As the sun set behind the home stands at Jourdanton’s Indian Stadium on Friday night, there wasn’t an empty seat to be found on either the home side or the visitor’s side. Even the school bands had to make do with folding chairs on the track. Late arrivals for the 2021 edition of the Highway 97 rivalry game between the Pleasanton Eagles and Jourdanton Indians had to settle for standing along the fence line at field level.
By the time the Eagles and Indians burst through their respective inflatable tunnels the fence lines on either side had also filled up with fans. Before the teams kicked off there was a moment of silence to recognize the 20th anniversary of the terror attacks on Sept. 11, 2001. The members of both teams held small American flags.
At the north end of Indian Stadium there were 13 American flags in front of the photos of the 13 service members who were killed in the attack on the Kabul airport last month. These heroes were also recognized prior to the start of the game.
As for the game itself. The two teams were well balanced, but Pleasanton ended the night on the high end of the 42- 26 scoreline. It was the Eagles’ third win in the last four meetings with the Indians. Jourdanton won 35-7 in 2020.
“There was great effort on both sides of the ball by Pleasanton and Jourdanton,” Pleasanton Head Coach Stephen Liska said. “It was a good game with the energy and the fire of both communities. A good rivalry game.”
Even though Pleasanton finished 16 points better than Jourdanton, the rest of the stats were much closer. Pleasanton racked up 419 yards of total offense. Jourdanton had 406 yards on offense. Of the 48 minutes played, Jourdanton had the ball for 24:29 compared to Pleasanton’s 23:31.
“Our boys keep fighting and we can’t catch a break,” Jourdanton Head Coach Darrell Andrus said. “I can think of two drives on offense where we didn’t come away with points and you can’t do that against a good team like Pleasanton. You got to score when you are moving the ball.”
The Eagles outgained the Indians on the ground, 157 to 114, but the Indians had 30 more passing yards, 292-262, than the Eagles. Sean Ramos accounted for all of the passing yards for Pleasanton on 13 completed passes. Clyde Schuchart, in his first start of the season, was responsible for all of Jourdanton’s passing yards. Ramos also threw for four touchdowns and Schuchart threw for three touchdowns.
“We had good tempo in the first half,” Schuchart said. “I think we struggled a little bit as a team in the second half.”
The Eagles defense finished the game with two interceptions. The Indians defense had an interception and two fumble recoveries.
On the ground Juan Lerma was the leading rusher for Jourdanton with 102 yards on 18 attempts and one touchdown in the second quarter. Pleasanton’s ground attack was led by Joel Arevalo’s 101 yards on 19 carries. Arevalo also scored a touchdown in the second quarter.
Luke Tapp led the Indians with eight catches for 144 yards and a touchdown. Lerma caught three passes for 43 yards and a touchdown. Caden Fuselier had one catch for 37 yards. Nick Cordova came down with three passes for 34 yards and a touchdown.
Jayden Palacios led the Eagles with five catches for 160 yards and two touchdowns. Diego Luna had three catches for 55 yards. Issac Henrichson racked up 26 yards and a touchdown on three catches. Jayce Krauskopf caught two passes for 21 yards and a touchdown.
“We prepared all week for this game,” Palacios said. “We all did a very good job of executing tonight.”
After Jourdanton was unable to score on their first drive of the game, Pleasanton only needed five plays to score their first touchdown. It came on a 28-yard pass from Ramos to Palacios with 3:24 left in the opening quarter.
The Indians answered on their next drive, going 83 yards in 13 plays before scoring on a 22-yard pass from Schuchart to Tapp. The Indians elected to go for a two-point conversion, but the pass by Schuchart was incomplete and Jourdanton trailed 7-6 with 11:47 left in the second quarter.
Pleasanton went ahead 14-6 less than a minute later at the 10:52 mark when Ramos and Palacios connected again, this time on a 57-yard touchdown pass.
After Jourdanton punted on their next drive the Eagles pushed their lead up to 21-6 with 9:08 left in the second quarter when Arevalo ran for a 37-yard touchdown.
Jourdanton got back to within single digits at the 3:15 mark of the second quarter when Lerma scored on a four-yard run. The Indians went for two, but were unsuccessful.
After the teams traded interceptions toward the end of the first half the Eagles went up 28-12 with a 13-yard touchdown pass from Ramos to Henrichson in the final seconds of the second quarter.
The Eagles’ Michael Castillo accounted for the only touchdown by either team in the third quarter when he scored on a one-yard run at the 4:51 mark to put Pleasanton ahead 35-12.
Jourdanton cut the deficit to 35-18 less than two minutes into the fourth quarter. Schuchart completed a 15-yard touchdown pass to Lerma with 10:19 left in the fourth. The Indians went for two, but once again their pass attempt was unsuccessful.
Pleasanton scored their final touchdown of the night with 2:48 remaining when Ramos and Krauskopf worked together on an 11-yard pass.
Jourdanton got their final touchdown with 0:11 left in the game when Schuchart completed a 22- yard pass to Cordova. The Indians finally converted a two-point conversion as Shuchart’s attempt was caught in the end zone by Tapp.
Both teams will host home games this Friday night. Jourdanton (0-3) will host Eagle Pass Winn for a 7:30 kickoff at Indian Stadium. Pleasanton (2-1) hosts Devine at Eagle Stadium. Kickoff in Pleasanton is scheduled for 7 p.m.