BY BRIAN GIBSON
The Van Horn Eagles hosted the Chihuahua state champions from Juarez last Friday night. After a scoreless first quarter, the Eagles and Juarez Titanes lit up the scoreboard with exciting back and forth action that exhibited a physical style of football and some great offensive performances.
Fabian Baeza connected with Jeremy Virdell for two second quarter touchdowns and added a 29-yard field goal to lead the Eagles to a 16-7 halftime lead. The Titanes exploded in the third quarter with two explosive plays to take a 21-16 lead midway through the 3rd quarter.
Late in the 3rd quarter, the Titanes added another big play from their offense and led 28-16. The ensuing kickoff proved to be pivotal as the Eagle special teams opened a crease for Rafael Rodriguez to return the kickoff 77 yards for an Eagle Touchdown. After the two point conversion, the Eagles trailed 28-24.
The fourth quarter saw the Eagles and Titanes trade a pair of touchdowns. The Eagles opened the fourth quarter with a pair of touchdown passes from Baeza to Luis Escajeda (19 yards) and Rafael Rodriguez (15 yards). The Titanes scored two late touchdowns of their own to regain a four point lead and hold on for a 41-37 win.
The Eagles combined for 512 yards of total offense with some incredible individual numbers. The offensive line anchored by Luis Gonzalez, Matthew Acosta, Nando Subia, Roman Rocha, Jaime SantaCruz, and Isaac Baeza opened up holes against a formidable and much larger defensive front. The Eagles amassed 109 rushing yards, and 403 passing yards. Jeremy Virdell hauled in 11 Baeza passes for 124 yards and two touchdowns. Luis Escajeda was on the receiving end of 12 passes for 188 yards and one touchdown.
Rafael Rodriguez and Isaac Baeza led the defensive attack with eight and 10 tackles respectively.
The Eagles will be in action on Friday, Sept. 18 in Anthony as the Eagles look to get back on the winning side against the Wildcats.