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October 26, 2013
Senior Analyst, TheOldCoach.com
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LAREDO - The Laredo United Longhorns (6-2, 4-0) kept alive their hopes for the District 29-5A title with a convincing 59-12 win over the Del Rio Rams (3-6, 2-3) at the United ISD Student Activity Center on Saturday night. The Longhorns offense was paced by senior quarterback Derek Esparza who threw for 350 yards and four touchdowns, while also rushing for 115 yards and a touchdown.
United started the game out with a bang as on Del Rio's first play from scrimmage senior safety Gabriel Narvaez picked off Del Rio sophomore quarterback Steven Salinas and returned it 28 yards for a score to put the 'Horns up 7-0. The fireworks continued as Del Rio quickly answered on their first play of the ensuing possession as senior tailback Emilio Villareal broke loose for a 75 yard touchdown run to make it 7-6 United after the PAT failed. After kicking a field goal to go up 10-6, United's defense stepped up and held Del Rio on downs on the next possession. From that point forward the game was all United as the game seemed to shift completely.
Esparza began his tear with a second quarter scoring toss of 28 yards to Zachary Williams to make it 17-6 United. Del Rio made their last push on the ensuing drive as Villareal, who topped 200 rushing yards on the night broke loose for a 74 yard run to cut the lead to 17-12 as the two point try failed for the Rams.
The United offense by this time was rolling as they scored on their last two possessions of the half as Esparza scored on a seven yard run and Esayas Paulson added a four yard scamper, the first of his two scores to put the Longhorns up 31-12 at the half.
The second half was all UHS as after Del Rio tried an onside kick to open the third, the Longhorns quickly made the Rams pay. On their first play of the half Esparza hooked up with Williams for a 54 yard catch and run and a big 38-12 Laredo United lead. Esparza would throw two more long touchdowns in the third quarter as he hooked up with Erik Corona for a 78 yard scoring toss and then he found Jordan Herrera for a 54 yard touchdown and after three United was cruising at 52-12.
The fourth quarter was essentially garbage time as United focused on the run game and put several backups in the game, Paulson on the first play of the fourth scored his second touchdown of the night for the final margin of 59-12. Del Rio still has an outside shot at the playoffs, they must beat Eagle Pass at home next week and hope to come out on top in a tiebreaker. Laredo United will visit Eagle Pass to take on EP Winn next week as they gear up for their week ten showdown with rival Laredo Alexander which likely will be for the 29-5A title.