By James Bartolo
The Pueblo East Eagles have collected the first win of the season.
After losing five consecutive games to start 2017, the Eagles defeated the Durango Demons, 38-16.
Played in the Neta and Eddie DeRose ThunderBowl, the homecoming game for the Eagles was their first league game of the season.
“Before the game I told my boys that this is a new start. Our record is still 0-0.” Eagles head coach Andy Watts said.
Much of the Eagles success was due to success on the ground.
In just his second start of the season, senior halfback Sebastian Benavidez totaled 115 rushing yards on 17 attempts.
Eagle running backs Luis Martinez and Enrique Rodriguez also rushed for 73 and 30 yards respectively.
Though Martinez’ 4-yard touchdown burst would make the score 6-0 for the Eagles, the Demons controlled most of the opening quarter.
Demon senior quarterback Max Hyson scored two touchdowns in the first on a 53-yard scramble and later a 56-yard lob to receiver Alex Hise.
Despite a strong start, the veteran Hyson was mysteriously replaced by freshmen gunslinger Jordan Woolverton in the second quarter.
Woolverton tossed 17 completions for 177 yards, but the Demons were dominated by the Eagles for the rest of the night.
A 60-yard touchdown from punt returner Kain Medrano followed by a Benavidez 2-point conversion tied the game at 14 and Medrano’s reception of a 16-yard pass from quarterback Luc Andrada gave the Eagles a 21-14 lead.
The Eagles closed the first half with 45-yard fumble recovery and touchdown return from senior Octavio Garcia.
The only score of the third quarter was a safety from the Demons, but a 22-yard field goal from Efran Perez and a 4-yard rush from Andrada in the fourth destroyed any hopes of a Demon comeback.
Despite a 1-5 record, the Eagles still have a shot at the playoffs as they remain undefeated in league play.
“It’s a nice win tonight and now we’re ready to win league.” Watts said.
The Eagles will face their next league opponent in the Pueblo County Hornets.