Coronado’s first-half offense got the lead, and its second-half defense secured the win.

Mustangs quarterback Sawyer Robertson threw for two touchdowns and ran for another, and the Mustangs defense came within about a minute of pitching a second-half shutout in a 44-27 victory over Odessa on Thursday night at PlainsCapital Park at Lowrey Field.

After giving up 20 points and 227 yards in the first half, the Mustangs (1-2) allowed just 136 yards in the second half and forced three second-half turnovers, one of which led to the game-clinching touchdown on a 55-yard interception return for a touchdown by Imari Jones with just under 7 minutes left in the game.

It sealed what turned out to be a defensive battle in the second half. Coronado had just two first downs, one of which came on a 68-yard catch and run by Jon Hernandez with 8:42 to play that capped an eight-catch, 173-yard performance by the senior receiver. Robertson finished with 319 passing yards and two touchdowns, and he also ran for a score in the first half.

The second half defensive outburst was a stark contrast to the first half.

Somewhat resembling the score, the game couldn’t have been much more even through the first two quarters. Even though they ran 16 fewer plays, the Mustangs outgained the Bronchos in total yardage, 256-227 in the first half, utilizing its passing game almost exclusively to hit some big plays while Odessa grinded out drives.

Robertson was an efficient 15 of 19 passing for 214 yards and a touchdown while also running for a score. Odessa, meanwhile, rushed for 124 of its yardage in the first half, and Miranda complimented the running game with three touchdown passes.

The game started horribly for Coronado as Will Boyles fumbled after making a catch on the first play of the game. Odessa wasted little time in cashing in on the turnover. After a 40-yard keeper by Miranda, he found Nathan Calvery for an 8-yard touchdown to put the Bronchos up 6-0.

But Coronado was unfazed by the bad start. The Mustangs needed just six plays to go 41 yards to tie the score on an 18-yard touchdown pass to Jon Hernandez just four minutes into the game.

Odessa, however, put together the game’s most impressive drive, going 99 yards in 16 plays and eating up the final 8 minutes of the first quarter. Miranda found Ameron Alvarez from 39 yards out on the first play of the second quarter to put the Bronchos back up 13-7 just 9 seconds into the second quarter.

From there, however, the quarter belonged to the Mustangs.

Robertson hit four of five pass attempts on a six-play drive, and Charlie Robinson scored on a direct snap from the Wildcat formation for a 2-yard touchdown that tied the game at 13.

The Mustangs forced the Bronchos to punt on their next drive, then took the lead with Cooper Hamilton drilling a 24-yard field goal with 6:30 left in the first half to put Coronado up, 16-13.

Sensing momentum, Coronado perfectly executed an onside kick, with Hamilton recovering at the Odessa 43, and three plays after Robertson scrambled for a 23-yard touchdown run to make it 23-13 with 5:45 left in the first half.

Odessa got to its 34 on its next drive, but on third-and-11, Miranda was picked off on a deep ball by Ke’Vondrick Carr, who returned the pick to the Odessa 35. On the next play, Robinson took the direct snap, lateralled to Robertson lined up wide right, and Robertson found Hernandez all alone in the end zone for the touchdown to push the Coronado lead to 30-13.

Odessa then got a key score right before halftime. Two plays after a pass interference on Coronado gave Odessa the ball inside the Mustang red zone, Miranda found J.C. Ramirez on the slant for a 16-yard touchdown pass with nine seconds left before halftime, pulling Odessa to within 30-20 with a chance to further narrow the lead when the Bronchos got the ball to start the second half.

Player of the Game

Coronado Team Defense

It would be easy to single out a player for this, but Coronado doesn’t win this game without the plays made on defense and special teams. While the Mustangs held Odessa scoreless in the second half until less than a minute was left in the fourth quarter, they put the game away with a key fourth down stop that led to a Jon Hernandez touchdown, then sealed it with a 55-yard Imari Jones interception return for a touchdown.

Key Play

Give it up for the Mustangs defense. In a 10-point game midway through the fourth quarter, they came up with a huge stop on 4th down at the Coronado 32. On the next play, Sawyer Robertson hit Jon Hernandez on a swing pass, and Hernandez went 68 yards untouched for the touchdown to put the Mustangs up by three scores.

What’s next?

Odessa hits the road again, this time heading west to face El Paso Montwood next Thursday. Coronado returns to PlainsCapital Park at Lowrey Field on Sept. 20 to face out-of-state foe Clovis, NM before opening District 2-5A play the following week against crosstown rival Lubbock High.