Dragons run for 426 yards, hold E. Central to 78
AREA TEAMS INCLUDED: East Central, Southwest.
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Southwest did a lot of groundwork in its upset victory Oct. 17 at East Central.
Afterward, it was difficult to choose which was the most important factor: That the Dragons (3-4, 1-1) held the high-powered Hornets (3-4, 1-1) to a mere 78 rushing yards or that they ran for 426 themselves.
Cast a vote for the defense as the key element in Southwest’s 34-16 District 28-6A decision.
“Our defensive coaches had a great game plan and our kids executed it,” Southwest coach Peter Wagner said. “We played like we knew we could. We played a couple of young kids, and they made plays.
“We knew East Central would play very physical and fast, and we did a good job with that.”
One of those kids, sophomore safety John Blaz, scored Southwest’s first touchdown on a two-yard run. In addition to converting some key fourth downs in the offensive backfield, Blaz was one of the Dragons’ leading tacklers, along with classmate John Garcia and veteran Oscar Salinas.
Southwest backs Tyrone Middleton (153 yards, 12 carries), Jon Cruz (129 yards, 21 carries) and Reilly Riggs (122 yards, 17 carries) also scored a touchdown apiece. Riggs helped the Dragons secure a 17-3 halftime lead with a four-yard run.
Middleton broke off an 85-yard scoring run after Kyle Lamey (87 yards, 3 receptions) brought the Hornets within a touchdown with a 35yard reception from Justin Upshaw-Mendoza (12 of 24, 117 yards). Cruz, who surpassed the 1,000-yard mark for the season, followed with a four-yarder with 31 seconds left in the third quarter for a 31-10 edge.
“It’s really kind of a three-headed monster,” Wagner said. “You never know who’s going to make the big run.”
Jauwan Hall led East Central with 58 rushing yards on 13 carries.