An explosive first half sees the CONADEIP All-Stars lead Team Stars & Stripes 35-13 at halftime of the Tazón De Estrellas (Bowl of the Stars).
The hosts got off to the perfect start on the opening possession during an action-packed first quarter that produced a total of 28 points. Quarterback Diego Gomez hit Pedro Magallanes with a 26-yard touchdown pass and then Jorge Retana and Eduardo Califa connected for a successful two-point conversion and an early 8-0 Mexican lead.
Having won the coin toss and deferred, Team Stars & Stripes moved the ball methodically downfield in reply, a key pass from Bryan Hicks to Dante Smith for 7 yards keeping the drive alive on fourth and three at the Mexico 28. But Hicks was sacked for a 9-yard loss on third down by Armando Fernandez, who then blocked a 32-yard field goal attempt.
The CONADEIP All-Stars capitalized immediately as two plays later Diego Gomez set Jorge Retana free for a 62-yard touchdown charge down the left side to open a 15-0 lead after a successful PAT.
The Americans responded perfectly as Riley Gray took over under center at the hosts’ 41-yard mark following a 15-yard penalty enforced on the end of the kickoff and scored in reply. The Central College quarterback hit Kyle Petermeier from 4 yards out with 02:05 remaining in the first quarter and an Aaron Marcellus extra point reduced the deficit to eight points.
The Mexicans responded with another touchdown as Gomez hit Jorge Retana beyond the US secondary for a 33-yard touchdown pass. A missed extra point meant the hosts led 21-7 as the first quarter expired.
The American defensive front was then unable to pressure quarterback Gomez on the next CONADEIP possession and he had time to pick out a wide-open Victor Gutierrez in the end zone for a 22-yard touchdown and a 28-13 lead.
The contest continued to produce fireworks and Alex Pasiewicz reeled off a 60-yard kickoff return to the Mexican 33-yard mark. The US was unable to capitalize as as Hicks targeted Kyle Petermeier, Leopoldo Gutierrez came up with an interception in the end zone.
The Americans turned the ball over on downs and a pass interference penalty took the ball to the US 18 with 20 seconds remaining in the half. The Mexicans were clinical in their execution and scored a 19-yard touchdown as Gomez again went to Pedro Magallanes to earn a commanding 35-13 halftime lead.