El Paso, Texas — In a win and you’re in situation, the Eastlake defense and special teams’ units stepped up, made plays, and forced Bel Air into costly mistakes in a playoff clinching season finale win at the SAC Thursday night.
The 49-14 win gives the Falcons a 2-3 district record, and the fourth and final playoff in 1-5A DI, giving the young program their sixth straight playoff appearance under J.J. Calderon.
This was a close one early, as a pair of Eastlake touchdown drives put the Falcons ahead 13-7 at the end of the first quarter, and Bel Air’s defense scrapped away trying to keep things close..
Bel Air’s score came on their third play of the game as sophomore quarterback Adrian Parsons found Dominic Bejanaro on a 75-yard bomb that tied things at 7-7 midway through the first quarter.
From there the Falcons scored 21 straight points, including a short field scoring drive that put them ahead 28-7 with 6:08 left until halftime. Two special teams miscues in the second quarter ended up being a difference in the end.
Although Bel Air was able to get back in the game with their back against the wall right before the half.
Adam Rodriguez would intercept Daine Kirtley inside his own endzone and returned the pick 35 yards for a Bel Air first down, shutting down a possible 28-point halftime deficit.
Instead, Bel Air mounted their lone lengthy drive of the game, using the run game with Rodriguez punching in the 2-yard score he helped set up with interception to make it 28-14 Eastlake at halftime.
But from there it was all Eastlake who has won a playoff game in each of the last four years.
Devon Pinero was the Casa Nissan Player of the game, he had several tackles, along with a sack, 58 yards rushing, and he also pinned Bel Air inside their own 20-yard line four times via punts.
His 13-yard touchdown run with 4:46 left in the third quarter pretty much sealed the deal as the Eastlake defense put this away in the final quarter.
The Falcons racked up five sacks, and held the Highlanders to just 81 rushing yards, and 245 total yards of offense.
Next up is the bi-district round for Eastlake, where they are projected to take on Lubbock Coronado in the first round of the Texas State Playoffs.