El Dorado came into its matchup with Clearwater having been shut out in its first two games of the season. The Wildcats came out looking like a different team in their first home game of the season as they defeated Clearwater 25-21 in a nail biter that came down to the final minutes.
El Dorado received the opening kickoff and marched the ball all the way down to the Clearwater 15 before getting stopped on 4th and 2. The Wildcats forced Clearwater to go three-and out on their opening drive and again began moving the ball efficiently before Cody Wittenberg was picked off in the red zone. On the ensuing drive, El Dorado again forced Clearwater to punt after just three plays. Neither team was able to get on the board in the first quarter.
The Wildcats put together a long 12-play, 76-yard drive that was capped off by a 22-yard touchdown run by quarterback Cody Wittenberg with 4:29 left in the half for the Wildcats first score of the season. The entire team appeared to breathe a sigh of relief as the Wildcats were finally able to get on the board. After a missed extra point, El Dorado led 6-0.
With less than two minutes in the half, Clearwater had to send out their punt team to try to pin El Dorado deep in their own territory. After a bad snap, Hunter Armijo was able to break through and block the punt. Braden Morgan scooped it up and returned it all the way to the four yard line. Three plays later, with 11 seconds left, Cody Wittenberg punched it in from the one yard line to give El Dorado the 12-0 lead heading into the locker room.
Clearwater came out looking like a completely different team in the second half as they scored 21 unanswered points. The Indians started began their comeback on their second drive of the half, as they went 58 yards in just five plays for their first touchdown. Their next drive consisted of five plays and another touchdown through the air and gained a 15-12 lead after a 2-point conversion.
The Indians scored again early in the fourth quarter to extend the lead to 21-12 with 10:39 left in the game.
El Dorado never hung their heads, but instead drove down the field and into Clearwater territory where Wittenberg found Kaden Clites down the field. Clites spun off of a defender and took it to the end zone to cut the Clearwater lead to 21-19.
After both offenses stalled on their next possessions, Clearwater had the ball in El Dorado territory with under three minutes left in the game. All the Indians needed to do was pick up a couple first downs and melt the clock.
On third down, the Wildcats made a heads-up play as a defender ripped the ball from the Clearwater ball-carrier and Kyle Bobbitt came away with the ball for El Dorado. Bobbitt showed off his speed as he returned it 70 yards for the score to give El Dorado the 25-21 lead with under two minutes in the game.
As Clearwater tried to put together a game-winning drive, the Wildcat defense shut them down and Cody Wittenberg, who accounted for all three offensive touchdown for the Wildcats, came up with an interception to seal the Wildcats first win of the season.
“I’m so proud of the kids.” said El Dorado head coach Bill Shaw after his first win as El Dorado head coach.
“We were doing so well in the first half, and then the third quarter we could not muster a thing offensively. They had prepared hard for the week. we feel like coach Vincent did a good job getting read for the single-wing. More importantly, the kids found a way to win a ball game. I told them at the end, that’s going to have huge carry-over for the rest of the season.”
The Wildcats improve to 1-2 with the win and will continue their season next Friday as Harmon will travel from Kansas City to take on the Wildcats on their homecoming night.