After going blow for blow with arguably the best team in El Paso, the Montwood Rams had one last chance to pull the upset. With 2:55 to go and down by four, the Rams took over on their own 12-yard line. The Rams offense capped off a tremendous night, marching 88 yards down the field as quarterback Andrew Fernandez threw a game-winning touchdown pass to receiver Tury Cepeda with 13 seconds left to shock the El Dorado Aztecs 47-44.
“I saw my corner had taken the slot receiver and the safety didn’t know what was going on,” Cepeda said about the game-winning touchdown. “My quarterback (Fernandez) saw it, read it, and had faith to throw it to me since no one was covering me.”
The Rams were able to erase a 10 point fourth quarter deficit, thanks to some solid contributions from running back Evan De Anda (30 carries, 181 yards, 2 TDs) and wide receiver Tyreese Andrus (5 catches, 122 yards, TD) and steady play from junior quarterback Andrew Fernandez. Fernandez finished the game 18 of 35 for 318 yards and a season high five touchdown passes.
“It feels great,” Fernandez said, “This win boosts us up and keeps us in contention for the District title.”
This game went back and forth all night long. Montwood got off to a blazing fast start, going up 14-0 in the first quarter. The Aztecs bounced back thanks to a 57-yard touchdown reception by Tyquez Hampton, a safety, and another touchdown pass from Cedarious Barfield to Cameron Hill. In less than two minutes of game time, El Dorado answered with 18 unanswered points. After trading touchdowns on ensuing possessions, El Dorado went into halftime with a 30-26 lead.
In the second half, the Rams benefited from a huge momentum swing when the Aztecs fumbled the opening kickoff. On the ensuing play, Evan De Anda ran to the right and capitalized with a 33-yard touchdown run. After a successful two-point conversion, Montwood went up 34-30. The Rams then gave up two straight touchdowns to the Aztecs, including a back-breaking 62-yard touchdown run by Kevin Henderson to put the Aztecs up 44-34. The Rams never quit, scoring twice in the final 6:30 of the game to pull off the upset.
“I don’t even have words for the courage our kids showed,” said Montwood head coach Ariel Famaligi, “Being down at halftime, our kids just came out and kept fighting. They never quit, they fought themselves back in the game and they were rewarded with a victory tonight.”
The Rams’ win over the Aztecs has also opened up all of District 1-6A, as the Aztecs were the favorites to win the title. After Thursday night’s win, the Rams feel like they proved many people wrong who thought they weren’t good enough to compete for a district title.
“So many people doubted us,” said Montwood receiver Tyreese Andrus, “After that close win against Socorro, we didn’t let it hit us or bring us down. We knew we had a mission this week to be on top and beat El Dorado. We grinded it out all week in practice doing what we needed to do and we came out and proved it.”
Montwood and El Dorado now have identical 3-2 overall records, but Montwood goes to 2-0 in district play and El Dorado falls to 1-1 in district. The Rams will travel to play Franklin next week, while El Dorado will host Socorro.