Photo: Tony Venegas/TexasHSFootball.com

EL PASO- The magical ride for El Paso Jefferson will continue for another week. The Silver Foxes rode the strong play of running back Jose Rubio and a strong defensive effort as Jefferson defeated rival Bowie 26-16 in the South Side Bowl on a picture-perfect day at the Sun Bowl.

That wasn’t the only drama for Jefferson, as the Foxes along with Bowie, Austin, Irvin and El Paso High all finished with a rare five-way tie for the fourth playoff spot. When it was all over, the Foxes overcame the odds and won the coin toss to earn the fourth and final playoff spot out of District 1-5A. It’s the first playoff berth for Jefferson since 1997.

El Paso Jefferson running back Jose Rubio (21) ran for four touchdowns and had an interception in the win over El Paso Bowie. (Photo: Tony Venegas, TexasHSFootball.com)

The game started off of promising for Jefferson, as they scored on their opening possession with a 36-yard touchdown run from Jose Rubio to make it 6-0 early. Bowie would respond with 16 straight points of their own via a John Diaz 57-yard touchdown run and a 47-yard interception return by David Rodriguez and two two-point conversions.

Facing a 16-6 deficit in the second quarter, Jefferson would overcome and regain the lead thanks to the efforts of Rubio with runs of 15 and 26 yards to give the Silver Foxes a 19-16 lead they would take into the locker room.

The defense would chip in their part in the second half, forcing three second-half turnovers. The first came in the third quarter via a John Diaz fumble and a recovery from Andy Cortez. On Bowie’s ensuing possession, quarterback Joseph Ponce was intercepted by none other than Rubio. The senior would add a four-yard touchdown run on the ensuing play as he finished with 193 yards rushing.

“Our offensive line did a great job,” Rubio said, “I’m so proud of our whole team for winning this game. Everyone played hard and the coaches did a great job of preparing us. What a feeling to win this game and have a chance in the playoffs.”

El Paso Jefferson head coach Tony Martinez speaks with the media after winning the coin flip to give the Silver Foxes the final playoff spot in District 1-5A. (Photo: Tony Venegas/TexasHSFootball.com)

“Jose has great character,” said first-year head coach Tony Martinez,”He has been so great for us all season long and he had a great game for us. Our whole team did great.”

Diaz would fumble again in the fourth quarter that effectively ended Bowie’s chances to win the game. Jefferson came away victorious in the South Side Bowl and with a little luck found their way into the playoffs via a coin flip.

“It feels great to earn the trip to the state playoffs,” said Martinez, who is in his first year as the head coach. “Our kids never gave up, our kids battled hard. I can’t say enough about the effort we gave. It’s been 20 years since we’ve been in the playoffs.”

Jefferson (3-7, 2-5) will take on Eastlake next Friday at the SAC at 7:30 p.m. MST. Bowie ends their season at 5-5 and 2-5 in District 1-5A.

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