The inconsistencies that have plagued El Dorado all season long didn't go away Thursday night.
But at least the Golden Hawks found a way to overcome them.
Still, it took an interception by two-way standout David Myers with 1 minute 50 seconds to go to seal a 28-21 Empire League victory over Loara at Western High.
The Golden Hawks waited until the final two minutes to put this one away, to the chagrin of Coach Rick Jones.
"Loara played their hearts out," he said. "But we should have come out and taken hold of this one. We should have come out and drawn first blood and we didn't. We have to improve on that."
El Dorado (4-3, 1-1) hasn't been able to put together back-to-back victories this season and consequently has struggled to stay above the .500 mark all year. The Golden Hawks' defense was shaky most of the first half, no doubt a result of having allowed opponents to score an average of more than 21 points per game against it. But in the second half, El Dorado looked like a different team.
Loara played well enough to win, but couldn't make the big plays when it had to. Meanwhile, El Dorado's consistency problems were magnified in the first 10 minutes of this one, as Loara (1-6, 0-2), looked anything like the underdog it was supposed to be. The Saxons bolted to a 14-0 lead, executing drives of 47 and 61 yards.
But El Dorado, with Myers running for 130 yards and two touchdowns, including a 46-yard run with 5:25 left in the second quarter, battled back to tie the score midway through the second quarter.
Loara led, 21-14, at the half after quarterback Archie Lappin engineered a 12-play, 72-yard drive that ended with 28 seconds on the clock following his five-yard scramble for touchdown.
Loara controlled the ball in the first half, running off 20 more plays, 39 to 19, than El Dorado.
"They can't score if they don't have the ball," Loara Coach John DeFries said. "Our defense just couldn't hold them."
That became apparent in the second half.
El Dorado quarterback Mike Marzicola directed two long drives, one that ended up in a 14-yard scoring pass to Brian Dyer as the third quarter ended, and the other capped with Marzicola's plunge for a touchdown on a fourth and goal from the one-foot line with 3:19 left.
Myers, who had a 29-yard TD run called back, guessed correctly on a Lappin pass at the El Dorado 47-yard line. Loara faced a third and 10 from their 45 at the time.