For the second year in a row, Dos Pueblos football won its season opener in walk-off fashion against Burbank.
This year’s game-winner came courtesy of a two-point conversion run by senior Matthew Welch to give the Chargers the 36-35 victory in double overtime on Friday at Scott O’Leary Stadium.
“We are two teams, similar schools with similar dynamics and I guess we just bring the best out of each other,” Dos Pueblos head coach AJ Pateras said of the close battles with Burbank. “Tonight was a fun environment. It was a fun game.”
Pateras noticed his team’s fatigue when he made the decision to go for two to win the game.
“I could see it in our guys’ faces that they didn’t have much left,” Pateras said. “But also, I think it was more of how much we trust our kids. We trust our coaches. We trust our practices. I think it comes down to trust and what we’ve been building.”
For the two-point conversion, the Chargers turned to a play they ran earlier in the fourth quarter.
Facing a 4th and 3 with under two minutes left in the red zone, Dos Pueblos ran a play under center — a rarity for the team — with a handoff to Welch. The play gained 3 yards, but it was called back due to an illegal formation.
This time around, the Chargers ran the play without a penalty, and Welch went untouched into the end zone.
“I knew that if I didn’t score, I was going to be on my knees, on the ground, just in tears… Whoever was in front of me was not going to stop me,” Welch said. “It was so static and so unbelievable. I just can’t describe the feeling.”
Another excited face after the game was Chargers’ quarterback Ryan Marsh. The senior captain threw for 151 yards and three touchdowns, completing 14-of-24 passes.
“I’m just super proud of our guys coming out the first game of the season and battling to the end,” Marsh said. “It’s not always going to be pretty, that’s how football is. But I’m really proud of how we battled all the way to the end, never gave up, never lost hope.”
Both of Marsh’s touchdown passes were large-chunk plays for Dos Pueblos’ offensive attack.
The first was a deep out route to sophomore wide receiver Ivan Velez, who took the 15-yard pass and ran up the sideline for a 48-yard score.
Then, in the second quarter, Marsh hit sophomore wide receiver Micah Barnhart on a bubble screen. He made a couple of defenders miss and scored a 47-yard touchdown.
“We have two starting sophomores on varsity at receiver and I am just super proud of them,” Marsh said. “The fact that our first few touchdowns of the year were sophomores, that makes us excited for the future.
“They’re really electric when they get the ball in their hands.”
Dos Pueblos led by two scores in the second half, but 15 unanswered points by Burbank tied the contest at 28-28 with 4:21 remaining in the third quarter.
Although both teams had opportunities to score in the fourth, mistakes cost each team, sending the game into overtime.
The first overtime kicked off with Dos Pueblos having the ball. A 21-yard run by junior wide receiver Kaleb Williams brought the Chargers down to the 4.
Williams was a workhorse for the Chargers in the second half, with all 12 of his carries coming after halftime for 92 yards.
A loss of 9 yards on the next play suddenly had the Chargers with their backs against the wall with second and goal from the 13-yard line.
Three incompletions in a row led to a turnover on downs, giving the ball to Burbank with a chance to win the game.
Three plays into Burbank’s drive, they were 9 yards away from securing the victory.
However, on first and goal, Burbank’s junior running back Jacob Mendieta made what felt like his only mistake of the game, mishandling a handoff from junior quarterback Daniel Zacariaz.
The fumble was recovered by Dos Pueblos defensive lineman Evan Yelles, who dove on the ball the moment it hit the ground and didn’t let go, giving his team new life.
Due to overtime rules, Burbank started the second OT with the ball.
Zacariaz hit junior wideout Ezekiel Alvarez for the score and Burbank kicked the extra point to go up 35-28.
The Chargers’ other workhorse on Friday night was junior running back Danny Vidaure, who rushed the ball 20 times for 75 yards.
In the second overtime possession, Vidaure ran the ball on all four plays, gaining all 25 yards, including a 5-yard score.
That set up the game-winning score by Welch, who also scored on a 4-yard touchdown run earlier in the contest.
“We’re excited for where we’re going,” Pateras said. “We have got a long way to go, but we will lick our wounds and enjoy tonight.”
Dos Pueblos will travel to face Nordhoff next Friday with kickoff at 7 p.m.