Parkland holds off late rally to slip past Austin 24-21

Photo by Mike Tipton, Story by Mark Saldana

EL PASO, Texas – Austin High School nearly pulls through in a nail biter game which almost came to a closer with only five minutes left in the game when Luis Rangel stripped the ball away from Parkland’s running back to return it for almost 80 yards to bring the Panthers all the way to the 4-yard-line!

Parkland High School started off strong in the first half with quarterback Gabriel Herrera having three straight touchdowns (two passing and one rushing) making it a 24-0 lead at halftime. Their offense was unstoppable to the Austin defense, Herrera had multiple targets all night with the phenomenal play calling from their coaches, the first touchdown of the game was a 74-yard pass  to Dwayne Ford Jr., the second touchdown a was a 48-yard pass to Donta Hayes and the third was a 4-yard quarterback sneak.

Austin being able to score at the end of the third quarter with a quarterback sneak from Daniel Orozco making it a three-score deficit, when the momentum suddenly shifted towards the Panthers side thanks to Luis Rangel’s 80-yard return on defense. The Panthers coming from behind as Orozco threw a 21-yard touchdown to Elijah Velazquez making it 24-13 after a missed PAT. The Austin defense not backing down as the Matadors did a quick three and out giving the ball back to the Panthers allowing them to score once more plus a 2-point conversion making it 24-21 with only 2 minutes left to play!

As you may guess, everyone was on their feet these last few minutes of the game, Parkland with another quick three and out giving Austin the opportunity to tie or win the game, but on 4th & 5 they decide to do a reverse play to make it an incomplete pass giving the ball back to the Matadors as the kneeled the ball to close out the game.

The Panthers didn’t give up, proving to everyone that a football game is not over until it is over! Our Speaking Rock player of the game was quarterback Gabriel Herrera who finished the game with a total of 224 yards and 3 touchdowns. Parkland moves to 2-0 as they take on Jefferson at home next week and Austin moving to 1-1 as they take on Socorro next week at the SAC.

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