By Steven Howard October 30, 2022
EL PASO, TEXAS -- With an opportunity to secure the District 1-6A Title on the line, #1 Pebble Hills High School went out and took care of business. With a 38 - 14 victory of then #4 ranked Eastlake, the Spartans are going to the post season and will be the #1 Seed coming out of District 1-6A with an opportunity to host a home playoff game here in El Paso.
Early in the season (18 September 2022 to be exact), we boldly predicted that Pebble Hills was our prediction to be the 1-6A Champion. With a log jam in the middle of the district for the 3rd and 4th playoff spots (Eastwood has secured one spot the question is will it be a 2-4 seed in the end. A victor this week and they lock up the #2 Seed and a 1st round home playoff game). With one game left in the regular season; Eastlake (6 - 3, 5 - 2), Franklin (5 - 4, 4 - 3), Americas (4 - 5, 4 - 3), and El Dorado (5 - 4, 3 - 4) all still have an opportunity for post season play.
Going into this season, we felt that if the Pebble Hills Spartans could remain healthy, this could be a special team here in the Borderland. And thus far, Coach Mark Torres and his staff had done an outstanding job of keeping their team sharp and most importantly healthy. Health has been an issue for the Spartans over the last two seasons, and in our opinion has kept this group from reaching their full potential.
Lead by Junior QB Gael Ochoa who cut down his turnovers significantly this season (only 3 INTs through 9 games compared to 11 during his Sophomore campaign). Along with an improved offensive line and a stout defense, the Spartans have shared the offensive burden and taken a lot of pressure off of their signal caller. This has cut down on his risk by minimizing his carries as a ball carrier to preserve his health and to keep him on the field and under center.
With eight (8) rushers with rushing TDs, Pebble Hills' ball control offense along with a stout defense (19 sacks, 90 QB hurries, 14 Ints) has been a receipe for success and a key to their impressive season thus far and the 1-6A District Title and a first round playoff home game.