The Ysleta Indians and Hanks Knights tooks us on a thrilling roller coaster ride as they fought for a playoff spot in District 1-5A D1. They traded momentum, leads, and blows the entire game as Ysleta scored late to get the 42-38 victory.
The Hanks Knights struck first after picking off a Lucas Flores pass attempt in the first quarter with a wild tiptoe pick by Evan Perez. This led to a 26-yard touchdown pass by Aaron Molina to Ever Chavez for the early 7-0 lead. The Indians would answer back when Flores would connect with Giovanni Martinez on a screen pass that Martinez took 46 yards for the score, making it 7-7.
In the second quarter, Flores was intercepted a second time, when he got hit as he threw, by Aaron Gonzalez—who returned it to the six yard line. After the Ysleta defense held, Hanks would settled for the 22-yard field goal by Aaron Candelaria to get to 10-7. The Indians would close out the first half with a five yard Flores touchdown run to take the 14-10 halftime lead for the Indians.
Flores would find Sebastian Portillo for an eight yard touchdown to extend their lead to 21-10. The Knights would then strike quick on a four play, 66 yard drive that ended with a four yard run by Molina that got us to 21-17. Hanks would take over with two onside kick recoveries that gave them the lead on a 25-yard Molina pass to Candelaria, that made it 24-21; and a six yard Molina run that made it 31-21.
Flores would Martinez from 12 yards out early in the fourth quarter to make it 31-28. Molina then found Mykal Blanco—who had to sit out the first half after being ejected the week before—from five yards to extend their lead back to ten at 38-28. Dathon Loray would muff the ensuing kickoff that gave Hanks the ball back at the 16-yard line, and a huge opportunity to put the game away. The Indians defense would drive the Knights back with two sacks of Molina, setting up fourth and 24 after an incomplete pass on third down. Molina scrambled but only got to the 13-yard line—turning over the ball on downs.
On the next play, Flores found a wide open Martinez down the field—who had no defender near him- for an 87-yard touchdown and 38-35 score. Victor Chuca would then intercept Molina to set up the Indians’ game-winning drive. With 1:01 remaining in the game, Martinez would take the jet sweep for a two yard game-winning score, 42-38. Flores then entered into the defense and picked off Molina on the final play of the game to seal the victory and clinch a playoff spot for the Ysleta Indians.
Flores would finish with 283 passing yards and four scores, as well as 68 rushing yards and another score to be named our Speaking Rock Player of the Game. Martinez finished with seven catches for 197 yards and three scores—and was also a candidate for player of the game. Ysleta improves to 5-4, 2-2 in district play.
For Hanks, Molina had 217 passing yards and three scores; he would add 55 rushing yards and two touchdowns. Candelarialed the receivers with 8 receptions for 103 yards and one score. They drop to 4-5, 1-3 in district play. The Knights still have a chance to make the playoffs by defeating Riverside next week.
Sergio Robali Reporting