A warm, comfortable Friday night at Trooper Stadium marked the end of spring football in El Paso. With the squads set up Team Blue and Gold, Blue came out with the 33-14 win that marked the third win in a row for the Blue team.
“It was a fun atmosphere tonight,” Lopez said, “I saw a lot of competition and guys stepping up and making plays for us. It’s just a good way to end spring.”
Friday night’s spring game also marked the return of Eastwood’s dynamic playmaker at quarterback in Seth Ochoa. Taking part in his first live action since tearing the ACL in his left knee last September, the rising senior had that same kind of zip that coaches and teammates were used to seeing before the injury.
“It was exciting to be out here again,” Ochoa said following the game, “It felt just like a game out here and our team was just energized and excited to show what we could do.”
Ochoa admitted there was still some rust to shake off but Lopez knows how important it is to have his quarterback back in the mix.
“Even with missing seven games last year, I just see the maturity out of him and the rest of the group. I think he might be the best quarterback in the city of El Paso. He’s a guy that I know can help us achieve our goals for the upcoming season.”
The game was also a coming out party for the defense which Lopez spoke highly off earlier in the spring. That unit brings back 10 returning starters and they continued to force turnovers and get pressure in the backfield on Friday night which Lopez hopes will serve his team well.
“I love the attitude of the defense right now. They’re a bunch of ballhawks right now and our focus was on forcing more turnovers and I’m really happy to see the progress they’ve made during the spring.”
As the Troopers now head into summer workouts, the third-year head coach and the senior quarterback hope to see his team come closer together after the multiple learning experiences that last year provided.
“We definitely want to become closer together,” Ochoa said, “It’s a senior laden team but we do have a lot of young guys that we want to coach up and that’s going to be important for us.”
“With any great team, you have to use the summer to get close to each other. The nice thing about us is that it’s a veteran group and they’ve all grown up together. It’s just a matter of getting them to understand that bond is an important part of their success.”
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