Veterans Memorial started off with the ball, but their possession was cut short by a fumble. The Eagles offense drove it down the field and Quarterback Diego Salinas took it into the endzone himself. The 1st quarter closed with a score of 7- 0.
The 2nd quarter was a hot one for the Patriots as wide receiver Obed Marin caught two back-to-back touchdowns from Quarterback Braden Luedeker. Diego Salinas then took it upon himself to tie the game up at 14-14 before the half ended, but the Patriots had other things in mind. With 0:53 seconds left, Braden Luedeker finds Edward Martinez for 6 and with the extra point, the first half concludes with a score of 14-21, in favor of Veterans Memorial.
Halftime concluded and the Patriots were in the endzone six minutes into the 3rd quarter, a drive capped off by an Ivan Muniz touchdown. A touchdown by the Eagles and a 4th down stop later, the Eagles found themselves in a position to take the lead, and that they did. With a field goal and 1:04 left in the 3rd quarter, they led 24-21.
The 4th quarter was dominated by Mission Veterans as they were able to punch it twice, one coming from WR Abel Lucio and the other by RB Pablo Lopez. 24-35 Patriots. The Eagles responded to that with a touchdown by wide receiver Christopher Kirk, but they missed a two-point conversion. 30-35 Patriots with 2:30 left in the 4th quarter. A minute later, Patriots Pablo Lopez is taking it into the endzone for his second touchdown and the nail in the coffin for this year’s Battle of Conway.
Congratulations to Coach David Gilpin for his 100th win and to the Mission Veterans Memorial Patriots on taking the trophy home for the boys in blue.
After the game, we got the chance to talk to a couple of players from both sides of Conway. Right tackle Jurgen Morales spoke with us at the end of the game, “Today didn’t turn out the way we expected, we need to work on a little bit more stuff…we still have hopes this season.” We ran into Quarterback Diego Salinas after his three-touchdown performance, “Even though we lost, we’re going to do everything to do better and bounce back next week.” Salinas had two touchdowns on the ground and one in the air for the Eagles in an elite performance against the Patriots and though they couldn’t get it done tonight, there’s no doubt in my mind that he and his team can get their first win of the season next week.
Veterans Memorial is more than hopeful after tonight’s win. Nobody captured that energy more than wide receiver Jay Seegars after the game,” This game showed us if our team is compatible or not and we’re compatible, we got the energy, we got what we need to make the playoffs this year.” Nobody was happier than running back Pablo Lopez and his second-half debut in tonight’s game. Lopez wasn’t sure if he was going to be playing in this game tonight, but he got the go-ahead and in the second half of the game, he made his presence known with a pair of touchdowns. Pablo told us, “I got to play this game because God cleared me in time, and it was great because what a turn of events this ended up being.” If he’s doing that in two quarters, we wonder what he could do in a full game. One person who knows about playing in the full game is quarterback Braden Luedeker and he had this to say about tonight’s game, “This city loves this game, these guys grow up watching this game when they’re little wanting to play this game, and the fact that we were able to go back home with a win, it means a lot.” We would not have been able to say it better ourselves.
We had to make one last stop before we left Tom Landry Stadium and that was to talk to Patriots Head Coach David Gilpin. Coach Gilpin just secured another win against The Mission Eagles tonight and in doing so, he got his 100th win. We got the chance to ask him: How does the 1st win compare to the 100th win? He answered, “100 wins is a tribute to the coaches and the players that have been here for the last 15 years right alongside me. That is a program milestone, not a Coach Gilpin milestone, and all the credit needs to go to those men who have coached alongside me and the players who have played alongside us.”
He capped this off by saying, “It’s a nice round number, it’s humbling, but it’s a program number and credit to everybody involved from the top to the bottom.” Gilpin made it a point that he was happy that he was able to get to that number of wins, but behind every great leader is a great team and this is a true testament of that. Congratulations once again to Head Coach David Gilpin and his great team.