By Travis M. Smith | KBEC Sports
The Avalon Eagles won a wild one Friday on the gridiron to open District 11-1A against Coolidge.
The 82-62 road victory improved Malcolm Cole and company to a perfect 8-0 on the season, which matched the start by the Palmer Bulldogs and keeps the two as the lone unbeaten football teams in Ellis County.
With the win, the Eagles also jumped into the Dave Campbell’s Texas Football 1A state rankings for the first time this season, checking in at No. 10. The publication, which is recognized by the Associated Press as the official state rankings provider for the state, named Cole as the 1A DCTF Coach of the Week following the win.
The Coolidge Yellowjackets fell to 5-3 on the season and 0-1 in 11-1A action with the loss.
The game began with each team finding the end zone four times in a back-and-forth affair.
Coolidge scored the opening touchdown with 9:14 to play in the first quarter, only to have Miguel Padron rush home from six yards out to tie the game. The difference in the first quarter — a frame in which each team scored three times — was that Avalon placekicker Marcos Kinser converted on all three of his extra-point kicks.
Those six points tallied after a touchdown sent the Eagles into the second quarter with a 24-18 lead.
Avalon, though, would soon distance itself from the host Yellowjackets.
Coolidge converted on an extra-point kick following a touchdown to begin the second quarter and took a quick 26-24 lead with 8:52 showing on the first-half clock.
On the ensuing Avalon drive, Rhett Newton capped an Eagle drive with a 10-yard touchdown pass to Adrian Sanchez (7-78). The touchdown and Kinser extra-point kick came with 6:32 to play in the second quarter and gave the Eagles a 32-26 lead.
Thirty-four seconds later, Padron rushed in from 1-yard out to extend the Avalon lead. The Eagles quarterback then capped a short drive just over two minutes later with an 18-yard touchdown scamper for a 44-26 lead.
Each team found the end zone two more times in the first half — with Padron finding Justin Dean as the clock expired for a 3-yard touchdown — to send the Eagles into the break with a 59-38 lead.
That 21-point lead eventually ballooned to 32 points by the end of the third quarter, thanks to touchdown receptions by Bryan Faber (8-77, 2TDs) and Kinser (3-8) of 20 and 3 yards, respectively, as well as a 20-yard Padron touchdown run.
Coolidge scored twice in the fourth quarter — missing both extra-point attempts — to cap the 82-62 Avalon win.
BY THE NUMBERS
Padron finished the game 16-of-22 (73%) through the air for 169 yards and three touchdowns to one interception. He rushed a team-high 26 times for 217 yards and four touchdowns.
The senior also led the defense with 11 total tackles (5 solo) and returned one kickoff for a touchdown.
Newton (5-of-6, 38 yards) and Smith (3-of-4, 15 yards) each tossed a touchdown pass in support of Padron. Newton rushed six times for 79 yards and caught one interception to go with 10 total tackles (five solo) during the win, as well.
Marcos Kinser added 10 tackles, while Tristan Smith had eight and Kevin Vidales recorded seven tackles, recovered one fumble and returned one kickoff for a touchdown.
Gabriel Pacheco (6 total tackles) blocked a jaw-dropping four Coolidge field goal attempts.
The Avalon Eagles will travel to (3-4, 0-1) Penelope for a 7:30 p.m. kickoff Friday.
Travis M. Smith, @Travis5mith