Written by: Daniel Cortés Martínez
|Raptors RB Dan Ávila (No.3) | Credit: Ángel Santiago FootballProMX
Raptors 28-12 Eagles
The Raptors entered this game looking to wrap completely their division and get into the playoffs in great shape. That is exactly what happened, as they beat in illustrious form a diminished Eagles team that looked lost and overwhelmed almost the entire match. Raptors stand alone at the top of the Under Armour division and got their deserved ticket to post-season. Meanwhile, the Eagles are set to face a win-or-die match against the Condors next week.
The Eagles opened the hostilities with their offense trying to establish some kind of rhythm only to punt away the ball after a couple of first downs. The first points came on the side of the Raptors, which sustained a long series that were defined by two consecutive amazing diving catches (see the image above) courtesy of RB Dan Ávila, N. 3, for 40 yards and RB Alan Alcalá, N. 32. However, Eagles’ defense stepped up and DE Octavio Martinez, N. 98, sacked QB Bruno Márquez, N. 12, taking Raptors away of the red-zone and setting up for a Field Goal.
The Raptors defense had an spectacular game, as it was expected from this unit. LB Jonathan Murillo, N. 59, picked QB Joaquín Juárez, N. 16, on the next Eagles offensive series. Juárez threw a compromised toss that landed on Murillo’s hands; but Eagles’ defense stopped Raptors short of a TD as Márquez could not find any open receiver, and he was sacked by Luis Enrique Bautista, N. 37. That move obliged the Raptors to go for another FG at the end of the 1st quarter. Kudos to Borrego Barraza, N. 86, who took care of the kicking duties with perfect results as he only missed one blocked attempt.
|Raptors vs Eagles | Credit: Ángel Santiago FootballProMX
The Eagles miscues at offense continued on their next series. They were making use of the option plays without any success, because the Raptors had them very well studied. Juárez, N. 16, could not find time to connect with his receivers as he was facing heavy pressure. On a strange ball exchange between Juárez and his running back, they coughed up the dime and the fumble was recovered by Pablo Casas, N. 93, setting the Raptors close to midfield. Márquez, N. 12, unleashed his arm, and found chemistry with Iván García, N. 16, for a 20-yard gain; then on, he found García again for the first TD of the evening. The lizards had the control of the game with 13 points of advantage.
The “Red Birds” found some spark at offense when Juárez began to make associations with Guillermo Villalobos, N. 84. But the defense made the right adjustments, and cut their swing short of the red-zone, forcing them to set for a FG that would give the Eagles the first points of the game. The aggressive Raptors defense was constantly harassing Juárez, hitting and sacking him on a variety of times and preventing any big plays either with his legs or his arm. Raptors’ offense looked better in the second half, as Márquez was spreading the ball all around the field with García, N. 16; Eduardo Guadarrama, N. 88; Arturo Callejo, N. 15; and Dan Ávila, N. 3. The latter had a monstrous game in the air, as well as on the ground, serving as the main workhorse and all-purpose running back.
Then Márquez found Barraza, N. 86, on a 20-yard pass combined with Eagles bad tackling and Barraza’s ability to stay on his feet for the TD. The score: Raptors 19-6 Eagles. Raps’ defense didn’t slow down and continued to give problems to the Eagles – as the lizards offense carried on picking apart the Eagles secondary. Another fumble by the Eagles in the 4th quarter annihilated any opportunity for a comeback, but they got closer in the scoreboard with an awe-inspiring run by Juárez. Finally, Dan Ávila sealed the Eagles coffin with an incredible 55-yard run for the last TD of the evening. Raptors’ defense got themselves a feast as they closed the day with another interception by Leonardo Jaime, N. 28.
Now the Raptors will start thinking in the post-season, looking as strong candidates to take home the Tazón México trophy. On the other hand, the Eagles got themselves into a huge mess that can only be resolved with a win against the Condors on week 7 on a win-or-die contest in their season finale.