East County Sports

Scots edge RedHawks on late safety

Diego Gallego dives to trip up the RedHawks' Mannix Gonzalez during their Desert League opener in El Centro on Saturday. / CAMILO GARCIA JR.

2021 EAST COUNTY PREP FOOTBALL

 

EastCountySports.com staff report

 

EL CENTRO – The Mountain Empire RedHawks battled to the finish once again on Saturday night but came up two points short of the Vincent Memorial Scots, 16-14, in the Desert League opener for both teams played at Southwest High school.

The game was decided by a safety in the fourth quarter.

With 5:31 left in the game at the score tied at 14-all, the Redhawks had a snap go over the punter’s head. Mountain Empire was able to chase the ball down in the end zone but not before the Scots had downed the recovering player to secure the key points of the game.

The Scots scored with two-and-a-half minutes left in the first quarter when junior Armando Apodaca, mostly a receiver, scored on a 4-yard run to cap a 10-play, 73-yard drive led by sophomore quarterback Jacobo Elias accounted for all but five yards.

In the third quarter, Elias fumbled after taking a snap from his own 5, and Redhawk defensive lineman Lukas Spencer recovered the ball and ran in from a couple of yards for a touchdown to tie the game at 7-all.

Spencer, along with teammate Landon Laskey, both had a pair of sacks in the contest.

The Scots regained the lead with 1:35 left in the third when Elias scrambled and then passed for a 59-yard touchdown deep to Apodaca.

Mountain Empire came right back down and tied the game on the final play of the third quarter when senior running back Larry Clark scored from 5 yards out.

Clark rushed 15 times for 79 yards, while he also had three tackles and a forced fumble on defense.

“The whole defense played well all game,” Mountain Empire coach Ricky Prince said. “We had two mistakes on special teams.”

Vincent Memorial caught the RedHawks off guard on a critical play, turning what appeared to be a fourth-down punt into a long pass completion for a first down to extend a key drive.

Vincent Memorial (4-2, 1-0 Desert) won its fourth straight, while Mountain Empire (2-4 overall, 0-1 Desert) lost to the Scots for the third consecutive season.

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