HS FOOTBALL: Bulldogs roll past Montwood to win Love’s 1st start


MRT | 8/26/2023

PHOTO CREDIT: Christopher Hadorn

Midland High took the pressure off sophomore quarterback Tristan Love, who was making his first career varsity start on Friday night.

Elijah McCoy scored on a 78-yard kickoff return on the first play of the game during the Bulldogs’ season opener against El Paso Montwood at Astound Broadband Stadium.

After a conservative game plan early, MHS eventually gave Love an opportunity to make plays and he came through by completing 6 of 6 passes for 124 yards and two touchdown passes.

Love added 56 rushing yards on five carries to help the Bulldogs beat Montwood with a 39-14 convincing win.

Love, slated to be the backup this season, got the start after junior quarterback Stroman Bridges was injured in the Bulldogs’ scrimmage against Lubbock Cooper last week.

Love was aided by his backfield, as Tim Babino ran 15 times for 87 yards and TD, while McCoy had 17 rushing attempts for 82 yards and a score.

Love showed pinpoint accuracy on his throws and had some hard-nosed runs.

“I did lay it on the line,” Love said. “A couple of them, they tried pulling my helmet off and it came off. I kind of strapped it up a little harder and ran even harder. I just tucked my shoulder and went, and my teammates carried me to victory. I couldn’t have done it without my team.”

McCoy, who ran a 10.6 second time in the 100-yard dash during track, opened the game by sprinting away from the Rams to give MHS the lead only 13 seconds into the ballgame with his TD on a kickoff return.

MHS led 8-0 after Anthony Kolb ran the ball into the end zone for a 2-point play.

“After he returned that kick, that really just got me in my mood,” Love said. “I was like, all right, I’m ready to go. We really have this game in the bag. We’re really going to win this game. I knew that we were going to win. After that, I knew we were going to get up and we were going to get the team up and we were going to play really hard and win this game.”

The Bulldog defense built on the momentum with a three-and-out on the Rams’ first possession.

After a poor 11-yard punt by the Rams, MHS pounded away at the Montwood defense with a 14-play, 44-yard drive.

The Bulldogs (1-0) kept it simple for Love, not running triple option plays early.

McCoy capped the drive by scoring from the 1-inch line on fourth-and-goal to push the Dawgs to a 15-0 lead with 1 minute, 22 seconds left in the first quarter.

“This being Tristan’s first start, I wanted to get Tim and Elijah established,” MHS head coach Thad Fortune said. “That starts with up front. That’s a challenge to the O-line because we didn’t run as much triple (option) early. We just tried to get the base run game going. Credit to O-line and (offensive line coach Paul Martinez), we were able to get the base run game going. We just wanted to get Tristan comfortable and as he got comfortable, then we were able to get into some play action and triple option.”

The Bulldogs capitalized off a Montwood special teams blunder on its next drive, as a high punt snap caused Gabriel Ramos not to get off the kick and he was tackled by Adam Alvarado for a 7-yard loss.

On its 18th play from scrimmage, MHS finally threw the ball as Love placed a ball in stride to Anthony Kolb down the sideline for a 33-yard TD pass that extended the lead to 22-0 with 7:24 in the second.

Love then showed his running ability on the next possession, picking up 48 yards on an electrifying run when he zigzagged through the Ram defense.

With the clock down to seven seconds in the first half, MHS let Love make a play on second-and-goal from the Montwood 12, as he threw a perfectly placed fade pass to Alex Gonzalez in the corner of the end zone.

MHS went into halftime with a 29-0 lead.

“I’m just really proud of the staffs on both sides of the ball this week,” Fortune said. “Offensively, we had to change game plans. Not drastically, but obviously things shifted for us, and the offensive staff did a great job of putting that together. And then defensively, I really thought we played well.”

Gonzalez finished with three catches for 63 yards.

Babino scored on a 6-yard run in the fourth quarter.

MHS senior Levi Crowder kicked a 42-yard field goal that put MHS ahead 39-7 in the fourth.

Montwood’s Michael Southern went 21-for-34 passing for 221 yards and two TD passes.


Montwood 0 0 7 7 -- 14

Midland 15 14 0 10 -- 39

First Quarter

MID – Elijah McCoy 78 kickoff return (Anthony Kolb run), 11:47

MID – McCoy 1 run (Levi Crowder kick), 1:22

Second Quarter

MID – Kolb 33 pass from Tristan Love (Crowder kick), 7:24

MID – Alex Gonzalez 12 pass from Love (Crowder kick), 0:02

Third Quarter

MON – Diego Oaxaca 25 pass from Michael Southern (Joaquin Roman kick), 4:37

Fourth Quarter

MID – Tim Babino 6 run (Crowder kick), 11:56

MID – FG Crowder 42, 4:52

MON – Izayuh Clauudio 2 run (Roman kick), 1:44


First downs 14 20

Rushes-yards 19-32 46-276

Passing yards 221 124

Comp.-Att.-Int. 21-34-0 6-6-0

Punts-avg. 4-35.0 2-39.5

Fumbles-lost 0-0 1-0

Penalties-yards 7-51 9-95


RUSHING – Montwood, Izayuh Claudio 12-35, Michael Southern 6-4, Gabriel Ramos 1-(-7). Midland, Tim Babino ... Click here to read full article