By Travis M. Smith | KBEC Sports
An Avalon sophomore led the Eagle offense to a playoff-clinching win on Senior Night.
Erick Padron accounted for six total touchdowns to secure the mercy-rule win against in-county rival (2-5, 1-1) Milford, 69-24.
Padron rushed 16 times for a game-high 173 yards and two touchdowns in the game that ended shortly after halftime at Eagle Field in Avalon. He also completed 7-of-his-14 passing attempts for four touchdowns to improve the Eagles to 6-3 on the season and 3-0 in District 11-1A.
The Eagles ultimately gained 359 total yards of offense (202 rushing, 157 passing) and scored eight offensive touchdowns.
Gabriel Pacheco (2-15) pulled in two touchdown passes, while Noe Hernandez (2-39), Jake Ozymy (2-34) and Jessy Morones (1-20) each caught one.
Colby Ornelas and Morones returned an interception for a touchdown for 33 and 23 yards, respectively. Ornelas added a rushing touchdown on two carries for 17 yards, while Morones completed three passes for 42 yards and a touchdown.
Shawn McEwen led the Eagles with 10 total tackles, while Morones (1 TFL) and Pacheco (2 TFL) each recorded nine.
“Compliments to our kids tonight; they played hard,” Avalon head football coach Malcolm Cole said. “We started off the year in a little rough patch, but we have been able to turn it around and really start playing our style of football. We’ve been able to get back to the things that we do well — fundamentally and scheme-wise. I am excited about it.”
The Eagles led just 26-16 after the first quarter in a true back-and-forth affair. Milford then watched its quarterback exit an apparent knee injury. The game quickly turned soon after.
“We had a good game plan coming in and we were trading touchdowns with them in the first half,” first-year Milford head coach Isaac Wells said. “But the injury messed up our continuity and we just kind of fell apart. We have a young team with only one senior, and we were just unable to hold it together after our quarterback went out of the game with that knee injury. We have to get back to work and prepare for Blum.”
Wells added, “Avalon has a great player in [Padron]. He is a great football player. He’s hard to get to. They’ve had a lot of success this year and we played a great ball club tonight.”
SECOND SHOT WITH PADRON
With one regular-season game to play, Padron has already surpassed his passing totals from the 2020 season and is on the heels of his rushing mark.
The Eagles’ signal-caller completed 57-of-his 123 passes (46.3%) for 1,015 yards and 21 touchdowns to six interceptions as a freshman. He has already tossed for 1,318 yards and 27 touchdowns to five interceptions on 61-of-97 passing (62.9%).
As for his rushing prowess, Padron’s 102 carries for 922 yards and 15 touchdowns are just a bit south of his 112 carries for 1,084 yards and 17 touchdowns.
Of course, those 2020 totals came in nine games. Padron and the Eagles have played just eight thus far in 2021.
“His ability to run, throw and do all of those things simultaneously, you just can’t teach that,” Cole said. “He is reading the defense so well this year. And his ability to see the field is a compliment to all of the kids around him and the things they are doing so well, like downfield blocking. He is a great team leader.”
If the Padron name rings a bell with any Avalon or Ellis County football fans, it should.
Miguel Padron threw for 442 yards and four touchdowns while rushing for 777 yards and 12 touchdowns as a sophomore for the Eagles in 2017. Two seasons later, he completed 86-of-his-164 passes for 1,576 yards and 32 touchdowns to six interceptions. He added a whopping 1,903 rushing yards and 33 touchdowns on 193 carries.
Those 12-game senior-season numbers are totals that Erick is already approaching — as a sophomore and in just eight contests.
“He’s a good kid, first and foremost,” said Cole of the younger Padron. “But he’s an exceptional football player. And he’s just a sophomore. By the time he graduates, he could be one of the best players we’ve ever had.”
Avalon enters a rare week 10 bye week perched atop the 11-1A standings.
“Our district is so wide open right now,” Cole said. “If everything shakes out, we could end up playing for the district championship in our last game of the season.”
The Eagles and Bobcats are slated to end the season with a 7:30 p.m. kickoff in Blum.
However, there is still a team standing in the way of a potential Avalon-Blum showdown for the district title — Milford.
Prior to the season, Dave Campbell’s Texas Football predicted (3-5, 2-0) Blum to be the district champion, with (2-5, 1-1) Milford and Avalon finishing second and third, respectively.
That prediction could be completely turned on its head should the Bulldogs bounce back to knock off the Bobcats this Friday on the road at JM White Field.
Kickoff is slated for 7:30 p.m.
“The first thing that we are going to do is go back, look at the film and show the kids the things we did well in the first half,” said Wells of how his Bulldogs will prepare this week. “We are going to get to the point where we fell apart [Friday] and let them know that these are the things we have to do well. When we lose one player, someone else has to step up.”
All photos by Fred Phipps/KBEC Sports
Travis M. Smith, @Travis5mith