EL PASO- Eastlake’s senior quarterback Justin White completed 29-of-36 passes for 426 yards and finished with four touchdowns as the Falcons upended Hanks 47-14 to stay 4-0 in District 2-5A.
The Falcons didn’t start off electric as they usually do and allowed Hanks to stop them two consecutive times on offense, one being an interception early by White.
Then Eastlake capitalized off a Hanks muffed punt and regained possession early in Knights territory. That’s when White buckled down and put together a drive capped off a 3-yard rushing touchdown by running back Ezekiel Jones.
“Just talked to him a little about not being impatient,” Falcons head coach JJ Calderon said when he talked to White to get him on track early. “They were dropping 6-7 guys, so he needed to adjust and did a good job. Once he did that, we did well.”
Things went from bad to worse for Hanks as their punter stepped out of bounds in the back of the end zone on the very next drive to cause a safety to make it 9-0.
Eastlake quickly added with a 76-yard pass-and-catch play from White to Jones.
“I had to get quicker (in the off-season) for these receiving plays,” Jones said after the game.
Hanks was in a bit of a rut, but quarterback Isaac Pando regrouped his squad and took some big shots, hitting Mykal Blanco for a 41-yard touchdown catch.
No matter for Eastlake because on the very next drive, White set up a touchdown drive ending in a Emilio Rios with a 26-yard touchdown catch. Rios would take another one to the house in the late second quarter.
Hanks caught a break right before the half as Nick Frayre took a 52-yard punt return for a touchdown, leaving the half down 30-14.
At the half, Eastlake held Hanks to just 3 rushing yards and 137 yards of total offense. White led the team with three touchdowns at the half and Jones had 175 yards of total offense with two total touchdowns.
“Zeke’s got the understanding of what we want,” Calderon said. “He’s the guy we want to give the ball to and make plays.”
However, Jones would have to sit out early in the third quarter with an ankle sprain that would sideline him for the rest of the game. He stayed on the sideline with his troops on crutches for the rest of the game.
Both he and Calderon assured that he would be fine and thinks it might just be an ankle sprain.
“I’m feeling good,” Jones said after the game.
The Knights attempted to come back early in the second half by driving the ball all the way inside the Falcons 10 yard line. A score would have cut the game 33-21, and sparked sort of a comeback for Hanks. However, Hanks running back Rashon Peterson fumbled the ball on a crucial play and Eastlake took over.
The Falcons turned the Hanks mishap to a crucial touchdown to set the game out of hands reach late in the third quarter by a White pass to Adrian Donacio.
With one more touchdown late in the fourth quarter with reserves in, Eastlake held on 47-14.
“Not really pleased overall,” Calderon said. “We ade some mistakes but when we wanted to, we made some big plays. We put together some good drives.”
Calderon however was pleased with White’s performance at the end.
“Justin’s coming along,” he said. “He’s reading defenses really well.”
Jones also hopes to be back against El Paso Del Valle—a huge 2-5A matchup next week—and hopes his team will grow from here.
“Always room for more growth,” Jones said. “Room for growth in many different areas. Grow together as a team.”
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