For the second straight year the Mission Eagles season ended with a loss to the Laredo United Longhorns Saturday in the first round of the playoffs.
The 38-35 overtime victory by United ends the Eagles’ year at 8-3 for the second straight year too.
It didn’t start out like a game that would end up with 73 total points being scored and needing extra time to decide the winner.
The Eagles’ Angel Saldana-Castaneda intercepted United’s Wayo Huerta on the game’s first play from scrimmage but a fourth down stop by the Longhorns forced the Eagles to give it right back. A United interception in the end zone stopped another Mission drive in the first and another Eagle’s turnover, a fumble after a catch was run back by United for the game’s first score.
United went up 14-0 on a long touchdown pass from Huerta to Luz Leal that started a flurry of back and forth scoring that resulted in three more touchdowns, a field goal and a safety being scored between both teams before the half.
Mission answered United’s second score with one of their own when Jeremy Duran hit Steve Villarreal on a 44 yard pass to cut the lead to 14-7. United followed with a long run from Huerta that set up a field goal, increasing United’s lead to 17-7. A short time later it was 24-7 thanks to another big play from the Longhorns. Huerta connected with Ricky Chapa on an 80 yard touchdown.
The Eagles responded with 18 unanswered points over the rest of the second quarter and the third. Duran found Villarreal for a 21 yard score and Dante Lopez sacked Huerta for a safety just before the half to close the deficit to 24-16.
Mission’s defense kept the pressure on United after the break, forcing two three and outs to start the third quarter. The Eagles eventually found the end zone again when Duran and Villarreal connected for their third score from 26 yards out to trail 24-22 after a failed two point try.
An interception by Luis Briseno got the Eagles offense the ball back three plays later and they responded with a ten play scoring drive; taking a 25-24 lead on a Rene Rodriguez 20 yard field to end the third quarter.
After the two teams traded punts United took possession on their own one yard line and, with the aid of the recovery of a muffed catch from a punt, took a 32-25 lead after Huerta ran it in from 14 yards out and a two point conversion.
The Eagles had one last chance and they delivered, marching 86 yards in two minutes to tie it up on Duran’s fourth touchdown pass of the afternoon, a 20 yarder to Jose Cortez III that forced overtime.
Rodriguez’s second field goal of the game, from 23 yards out on the opening possession of overtime put the Eagles up 35-32 before Huerta found Chapa in the end zone from 18 yards out for his third touchdown pass of the day to end it.
“We felt like we had a good plan for them,” said Mission High School football Coach Koy Detmer. “We got a couple of scores and safety at the end to get a little momentum going into halftime.”
“The defense played well all day long, giving us opportunities. That was a tough offense to try and hold down.”
Detmer was also pleased with the way his team handled themselves on the scoring drive that forced overtime. “It was good to see our guys, the character and the resolve to march down the field with only a couple of minutes left in the game and go put (up) a score and take it to overtime. Unfortunately we just weren’t able to make it happen in the overtime situation.”
“We told our guys (they) have nothing to hang their heads about. It was a tremendous season. It’s tough right now but there were a lot of good things that happened this season for these guys.”