A contrast of styles will collide in El Paso once again on Friday afternoon as the El Dorado Aztecs host the Midland Lee Rebels at the Socorro ISD Student Activities Complex. This will be the second meeting between the two sides this season. Midland Lee won that game 48-34 at Grande Communications Stadium back in September.
The Aztecs enter Friday’s game as one of the hottest teams in El Paso having won five in a row after starting the season 1-2. They also clinched a share of the District 1-6A title after defeating Pebble Hills in the regular season finale and Montwood’s loss to Eastwood.
“For our confidence, that win over Pebble Hills was huge,” El Dorado head coach Ruben Torres said, “Our kids did everything to control our destiny and when we challenged them after the Montwood game to win out, they did and they’re playing well.”
The big playmaker for the Aztecs is none other than quarterback Cedarious Barfield, who scored seven total touchdowns in last week’s win over Pebble Hills. He notes that this Aztecs team is much different since the beginning of the year.
“The coaches have told us that we can play with anyone in the state,” Barfield said, “We just have to start fast and put together a complete game and if we can do that, we can compete.”
Heading into Friday’s rematch, the Aztecs and Rebels have become familiar foes. The two met up in the regular season last year with El Dorado coming out on top 62-35 in a shootout at the SAC. That was then and this is now and the Rebels head to the Sun City with a high powered rushing attack with two 1,000-plus yard rushers and a third who just came up short.
“We’re both familiar with each other and I’ve got a lot of respect for Coach (Clint) Hartman and what he’s done with the program,” Torres said, “I think we’re confident and comfortable competing with them and they’re a great team.”
“Defensively, we have to be sound in stopping the run,” said El Dorado linebacker Willie Croslen, “Both sides are doing what we have to do in order to come out with the win.”
2017 has proved to be quite the turnaround for the Rebels. After a disappointing 3-7 season from a year ago, head coach Clint Hartman has led Midland Lee to an 8-2 record and in good position to win a playoff game for the first time since 2013.
“We told our kids that everyone has a life expectancy of one week in the playoffs,” Hartman said, “We’re playing for our playoff lives and we’re happy that we’re back against a good team.
The Rebels are also looking to erase a bitter 42-7 defeat at the hands of archrival Odessa Permian last Friday night. Hartman cites injuries as part of their struggles but believes his team will be ready to bounce back.
He also knows that in order to be successful, the Rebels defense will have to contain Barfield, who has lit up Midland Lee in the previous two meetings.
“We need to our job and contain him,” Hartman said, “He’s too good of a football player to completely stop him and he’s going to make some plays and we just have to limit the big ones.”
Midland Lee and El Dorado kick off at 4:30 p.m. MST from El Paso.
Brought to you by: