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Goddard runs away with season opener

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Goddard senior Dalton Bowles, moved Friday night from the quarterback position to running back, looks for a hole against Capital’s defense. (Shawn Naranjo Photo)

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Some big fourth-down conversions, a touchdown run featuring the open-field speed of senior Diego Miranda and personnel changes in the backfield propelled the Goddard Rockets to a 19-6 win over Capital Friday night at the Wool Bowl to open the 2017 season.

The Rockets made a quarterback change in the first quarter, moving junior quarterback Dalton Bowles to the backfield, putting Miranda in slot position, and lining up sophomore Robert Aragon behind center. Head coach Chris White said the personnel changes were intended to mix up the tempo of the Rocket running attack.
“It wasn’t really much to do with the quarterback position honestly, just a different running style,” White said. “Sometimes you’ve got to move your guys around and see if you can find a little bit different matchup.”
The Jaguars threatened to get on the board first, when late in the first quarter senior quarterback Cisco Leos tossed a bullet downfield to senior Lucas McNatt who dropped what might have been a 50-yard touchdown. But the drive stalled, and Capital elected to punt on fourth down.
Early in the second quarter, the Rockets, after the QB change, marched from their own 11-yard line deep into Capital territory, thanks to several pitches to Miranda for first downs.
On 2nd and 6 at the Capital 25-yard line, Aragon put up a pass as he was being hit, resulting in an interception by Capital senior Estevan Segura.
“Obviously, we didn’t execute very well offensively, but the kids did real well grinding, getting first downs and overcoming a lot of mistakes,” White said.
The Jaguars drove to midfield, but their drive stalled again, resulting in another punt.
“Defense made stops and make tackles, so I was real proud of the way they played,” White said. “Really, defense just set us up well with field position. That was a big part of it I thought.”
Miranda took the punt along the sideline, and with a quick cutback, picked up a 30-yard return. An ineligible man downfield call against Capital tacked on another 15 yards, setting the Rockets up at the Capital 22-yard line.
On 3rd and goal, Bowles took a pitch to the right side into the end zone to make 6-0 Goddard with 1:33 left in the first half. The left-footed extra point by sophomore J.P. Wieser made it 7-0.
The Rockets, receiving the kickoff to start the second half, threatened to score on their first possession of the third quarter, thanks in part to a 4th and 7 pass from Aragon to senior Ryan Nunez that kept the drive alive near midfield.
“We did move the sticks well several times, had a couple of big catches by Ryan Nunez, the backside tight end kind of sneaking in there,” White said. “He’s kind of big lineman that we converted to tight end. He’s got soft hands. So he did a nice job, a real nice job catching the ball.”
But on 3rd and 11 at the Capital 32-yard line, Aragon threw deep, resulting in another interception, this time by Capital’s Isaiah Baldanado.

However, Bowles returned the favor, making an interception of his own on the defensive side.
The Rockets made the most of the turnover, starting another drive deep in their own territory at their 9-yard line.
After a succession of first downs, the Rockets were in business at midfield, when Miranda showcased his open-field running skills.
On 1st and 10 near midfield, Miranda took the handoff and ran into traffic quickly on the left side. But he broke away from the pile, shook a tackle and scampered down the left sideline for a 53-yard touchdown run, distancing himself from defenders as he got closer to the end zone for the most exciting play of the night.
The snap on the extra point attempt was fumbled, resulting in an hurried and unsuccessful pass for Goddard’s two-point conversion.
On their next drive, another inception thrown by Leos would lead to another Goddard touchdown. This time, Aragon made the pick on the defensive side, setting the Rockets up at the Capital 40-yard line late in the third quarter.
Early in the fourth quarter, on a 3rd and 5 at the Capital 17-yard line, Miranda took the rock again to the left side, broke a tackle, and struck pay dirt for Goddard’s third running touchdown on the night to make it 19-0. A fumbled snap thwarted a two-point conversion attempt.
The Jaguars got on the board in the fourth quarter after a 65-yard drive that was almost stopped at the goal line by the Rocket defense.
On 1st and goal from the 1-yard line, Leos handed off the football while being wrapped up, but Capital was kept inches away from the end zone.
On 2nd and inches, Leos was stopped on a QB keeper.
On 3rd and goal at the 1-yard line, Leos lost the football, but recovered it for a loss of five yards.
On 4th and goal, Leos passed to senior Abraham Sanchez in the end zone to make it 19-6 with 2:04 left to play. Leos was stuffed on the two-point conversion.
“I thought Capital was a scrappy squad,” White said. “Hats off to Capital because they’re about as tough as you could expect them to be.”
The Rockets ended Capital’s final drive on another interception made by Bowles.
“I was just proud of the kids for scrapping and hanging in there,” White said. “That’s kind of going to have to be our forte this year, we’re going to have to be scrappers for sure.”
Goddard travels to Piedra Vista next Friday, when the Roswell Coyotes will open their season hosting Gadsen at the Wool Bowl.

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