By Connor Mullins

            The Eagles lost 35-34 against the Richland Rebels Friday Night at Birdville Stadium. The Eagles were ahead in the game 34-28 until Richland quarterback Cole Benson threw a touchdown pass with 48 seconds remaining in the fourth. The Eagles are now 1-4 in the season.

            “We didn’t play very well in the first half,” Abilene High head coach Michael Fullen said. “But we played great in the second half.”

            The Eagles were down 28-14 at halftime but came back strong in the second half, scoring 20 unanswered points until 48 seconds left on the clock.

            “We really began to play our game in the second half,” Eagles senior tight end Colby Ernst said. “In the first half we played kinda sloppy. We made our coaches happy in the second half but we gotta do that in the first as well.”
            Eagles senior quarterback Eric Abbe played a majority of the game at quarterback for the Eagles.  Eagles junior quarterback Matthew Ezzell started the game but was pulled out after a horse collar tackle by the Rebels. The quarterbacks finished last night 16-37 for 222 yards, three touchdowns, and no interceptions. The 222 passing yards was the most the Eagles have had all season.

            Eagles senior running back Davanta Mayse had a big game against the Rebels finishing the night with 120 rushing yards and a touchdown. But his big performance was not enough to secure a win for the Eagles.

            “We can improve everything,” coach Fullen said. “We gotta be able to play all four quarters and when we do that we’re really good, and when we don’t we’re not good.”

            The Eagles missed an opportunity to score off a pick six because of a holding penalty. Unable to score a touchdown, and had to settle for a field goal made by senior Joseph Martinez, giving them an uneasy six-point lead in the fourth quarter.

            The Eagles failed to run out the clock late in the fourth which led to the Rebels scoring. Richland’s quarterback finished the night with five touchdowns. The Eagles are now 1-4 on the season.

            “We’re gonna grind,” Ernst said. “We’re gonna grind as hard as we can next week. We have to go 1-1 in district because we can’t go 0-2 in district. We gotta get back on top against L.D. Bell.”
            The Eagles will play the L.D. Bell Blue Raiders (2-3) next week for homecoming at Shotwell Stadium.

            “We gotta watch a lot of film to learn how they run it,” Eagles senior outside linebacker Jorge Hernandez said. “Kinda how Tascosa runs theirs. But we’re gonna dominate this time.”

Hernandez missed getting an interception in the first half against Benson and the Rebels.

“I should’ve looked up,” Hernandez said. “Instead I looked at the defensive line.”

The Eagles still have a long way to go in their season and still have a chance at making the playoffs in District 3-6A. After playing L.D. Bell next week, the Eagles will face San Angelo Central (away), Haltom (home), Weatherford (away), and Trinity (home).

“We gotta start how we finish,” Ernst said. “That’s a big thing for me because we always come out here in the first half and we don’t play our game, but we come out in the second half and we really play our game. That’s a goal. We gotta do that in district.”

Game Notes:

  • The Eagles finished with 193 rushing yards and a touchdown
  • Ezzell and Abbe finished with 222 passing yards and three passing touchdowns
  • The Eagles offense was much improved and had 415 total yards of offense
  • The Eagles defense only made 45 tackles, their lowest number of tackles so far this season
  • Eagles senior defensive back Phillip Tellez caught the only interception of the night
  • Eagles senior receiver Tre Phillips now leads the team in receiving yards with 257 yards and a touchdown
  • Eagles senior running back Davanta Mayse now has 210 rushing yards and a touchdown on the season
  • Eagles senior quarterback Eric Abbe finished the game with 73 rushing yards