EL PASO, Texas — The El Paso Burges High School rolled right along on Thursday night at Mustang Stadium, defeating the Austin Panthers25-7 in a pivotal District 1-5A showdown for both teams.
“We fought hard to day and came out with the win,” Burges Mustang Head Coach James Routledge said following the win, “Hats off to Austin— their kids fought hard. We put together some good drives and played well.”
After the opening Austin drive stalled on fourth down, the Mustangs (3-4, 1-3) moved the ball methodically as Matteo Serrano would add one of his three touchdown runs on the night. A missed extra point kept the score at 6-0 midway through the first quarter.
Austin would answer right back as their ball control offense went to work. An 11-play drive was capped off by a reverse pass from wide receiver Ray Blanks to running back A.J. Aragon for a 29-yard touchdown to give the Panthers a 7-6 lead.
A strong kickoff return set the stage for Serrano again, running it in for a second time from eight yards out to make it 12-7 Mustangs after a failed two-point try.
After another Panther drive stalled out, the Mustangs went to work at a faster pace, moving the ball 80 yards on four plays capped off by a 12-yard touchdown run by senior Quan McNeil to make it 18-7.
As the Panthers tried to rally, the turning point of the game took place late in the first half. Burges lineman Michael Rainwater blocked a punt by Mauricio Perez of Austin late in the half. That set up a short five play drive that Serrano ran in for a third time on the night to make it 25-7. The senior quarterback finished with 215 total yards and three rushing touchdowns on the night.
“It was a big turnaround right there,” Routledge said of the punt block, “What a great punt block.”
The second half was all about the Mustang defense, forcing two Austin turnovers in the second half and limiting the Panthers to just 255 yards of offense on the night. An hour-long lightning delay with 6:12 left in the game was about the only thing stopping Burges from 6-1 overall and 4-0 in District 1-5A play.
As the Mustangs head into their home stretch of games, they know they’ll have to be ready for tough games against district title contenders in Andress and Chapin.
“I’m proud of our team,” Serrano said of the team’s win, “We fought well especially through adversity after the delay. We excelled on offense and defense tonight. We just have to build on it every week and not let the big games get to our heads. ”
“We’re gonna try like hell to compete with all the big games coming up,” Routledge said, “If we get in and show we belong, hopefully we can hang with the big boys.”
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