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QB David Leon Rallies Dos Pueblos to 33-28 Comeback Victory Over San Marcos

Chargers score winning touchdown with 1:57 left in the game

david Leon, DP qB Click to view larger
Dos Pueblos quarterback David Leon finishes a 57-yard drive with a 3-yard touchdown run in the first half. Leon was named the game MVP. (JC Corliss / Noozhawk photo)

Dos Pueblos quarterback David Leon took care of business during crunch time and led the Chargers to a 33-28 comeback victory over San Marcos in a thrilling crosstown rivalry game at Warkentin Stadium on Friday night.

Leon guided his team on three touchdown drives in the second half to rally DP from a 28-13 halftime deficit. On the game-winning drive, he took the Chargers 87 yards on 13 plays. 

Running back Eric Lopez scored the deciding touchdown on a 8-yard blast up the middle with 1:57 left.

But it was the running of Leon that kept the drive going. On third and 15 from the 46, he picked up nine yards. On fourth down, he rolled left, turned up field and gained 14 yards to give DP a first down at the San Marcos 23. He rambled for 15 more yards to set up Lopez for the game-winning TD.

"We had a play-action pass and I decided to take it upon myself and get the first down and do it for the team," Leon said of the fourth-down run. "My running back Eric Lopez, I want to give a shout-out to him. He put the team on his back tonight and took care of business."

Leon was named the winner of the Jeff Hesselmeyer Trophy as the game's MVP. He rushed 92 yards on 18 carries and scored a TD and completed 10 of 19 passes for 152 yards and a score. 

The result leaves Dos Pueblos at 2-1 in the Channel League and 5-3 overall. San Marcos is 1-2, 2-6.

Josh Brown Click to view larger
Josh Brown of San Marcos hauls in a 25-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Ben Partee to tie the score in the first quarter. (JC Corliss / Noozhawk photo)

Dos Pueblos entered the game with several starters out with injuries or away on an Engineering Academy field trip.

"We were down." DP coach Doug Caines said. "I challenged these kids to step up. I said our theme for this is year if we’re going to go far, we need everyone. And this game, more than any game, proved that because we had guys hurt, have guys on school trips. We were down and we were scrambling. 

"We did everything to lose the game in the first half, and I challenged them to come out (in the second half) and to battle and to prove that they can execute and they are worthy of the glory."

Leon said the team captains brought the everyone together with a halftime talk.

"We were a little down," he said. "San Marcos, a shout-out to them, they punched us in the mouth and got us off our feet. The captains brought the team right back up and we went to work."

One of those captains to speak was Dillon Roberts. And he backed up his words some big plays. He caught a touchdown pass,  made a diving interception that preceded the game-winning drive in the fourth quarter and caught a big pass on the drive.

With the score 28-27, San Marcos quarterback Ben Partee moved San Marcos to the DP 20. After a delay of game penalty, Partee tried to hit running back Tommy Schaefer who was lined up in the slot. But Roberts read the play and made the diving interception.

"It was very exciting for me and very exciting for the team," said Roberts of his pick.

"They made the plays," San Marcos coach Jason Fowle said of the Chargers. "Congratulations to them. They showed some mental toughness to get back in the game. They did what they do best and took care of business.

"We were ready for this game," he added.  "It went exactly how we thought it could go. We just didn’t close it out."

The breaks went San Marcos’ way in the first half. Down 7-0 on a touchdown by Lopez on DP's first possession, the Royals recovered the ball after Andrew Aragon's punt bounced off the leg of DP’s return man. Five plays later, Partee hit wide receiver Josh Brown on a 25-yard touchdown pass. David Hernandez kicked the PAT to tie the score at 7-7 at 11:54 of the second quarter.

Partee completed 15 of 27 passes for 169 yards and two scores.

Tommy Schaefer, Brandon Miguel Click to view larger
San Marcos running back Tommy Schaefer tries to elude Brandon Miguel of Dos Pueblos. (JC Corliss / Noozhawk photo)

On DP’s next possession, Brown blocked Chris Mollkoy's punt and Jack Huffman caught the ball and returned it 22 yards for a touchdown. Hernandez’s kick gave the Royals a 14-7 lead at the 9:46 mark of the second quarter.

Dos Pueblos answered with a three-play, 57-yard drive. Leon hit fullback Nico Martinez over the middle and he rambled 51 yards to the San Marcos 3. Leon scored on the next play, but the Chargers missed the PAT, leaving them down 14-13.

DP’s quick scored didn’t bother the Royals. They came right back and took the lead. The durable and tough-to-tackle Schaefer took a handful, made a cut and ran 32 yards untouched to put San Marcos ahead 21-13 at the 5:25 mark of the second quarter.

Schaefer ran for 118 yards on 18 carries.

An inspired Royals’ defense stopped DP on downs and the offense went back to work, driving 80 yards for a touchdown. Schaefer gained 21 yards on a swing pass to put the ball at the 1. On second down, Partee hit Matt Pencek for the score with two seconds left in the first half. 

The Royals were stunning DP at halftime, 28-13.

Dos Pueblos started its comeback on its first possession of the second. half. Leon handed off to Lopez on first down from the 48 and he gained 31 yards, spinning off tacklers. Jayson Miranda scored the touchdown on a 1-yard run. The Chargers failed on a 2-point conversion, leaving them down 28-19 at 9:12 of the third quarter.

Schaefer broke off a 25-yard run on San Marcos’ next possession, but the Royals eventually had to punt.

DP drove down field again for another score. Leon hit Roberts for a 30-yard touchdown to pull within a point, 28-27. San Marcos stopped Leon on a run for two points.

Partee hit Brown over the middle for an 18-yard gain on San Marcos’ next possession, but DP’s defense came up big and forced the Royals to punt.

San Marcos got clutch defensive plays from Bryan Espinosa and Henry Herrera to deny DP the next time it got the ball.

Roberts then made his game-changing interception, and Leon and Lopez went to work and finished the job for the Chargers.

"We knew it was going to be a tight game," Fowle said. "In a game like that, every little thing becomes magnified, every little mistake by everybody becomes magnified. And we all made mistakes, myself included. When you play a team like DP you have to limit those mistakes that allow a good team like that to see the light."


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