because the win marked a first in Patriots’ history.
“The bottom line is that we had never beaten Mission twice in a row,” explained Gilpin. “That’s an established program with 75 – 80 years of existence and we have 14. They have had NFL players go through their program and even Hall of Famers. They’ve got it all!”
“We’re trying to carve out a spot for ourselves in this city and getting back-to-back wins is a step in the right direction,” added Gilpin.