The situation was simple for the Southwest Eagles coming into Friday night’s showdown against Ferguson: Win and stay in the hunt for a district title.
The Eagles (7-1, 3-1) did just that with a 24-13 victory over the Falcons (6-2, 3-1) to set up an intriguing final week in District 15-8A.
Southwest quarterback Deundre Pickett-White shined in the win to keep the Eagles in contention, completing 17 of his 23 passes for 173 yards and two touchdown passes. He also led the team on the ground with 84 rushing yards on 14 carries.
“We wanted to come out here and survive, and that’s what we did,” Pickett-Smith said.
Belen sits atop the district with a 4-0 record, while the Eagles and Falcons are tied at 3-1. Next week, the Eagles will be rooting hard for the Falcons to defeat Belen on Oct.31 to set up a tiebreaker to determine the district champion.
Southwest will need to beat Varela next week to take part in any kind of tiebreaker.
“Now it opens the door for that three-way tiebreaker, and we’re all smiles right now,” Southwest coach Tim Neal said. “I hope this win builds momentum for us and we take this into next week.”
Ferguson appeared to open up the game with a kickoff return for a touchdown by defensive back David Candeau, but a penalty negated the score and the Falcons offense was unable to capitalize.
A Ferguson fumble later on in the first quarter in its own territory was recovered by Southwest and turned into a touchdown drive for the Eagles, capped by a 5-yard touchdown run by running back Trevon Sands to give the Eagles a 7-0 lead.
The Eagles added a field goal in the second quarter and took a 10-0 lead at halftime as the Falcons struggled to get their ground game going.
Pickett-White opened up the second half by engineering a scoring drive using his arm and his legs, connecting with Sands in the end zone for a 5-yard touchdown pass to give the Eagles a 17-0 lead.
Ferguson running backs Anthony Moscoso and Gianni McCrea finally sparked the running game and marched 80 yards on the following drive to bring the Falcons back into the game. McCrea finished off the drive with a 5-yard touchdown run with exactly five minutes left in the third quarter.
Moscoso had a game-high 128 yards on 20 carries for the Falcons while McCrea added 61 yards on 18 carries.
Pickett-White struck again early in the fourth quarter, however, with a 20-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Daquntay Smith, who made a leaping grab over a Ferguson defensive back in the end zone.
The score extended the Eagles’ lead to 17 points, too big of a hole for the Falcons to climb out of.
SW - Sands 5 run (Garcia kick)
SW - Garcia 35 field goal
SW - Sands 5 pass from Pickett-White (Garcia kick)
FER - McCrea 3 run (Arango kick)
SW - Smith 20 pass from Pickett-White (Garcia kick)
FER - Felton 5 run (kick failed)
Rushing (att-yds) -- SW: Tutson 1-1, Sands 11-62, Pickett-White 14-84. FER: Felton 2-4, Valls 1-8, Hall 1-10, Valdez 12-27, McCrea 18-61, Moscoso 20-128.
Passing (comp-att-int, yds)-- SW: Pickett-White 17-23-0, 173. FER: Valdez 3-14-1, 20.
Receiving (rec-yds-TD) -- SW: Barnes 1-18, Smith 3-41, Sands 6-46, McWilliams 4-63, Flowers 3-75. FER: Velasco 1-6, Alvarez 2-14.