Three fourth-quarter interceptions seal win
AREA TEAMS INCLUDED: Central Catholic, Lanier.
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Central Catholic took away Lanier’s chances for a season-opening comeback victory Aug. 28.
The Buttons utilized three fourth-quarter interceptions to squelch the Voks’ momentum in the first game for both teams. The hosts prevailed 14-7 at Bob Benson Stadium.
“Our defense was outstanding,” Central Catholic coach L.D. Green Sr. said. “Lanier wanted to establish the run, but they stepped up and forced them to pass. Those three interceptions were big, because they allowed us to control things.”
Lanier led 7-6 after blocking Central Catholic’s first extra-point attempt. With 3:05 until halftime, Voks senior tight end Raul Solis hauled in a six-yard pass from Jeremiah Esquivel and nailed the point-after-touchdown.
“We had a few interceptions and a failure to capitalize on some things that kind of hurt us,” Lanier coach Don Gatian said. “I thought the defense did a good job and we moved the ball in the first half, but we didn’t put it in the end zone enough. We had a touchdown called back.
“Overall, we didn’t play badly. The guys played hard up front.”
Buttons junior back Thomas Palomera (49 yards, 5 carries) registered the go-ahead touchdown with a 42-yard dash with 3:56 left in the third quarter. Palomera caught the two-point conversion pass from Harlingen South transfer quarterback James Morton (85 passing yards) for a seven-point advantage.
“It’s just that the line’s blocking on the edge let me get outside,” Palomera said. “Once I got outside, I was able to run past them.”
The Buttons had difficulty mounting a consistent offensive attack during the first half in Morton’s first start. Predictably, Central Catholic’s execution improved throughout the game.
“In our offense, everyone has to do their part,” said Green, who praised the offensive line. “If they do that, we have big-play potential.”
Central Catholic senior free safety Jeremy Medina produced the first of his two interceptions on the opening play of the fourth quarter. Cornerback Elijah Banda and Medina ended the Voks’ last two possessions with picks.
“The defense got us the win,” Palomera said. “That was our big thing going into the game.”
The Buttons scored little more than four minutes into the non-district contest on a 15-yard run from junior back Caleb Salinas (79 yards, 11 carries). A 64-yard pass play from Morton to junior Julian Oviedo set up the score.
Adrian Lozoya led the Voks with two receptions for 42 yards.