AREA TEAMS INCLUDED: Southside.
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A year ago, Southside established itself as one of the District 29-5A elite. On Sept. 25, the Cardinals dealt with the consequences of being hunted.
In his post-game speech to his team, a jubilant Eagle Pass Winn coach Eric Villasenor described his Mavericks as 13-point underdogs and identified Southside (2-2, 0-1) as the district favorite. Villasenor expressed his pride in what he termed a total team victory.
The Mavericks (2-2, 1-0) trailed by eight points when nearby lightning delayed the game by about 45 minutes. Energized by the re-start, Winn scored the first of 21 unanswered points five plays later and held off a Cardinals rally for a 27-16 win at Southside Stadium
“We’ve been working hard the last two weeks of practice,” said Winn quarterback Reyes Lopez, who ran for a touchdown and passed for another. “Day in and day out. We passed a little more than we had been and we played better defense. It really helped us that we were able to run the ball.”
Winn struggled with its running game before lightning was spotted north of the stadium with 6:42 remaining in the first half. Afterward it was able to move the chains consistently behind Edward Martinez, who scored on a five-yard run to cap a 73-yard drive that was underway before the delay, and Lopez.
“We got our energy back when we came back out of it,” Lopez said.
After the Winn defense made a second-consecutive fourth down stop deep in its own territory, the Mavericks adopted an uptempo bearing. This time they traveled 66 yards in seven plays to score on a 21-yard pass from Lopez to Julio Ruiz just 10 seconds before halftime.
“They threw the ball more than we thought they would,” Southside coach Ricky Lock conceded. “They don’t do anything outstanding, but they made the plays, and we didn’t.”
Winn led 14-8 at the half, weathering a 75-yard return of the ensuing kickoff from Erik Luna. Time ran out as Luna zoomed past the 50. He was caught at the Mavs 20.
“They came out with the momentum,” Lock said. “They picked it up, and we had some things happen. We’re a young football team – we only start two seniors on both sides of the ball. That showed up tonight. It hadn’t before.”
Southside lost two consecutive fumbles at the start of the second half, enabling the Mavericks to increase their lead.
Danny Rios scored on a 32-yard fumble return 64 seconds into the third quarter. The Cardinals prevented further damage by recovering a fumble on their own 1, 12 plays after Winn recovered the resulting onside kick.
“We had too many penalties,” Lock said. “It’s frustrating to have that many 15-yard penalties. We pride ourselves on being a disciplined bunch.”
Cardinals junior Matt Collier (147 yards, 23 carries) scored on a five-yard run off a direct snap with 9:25 remaining. Nathan Rosokoff ran for the two-point conversion, putting Southside within 21-16.
Winn answered with a 70-yard, seven-play drive. Lopez ran nine yards on a broken play for a touchdown with 6:15 remaining.
An interception by the Mavericks’ Rene Auces ended Southside’s next possession near midfield. It was only the second incomplete pass of the evening for a Cardinals team that only needed four plays to cover 88 yards on its first possession.
Senior Jonny Trevino threw 35 yards to Luna (80 yards, 7 receptions) for the touchdown and found Travis Quillin for the two-point conversion.
Lock disagreed with Villasenor on the identity of the district favorite, choosing Uvalde – which also was upset in its opener.
“Our district is so even,” Lock said. “You have to come out ready at the start of every game. We were definitely flat tonight, for some reason.”