Matt Landers believes in the old saying that good defense and a solid running attack can lead to success on the football field.
The Roosevelt coach made sure to keep to that game plan Friday night when facing off against Abernathy in the Region I-3A Division II final at Jones AT&T Stadium.
Turns out, he used the same quarterback he called up from junior varsity to help snap a 20-game losing streak. Now, the two can celebrate something new.
Alex Treviño scored four times as he ran for 185 yards to lead the Eagles to a 36-14 win over the Antelopes to send the program to its first state semifinal.
"Man, that kid is special. I look at him like a son," Landers said of Treviño. "Been with him four years. He had like four fumbles in that win over Stanton, but he got us the win.
"Just so special for him to do this."
And it all started with the Eagles executing their flexbone, Army-Navy style, as Landers describes it on the way to not attempting a pass in the win over the Antelopes.
"It's kind of always our game plan," Landers said, cracking a smile, when asked about running the ball and milking the clock. "We want to win time of possession, average four or more yards per carry. But, just first, great job by our kids to execute and be able to do that.
"It takes everybody. It's our game plan every week, especially with Abernathy. Because, shoot, is a very high-powered team, very athletic team and a great team. We knew the only way to have a shot was to keep their offense off the field."
With the victory, Roosevelt (14-0) kept its undefeated mark intact by handing Abernathy (12-2) its second defeat of the season.
The Eagles are scheduled to take on Gunter (14-0) in a 7 p.m. Friday matchup set to be played at Abilene Christian University's Anthony Field at Wildcat Stadium.
"It's kind of surreal right now," Landers said, scanning the field at Jones AT&T Stadium. "It probably won't hit me until (Saturday) morning. But man, state semifinals — that's crazy.
"Just so proud of our community and so proud of ours kids, our administration, our school board, our superintendent, our assistant coaches, our wives. There's just so many parts — it takes a community to win championships. And that's what Roosevelt is, it's a huge community of champions that have come together and done this."
One of those members is Treviño, who played a critical role in the victory on the field.
The Acuff native who's gone from pre-kindergarten to becoming a senior captain for the Eagles, literally led the way as he churned his legs and went to the left, right and up the middle of the offensive line.
"Our goal was to drive it down their throat, be physical and keep the run game going," Treviño said of the game plan. "And on defense, we wanted to show that the last game was not a fluke. Our defense worked hard to get that Air Raid offense down.
"I think we did a good job of keeping it in check."
Roosevelt did so on its first possession by putting together a seven-play scoring drive, which was capped off by a JJ Diaz 33-yard toss to the left side. After a failed run attempt on the two-point conversion, the Eagles led 6-0 with 5:53 left in the first quarter.
Treviño notched a 44-yard score to increase the Eagles lead to 14-0 following a successful two-point conversion run at the 5:50 mark of the second quarter.
Despite all that, the Antelopes had a chance to slice the lead in half less than a minute before the midway point.
On the 12th play, Jess Hoel threw a pass to Anthony White on a route that took him toward the right pylon and it appeared he caught the 2-yard toss before Roosevelt defensive back Bram Raven recorded the pass breakup.
"We had some opportunities and, right there before halftime, we really needed to punch that one into the end zone for some momentum," Abernathy coach Justin Wiley said. "It was a momentum killer not to be able to do that."
The Antelopes had one more shot to turn things around in the third quarter.
After Hoel connected on a 43-yard touchdown reception with Jaxson Wiley, Abernathy's defense forced a three-and-out on the Eagles' next offensive possession.
On fourth and 10 from his own 27, Roosevelt punter Sebastian Sandoval was unable to corral the snap and the Lopes defenders tackled him at the 11.
But, on the next play, Hoel threw a lob pass to the left corner of the end zone that Roosevelt defensive back Calvin Murphy intercepted and ran back to his own 39-yard line to help the Eagles avoid disaster.
"Holy smokes, that was huge," Landers said of the interception by Murphy. "Our punter's just a freshman — poor kid. But he's a great kid and we trust him to kick the ball whenever we need it done.
"But, heckuva job by our senior, Calvin, to go over there and get the interception to change the momentum. ... We bend, but don't break. And the biggest thing is, we don't flinch. We talk about it all the time. We didn't panic and were able to turn things around."
Roosevelt 36, Abernathy 14
Abernathy 0 0 7 7 — 14
Roosevelt 6 8 8 14 — 36
RHS — JJ Diaz 9 run (Diaz run fail), 5:53
RHS — Alex Treviño 44 run (Nate Gensler run); 5:50
RHS — Treviño 2 run (Zack Bryant run):3:30
AHS — Jaxson Wiley 43 pass from Jess Hoel (Hoel kick) 1:52
RHS — Treviño 30 run (Treviño run fail); 9:44
RHS — Treviño 14 run (Gensler run); 4:21
AHS — Erick Cruz 14 pass from Jess Hoel (Hoel kick);0:14
First downs: (AHS) 12; (RHS) 17
Rushes-Yards: (AHS) 17-62; (RHS) 54-296
Passing: (AHS) 0; (RHS) 203
Comp-Att-Int: (AHS) 12-26-1; (RHS) 0-0-0
Punts-Avg: (AHS) 0-0; (RHS) 2-40.5
Fumbles-Lost: (AHS) 0-0; (RHS) 1-1
Penalties-Yards: (AHS) 3-30; (RHS) 4-27
RUSHING: Abernathy, Jess Hoel 12-27, Malachi Reyes 5-35. Roosevelt, Alex Trevino 27-184, Zach Bryant 2-38, Octavio Rodríguez 4-19, JJ Diaz 3-17, Nate Gensler 17-56.
PASSING: Abernathy, Jess Hoel 12-26-1—203. Abernathy, None.
RECEIVING: Abernathy, Sean Rodriguez 4-58, Anthony White 2-34, Luke Houston 3-35, Jaxson Wiley 1-43, Landry Miller 1-7, Ethan Paiz 1-6. Roosevelt, None.
RECORDS: Abernathy 12-2. Roosevelt 14-0.
This article originally appeared on Lubbock Avalanche-Journal: Trevino nets 3 TDs, powers Roosevelt to program's first state semifinal