ELDORADO — With Saturday’s 36-7 Black Diamond Conference rout of outmatched Edwards County, Eldorado clinched a playoff spot for the fifth straight year and seventh in its last eight seasons.
The Eagles might get to see what kind of playoff team they’ll be in their last two regular season games.
Eldorado (6-1, 6-1) hosts BDC co-leader Fairfield (7-0, 7-0) Friday night in its last home game, then closes the season at Johnston City in two weeks in what’s become one of the conference’s better rivalries. Win two and the Eagles will stay at home for the first round. Win one and they might get a home game. Lose both and they’ll go on the road for the first round.
By smoothly negotiating a potential “trap” game against the Lions (2-5, 2-5), Eldorado has positioned itself to at least share a third straight conference title.
“If you want to play and if you want to coach under pressure, which is what we want to do, it’s coming up,” first-year Eagles coach Joe Clark said.
Inheriting a well-stocked cupboard from Brandon Hampton, who won 46 games in his last seven years before departing for an assistant coach position at a Texas high school, Clark has kept the program’s identity intact and the machinery running.
Starting the game with a 20 mph wind in its face, Eldorado methodically marched 80 yards in 12 plays, all on the ground against a defense with eight defenders within four yards of the scrimmage line. Dawson Metten capped the drive with a 6-yard burst up the middle less than six minutes into the game.
Jacob Traxler (12 carries, 134 yards) made it 16-0 31 seconds into the second quarter with a 44-yard jaunt off right tackle. Connor Watt muscled in from the 1 with 4:06 left in the half to up the advantage to 24-0.
At that point, the Eagles had outgained Edwards County 220-7.
“Strength,” Lions coach Joe Rivers said. “They’re at the point we’re trying to get to. They’re just stronger than we are.”
As if to reinforce the point, Eldorado marched 51 yards with its initial possession of the third quarter. Traxler churned 12 yards up the middle at the 4:05 mark of the period to make it 30-0 and turn the game’s remainder into a race to zeroes on the clock.
Quarterback Cade Schnickler scored on a 1-yard sneak with 6:29 remaining for Edwards County, which lost tailback Cade Rivers (shoulder) on its first possession of the game. The Eagles’ second-team offense tacked on a touchdown in the last minute on a 31-yard run by Blakely Watt.
For the day, Eldorado rolled up 337 yards, all on the ground, and kept the Lions to 151 yards. Most of that happened after the game's competitive phase concluded .
“We controlled the line of scrimmage on both sides,” Clark said.