25 Days of Champions -- 1991 Fort Hancock

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25 Days of Champions -- 1991 Fort Hancock

Postby granger » Mon Dec 18, 2017 12:48 pm

BY LEMAN SAUNDERS

In the midst of an epic win streak and having won the previous three state championships, Fort Hancock was a force to be reckoned with, and in 1991, it was business as usually, as the Mustangs would win their fourth-straight state title and fifth overall, adding 14 games to their win streak in the process.

The Mustangs had a pretty easy time of the regular season, going 8-0 in district play (they played every team twice) and winning their two non-district games against El Paso private schools by a combined score of 107-6. Their toughest game was the first district matchup with Dell City, where they won by a 76-32 score. As was the case in many season around this time, their district had a first round bye in the playoffs.

In the playoffs, The Fort easily beat Wellman in second round, 45-0. In their quarterfinal game, Lazbuddie gave the Mustangs defense a scare by scoring a season-high 45 points, but Vicente Ramirez had an amazing game offensively, rushing for 343 yards and four touchdowns on 20 carries. He also caught three touchdown passes from quarterback/spreadback Art Nava, and returned a kickoff 80 yards, for his eighth touchdown. The Mustang defense picked off four passes, stopping Lazbuddie from making the game any closer. In the end, the Mustangs survived, 65-45. In the semifinals, they defeated Sands, 58-40, moving on to face Christoval in the state championship game.

The Christoval Cougars had a bumpy start to the season, going 1-2 in their first three games, but then they reeled off 11-straight wins. In the playoffs Christoval beat May 66-21 in bi-district, won a high-scoring shootout in a second round game with Rochester, 89-71, avenged an early season loss to Harper in the quarterfinals, 78-38, and defeated Zephyr 44-22 in the semifinals. This would be Christoval’s fourth state title game appearance, but the Cougars had never won one, and this state game would be a rematch of the 1990 state game that Fort Hancock won, 66-17.

State Championship Game – Saturday Dec 14th 6:30pm in Wink
Fort Hancock received the opening kickoff and on their first play from scrimmage a busted double-reverse and fumble resulted in a large loss for the Mustangs. Two plays later though, Vicente Ramirez picked up great yardage avoiding tackles in the backfield before dashing his way down for a first down. Then a few plays later Ramirez threw to Art Nava on a short route and Nava ran the rest of the way for a 15-yard touchdown. Jesus Cordero’s kick was good and with 7:42 left in the first quarter, The Fort led, 8-0.

Christoval came out in a tight, balanced line set against the Mustangs 4-2 defense. On their first play, the Cougars gained good yardage with a screen pass for a first down. However, after two short runs, the Cougars fumbled the ball in the backfield on third down, scrambled to recover the ball, and then threw incomplete. On fourth down, the Cougars went for it out of a shotgun formation, picked up some good yardage, but was forced out of bounds short of the marker and turned the ball over on downs.

On the next play, Fort Hancock ran a hook-and-ladder as Nava shuttle-passed to his upback, who ran toward the sideline gaining 10-yards before pitching the ball back to Nava, who ran the rest of the way for a 53-yard touchdown play. The PAT again was good and The Fort led 16-0, with 5:52 left in the first quarter.

After a short return, Christoval began their drive at their own 29, and on their first play, running back Andy Young took the pitch on a sweep, broke a tackle, and was gone for a 51-yard touchdown run. The PAT was no good and just like that, Christoval was back in the game 16-6, with 5:36 left in the first.

Fort Hancock began their next drive at their own 19. Good runs by Ramirez and a big gain on a pass from Nava to Cordero and the Mustangs were back in business with a first-and-goal at the eight. Ramirez scored with ease on a run on the next play. Cordero’s kick was good and with 3:28 left in the first the score was, 24-6.

Trying to power their way with the running game, Christoval could not move the ball against the hard-hitting Mustang defense and again were held on downs after going four-and-out.

Fort Hancock took over on the Cougar 39-yard line. A run on a reverse gained good yardage, followed by a short run from Ramirez and a short gain on a pass play. The first quarter ended with the Fort driving up 24-6.

Facing a third-and-goal situation, a pass was dropped in the end zone, forcing The Fort to go for it on fourth down. But again, this time on fourth-and-goal from the 10, another pass bounced off the receiver’s hands, handing the ball back to Christoval.

Christoval would turn the ball back over to the Mustangs, when Cordero made a big tackle on third down for no gain, followed by a sack on fourth. Taking over at the Cougar 20-yard line, Ramirez ran the ball down to the three-yard line on the first play and on the next play, finished the job, scoring from three yards out. They missed their first PAT of the game and their lead was extended to 30-6, with 8:08 left in the second.

The Cougars moved the ball down field behind great running from Julian Fava and Young, and a long catch by Jack Jones, taking them down inside the red zone. However, a 13-yard sack turned into an even bigger loss when Christoval received and unsportsmanlike penalty, backing them up to their own 39.

Now facing fourth-and-very long, the Cougars fumbled and fell on it in the backfield for yet another loss, turning the ball back over to Fort Hancock at the Cougar 36.

Facing a second-and-goal, Ramirez took a direct snap, scrambled around in the backfield avoiding a good rush by Fava, flicked the ball toward a teammate in the end zone, only to have the ball deflected and caught by another diving teammate, Jesus Cordero, for a two-yard touchdown reception. The kick was blocked and the Mustangs led 36-6 with less than three minutes remaining in the half.

In their ensuing possession, Christoval was unable to get things going quick enough to score, again losing yardage due to a fumble and several tackles in the backfield, and the first half ended with The Fort leading, 36-6.

Christoval received the second half kickoff, starting off at their own 25-yard line. The Cougars only managed to gain four yards and they were forced to punt.

Running mostly sweeps with Ramirez, Fort Hancock marched downfield with ease. At the one-yard line, Ramirez was virtually sacked for a loss, but he quickly shuttled the ball forward at the last second to Nava for the score. The PAT was good, bringing the score to 44-6, with 7:06 left in the third.

Again, the Mustang defense forced Christoval to punt, only allowing two yards to be gained. The punt placed Fort Hancock at their own 15. A clipping penalty, a short gain, and a sack for a loss pinned the Cougars back at their own four-yard line, as the Cougar defense began to show signs of life.

The Cougars gained good yardage on a Ramirez reception but failed to convert on fourth down, turning the ball back over to Christoval at the Mustang 27.

A few plays later, Young took a pitch on a sweep and was hit hard in the backfield by two Mustangs, who failed to wrap up and bring Young down, he stumbled back, regained his balance and ran 23-yards for his second rushing touchdown of the night. Jason Duke’s PAT kick was good and the score was now 44-14, with 2:54 left in the third.

The Cougar onside kick was unsuccessful and The Fort started their next drive with great field position. Using their passing game, the Mustangs moved the ball down to the one. Nava then hit Cordero for his second touchdown reception of the game. His kick was good, and with 1:44 left in the third quarter, Fort Hancock led, 52-14.

Christoval’s offense was once again stopped on a fourth-and-long situation and the third quarter ended one play into Fort Hancock’s next drive.

Despite some nice gains, a fumble in the backfield almost handed the ball back to Christoval and the Mustangs faced a fourth-and-long of their own. Going for it, Ramirez found Scott Bean in the end zone for a 25-yard touchdown pass. The PAT was blocked and The Fort was just one score away from the mercy rule, 58-14, with 7:57 left in the game.

Chistoval almost ran the ensuing kickoff back for a touchdown, taking it all the way down to the Mustang 23. But thanks to a big sack by Nava on third down, the Cougars turned the ball over on downs, when a pass to Young didn’t quite gain enough yards for the first, and Fort Hancock took over at their own 11.

On the first play of the drive, Ramirez zig-zagged through defenders for a 40-yard run. However, on the next play, the Mustangs fumbled and Christoval recovered at their own 19. The Cougars were unable to capitalize on the turnover, unfortunately, and had to punt the ball away four plays later. The punt was a beauty and was downed at the Mustang two-yard line.

On the second play of the drive, Nava found space and taking the ball down to the 30 on a nice 28-yard run. Then on the next play, Ramirez hit Joe Rodriguez down the sideline, who, with a defender on his back, powered his way all the way down to the two-yard line, for a first-and-goal and a 48-yard gain. A couple of plays later, Nava took the pitch in a spread formation right up the middle, and with a Christoval defender wrapped around his ankle, hopped his way into the end zone, mercifully sealing the game, 64-14, with 2:42 left on the game clock.

The Fort outgained Christoval, 512-202, and had 24 first downs to Christoval’s six. Vicente Ramirez shimmied his way around defenders all night, rushing for 229 yards and two touchdowns on 18 carries. He also was an efficient 10-for-14 passing for 99 yards and four touchdown passes. Art Nava also threw for 109 yards and a touchdown, rushed for 74 yards and two touchdowns and had 38 yards and two touchdowns receiving. Brent Henderson also had a good game defensively and was a key blocker for Nava and Ramirez on offense. . Jesus Cordero had a good game defensively with several tackles for a loss, and caught two touchdown passes as well as a few other big catches on offense. Andy Young gained good yardage for the Cougars in the loss with 147 yards rushing on 19 carries and their only two touchdowns

*Notes*
-
-I used the box score from the San Angelo Standard Times and El Paso newspapers for stats and also reviewed the game film.
-The El Paso Times reported the state game attendance at 3,800.
-The win in the state game was Fort Hancock’s 57th-straight win and they would go on to win 70-straight, which is still the state record.

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Re: 25 Days of Champions -- 1991 Fort Hancock

Postby Leman Saunders » Thu Feb 22, 2018 1:11 am

Here is the Game film of that 1991 State game
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=suhTKTnm0H4&t=650s
(subscribe to the youtube channel to get updates when more vintage six-man films are added!)
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