Cardinals get offense rolling in second half, but can’t catch Hornets
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Southside coach Ricky Lock came to the school this year with a reputation for reviving programs that are down on their luck.
Even Lock had to admit to being stunned by how much and how fast his team had improved. After winning just one game in 2013, the Cardinals (8-3) set a school victory record, before their season ended Friday in a 42-21 loss to Corpus Christi Flour Bluff (11-0) at Southside Stadium.
The Class 5A Division 1 bi-district game was Southside’s first postseason contest since 2011. Afterward, Lock told his players they had put the school on the state’s football map.
“When I was in Gonzales, one season we went from 1-9 to 7-3 one season, but it wasn’t like this,” the first-year coach said. “These guys became a very hard team to defeat, which I think everybody’s recognizing now.”
Southside, which finished third in District 29-5A, scored all of its points in the fourth quarter. The Cardinals faithfully executed a strategy designed to limit Hornets possessions with time-consuming drives.
Unfortunately for the host team, those drives didn’t pay off until the final quarter. Furthermore, Flour Bluff didn’t need many plays to put points on the board. None of their scoring drives consumed more than six plays.
“These kids always play to win,” Lock said. “We have no quitters. I’m proud of these kids. We made too many mistakes against a good football team. Nonetheless, they fought to the end.”
Flour Bluff, No. 6 in the Associated Press 5A rankings, scored the first four touchdowns. The Hornets will play Mission Memorial (8-3) in the area round.
“We just (focused) on execution this week,” said Hornets quarterback Cody Brewer who passed for 270 yards and five touchdowns. “We were more about keeping it simple, whether we were running or passing.”
Southside quarterback Brandon Herrera (52 yards, 15 carries) picked up a first down on a faked punt on the Cardinals’ first series after halftime. However, they couldn’t sustain the momentum.
Flour Bluff took over on downs and scored in two plays, on a 55-yard pass from Brewer to Kevin Dewitt. The Hornets led 28-0.
“They were rolling down the safety and we were trying to exploit that,” Dewitt said. “For the most part, we were faster than their defensive backs.”
The Cardinals scored their first touchdown on the first play of the fourth quarter. Herrera (11 of 17, 145 yards) threw 20 yards over the middle to sophomore back Matt Collier (50 yards, 4 receptions).
It only took the Hornets two plays to respond. Brewer (10 of 14, 270 yards) threw to Dewitt behind the defense for a 72-yard pass play that assured the victory.
Southside scored twice after that, for 21 fourth-quarter points. Herrera scored on a 4-yard run and a 33-yard pass play to Collier.
Southside drove into Flour Bluff territory on its first two possessions, but came up empty.
The Cardinals missed a 20-yard field goal on their first series, after forcing a three-and-out on defense. Flour Bluff stopped Southside at the Hornets 40 the next time the host team had the ball.
“We just tried to get in the end zone,” Lock said. “They have a lot of weapons.”
Flour Bluff, meanwhile, scored the first two times it had the ball.
Brewer dashed 60 yards down the right sideline on a quarterback keeper. The Hornets took a 7-0 lead with 6:01 left in the first quarter. Brewer threw 25 yards to Dewitt with 1:51 left in the quarter.
The two drives covered 140 yards and took 11 plays.
“Our receivers run such good routes,” Brewer said, “it makes my job easier.”
Travis Granberry returned an interception 29 yards to give the Hornets a 21-0 halftime lead.
Flour Bluff only became more efficient as the game wore on.
The Hornets ran just 12 plays in the second half, but scored three touchdowns. It took the Cardinals 34 plays to score their three touchdowns.
Senior receiver David Garza finished with 47 yards on five catches.