Thursday’s game at Lowrey Field looked very similar to the season openers for both Monterey and Odessa.
For the Bronchos that’s not such a good thing, and for the Plainsmen it was good enough.
The Plainsmen took advantage of early Odessa mistakes — and one huge one late in the game — to hold off the Bronchos 31-19 for their second straight 2-0 start to the season.
Quarterback Jacob Bartholomae converted a C.J. Eddison fumble into a 1-yard touchdown run with just under 5 minutes remaining to seal the win after the Bronchos (0-2) had been moving the ball almost at will in the second half.
“It was definitely holding on in the second half,” Monterey head coach Todd Pearson said. “They made some good adjustments and defensively got more physical and put some more people in the box, and we weren’t able to do what we wanted to do. So we kind of preserved some guys and worked some time off the clock until we could get to come things where we could be more effective.”
Odessa had one last scoring chance late, but Christian Cedillo picked off Bronchos quarterback Ryan Martinez in the end zone to end the threat and push the Plainsmen to 2-0 on the year. It was the final of three turnovers by the Bronchos in the game which led to 10 Monterey points.
Monterey led 24-12 at halftime but Odessa used its second long drive of the game to pull to within 24-19 on a 5-yard run by Martinez with 2:48 left in the third quarter.
The Bronchos were on the march again at midfield until C.J. Eddison, who rushed for a game-high 131 yards and a touchdown and caught three passes for 44 yards, was stripped and Ismael Mendoza fell on it for the Plainsmen at the Odessa 45. A 41-yard run by Bartholomae got the ball inside the 5 yard line, and Bartholomae did the rest.
“The first half was just exactly what happened to us against Amarillo High, reliving another nightmare,” Odessa coach Ron King said. “Finally, we started to do some things but still, it’s a learning curve for us. (The defense) got us some stops and gave us some opportunities, but then we weren’t able to capitalize on those opportunities and kept shooting ourselves in the foot.”
Byron Parker finished with 122 yards and a touchdown for the Plainsmen but had just one yard in the second half as the Bronchos keyed on shutting him down. Travon Benton ran for 48 yards and one score and caught a 25-yard screen pass for another as Monterey built a 17-0 first-quarter lead, but the Plainsmen managed just 85 yards offense after halftime.
After watching what Amarillo did to Odessa on film during the week, the Plainsmen took almost the same exact approach in their offensive attack, and the Bronchos seemed more than happy to oblige.
The Plainsmen chewed up 251 yards of total offense in the first half and limited Odessa to 107, all but 17 of which came in the second quarter.
Monterey took the opening kickoff and quickly drove down the field for the game’s first score, and did so as Parker got his night off to a quick start with a 42-yard run on the option pitch on the game’s first play. Two plays later, Travon Benton barrelled in from 5 yards out to put the Plainsmen up 7-0.
Odessa, which struggled on special teams against the Sandies, continued to have problems. The Bronchos allowed the ensuing kickoff to bounce, where Daniel Lopez caught it on the run at the Odessa 19. Three plays later, Parker had his first touchdown of 2012 on a 2-yard run to put the lead at 14-0.
Odessa’s first actual possession of the game ended in a punt, and the snap sailed through punter Hector Lozano’s hands to the Odessa 19, where Michael Serna feel on it for the Plainsmen. But they had to settle for a 35-yard Davis Williamson field goal, sending the game to the second quarter at 17-0.
Then, suddenly, the Bronchos woke up and started wearing down the Monterey defense.
Odessa got on the board at the end of a 15-play, 70-yard drive capped by a 1-yard keeper by quarterback Ryan Martinez. The PAT kick failed, leaving the score at 17-6.
But Lopez fumbled the ensuing kickoff, and the Bronchos took over at the Monterey 15. Two plays later, C.J. Eddison scored from 14 yards out, and just like that Monterey’s lead had been cut to 17-12 with 51/2 minutes left in the first half.
“Time and again when you leave your defense on the field they’re going to get tired, and the offense doesn’t have to exert the same amount of energy as the defense has to,” Pearson said. “The more you keep them on the field the more tired they get and you saw that happen tonight.
“But we got the fumble late, too and got some breaks. We had to have some of them but you also have to take advantage of them and capitalize on them.”
The Monterey offense, however, answered quickly. Runs of 33 and 23 yards by Parker, who finished the first half with 121 yards on nine carries, put the Plainsmen in scoring position, On second and 18 after a holding penalty, Benton took the screen and went untouched into the end zone from 25 yards out, pushing the score to 24-12.
Monterey had one last shot at a score, going from its own 16 to the Odessa 38 with six seconds left in the period. Jacob Bartholomae hit Trey Rowe down the sidelines at the Odessa 5, and Rowe almost broke two tackles to get to the end zone but was stopped at the 3 as time expired.
From there it was holding the Bronchos at bay, which the Plainsmen did and now have a long week to prepare for El Paso Americas a week from Friday.
“It’s good,” Pearson said of the 2-0 start. “It feels a little bittersweet with the two days (of missed practice due to the short week), and we want to be better and cleaner in our execution. But that’s coming. Maybe with an extra day or two of practice this week we’ll be there.”
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MONTEREY 31, ODESSA 19
Odessa 0 12 7 0 — 0
Monterey 17 7 0 7 — 0
MON — Travon Benton 5 run (Davis Williamson kick)
MON — Byron Parker 2 run (Williamson kick); 9:00
MON — Williamson 35 FG; 5:20
ODE — Ryan Martinez 1 run (kick failed); 6:35
ODE — C.J. Eddison 14 run (pass failed); 5:37
MON —Benton 25 pass from Jacob Bartholomae (Williamson kick); 4:16
ODE — Martinez 5 run (Hector Lozano kick); 2:48
MON — Bartholomae 1 run (Williamson kick); 4:52
First downs 16 14
Rushes-yards 43-175 30-228
Passing yards 156 108
Comp.-att.-int. 15-31-1 4-10-1
Punts-avg. 4-39.0 4-39.6
Fumbles-lost 4-2 1-1
Penalties-yards 8-45 4-30
RUSHING: Odessa, C.J. Eddison 27-131, Ray Martinez 9-32, Hayden Keese 1-30, Eric Gavaldon 3-7, Zach Harris 2-1, Hector Lozano 1-(-26); Monterey, Byron Parker 14-122, Jacob Bartholomae 9-58, Travon Benton 7-48.
PASSING: Odessa, Martinez 15-30-1—156, Harris 0-1-0—0; Monterey, Bartholomae 4-10-1—108.
RECEIVING: Odessa, Harris 7-73, Eddison 3-44, Keese 2-19, Jakob Nunez 1-11, Trent Laake 1-4, Gavaldon 1-4; Monterey, Trey Rowe 1-35, John Fay 1-27, Benton 1-25, Parker 1-12.