The Mexico 5th grade Optimist football team had a tall task ahead of them on Saturday, October 16, 2023 when they faced Hannibal for the North Central Football League Championship on Saturday, October 14, 2023.
Just last week Mexico was 5-0 when they faced Hannibal and ended up losing 26-0.
Mexico and Hannibal had the rematch and the brawl-for-it-all on Saturday and the outcome was different this time.
Head coach Michael Eldridge says “We took the football and just so happened to score on the first play.
We implemented a wildcat play, out A’Mirreon Lawson at quarterback ran him off the right side and he hit the hole and the rest is history.
We forced them 6 plays and a punt on their first possession.
It was a stale mate for the next 10 minutes of game time.
We had a 3rd and 14 at 35 that was a crucial point in the game.
Gavyn Miller threw a pass across the middle to Lawson who went up over two kids to make the catch.
Two plays later Hunter Loyd took a run up the middle to go up 13-0 in the 2nd.
Hannibal scored with about 14 seconds left in the half so we went into halftime 13-6.
We started the second half on defense.
They were moving the ball decently, we got a big tackle for loss on 2nd down.
The next play was the first turnover of the game as A’Mirreon Lawson picked off the quarterback and returned it about 40 yards.
Only for us to botch a handoff and give the ball right back.
We held them to a punt.
The next drive Connor Eldridge completed two back-to-back passes to Gavyn Miller that totaled 50 yards and Lawson capped off the drive with a 17 yard TD run.
Going into the 4th quarter we were up 25-6.
We forced a turnover on down with about 8 minutes left in the game and that drive and the final punch was made with an Eldridge Boot for a 15 yard touchdown run.
Hannibal scored on their final drive making the score 31-13 to end the game.
Lawson had 2 rushing touchdowns.
Loyd had 2 rushing touchdowns.
Eldridge had one.
We completed 4 of 5 passes.
Our defense controlled the line of scrimmage and our offense was able to control the clock.
We took an idea from Hannibal’s game plan the prior week against us and that was control the time of possession.
On top of that we needed to Contain the edges and control the line of scrimmage and the boys did just that.
I’ve been coaching these boys for 3 years now and this is by far the biggest team effort and team win I’ve been a part of.
Yes we put up points.
But I can’t say enough about our defense and how they accepted the challenge of a team that dominated them just 8 days prior.
We converted our offense from speed to ground and pound over 8 days to wear their defense out and it worked.
They may only be 10 and 11 years old, but they were able to take in a whole new offense, a completely different defensive scheme over 3 days and 4 hours of practice and execute it to almost perfection.
Their drive and dedication to the game of football is unmatched.
They faced adversity and came back 8 days later and accepted the challenge to come out on top as League Champions against another team that’s never been beaten.
Beyond proud of this team and the growth they made this year!!”
Mexico is coached by Michael Eldridge, Clint Feger, Avion Williams, A. J. Logan and Shannon Dorsey.