FOOTBALL: Memorial takes hope for future from Seguin loss





A pair of turnovers in its Oct 2 game against Seguin will haunt Memorial, but the Minutemen can appreciate the performances of two sophomores.

Seguin (1-4, 1-2) scored on the snap following the first-quarter turnovers to build a three-touchdown lead. Memorial (1-5, 0-4) finally found its bearings after halftime, but couldn’t overcome the early deficit in a 48-20 District 29-5A loss at Edgewood Veterans Stadium.

“We gave up 21 in the first quarter,” Memorial coach Alex Guerra said. “I feel like, if we hadn’t done that, this game would have been a lot different. We were unable to do what we needed to get a couple stops and those turnovers will kill you.”

The Matadors scored little more than three minutes into the game on a 16-yard pass from Mark Garcia (18 of 23, 221 yards) to Brock Gerlich (87 yard, 9 receptions). It was the first of three touchdowns for Gerlich.

“He’s a playmaker for us,” Seguin coach Anthony Boykin said. “He’s a big receiver and he uses his size well.”

The senior scored again with 2:55 left in the opening quarter on a 21-yard pass, following a fumble recovery. Seguin’s Brandon Palomares returned an interception to the Memorial 11 and Avion Dora (120 yards, 12 carries) cashed it in. Seventeen seconds separated those two touchdowns.

Seguin scored 27 points despite accumulating 99 penalty yards in the first half.

“I’m really happy that we were able to get the win,” Boykin said. “For us in the first half, we had so many penalties. We were really not performing the way we’re capable of. The second half was a lot better.”

Memorial’s Adarius Brady recovered a fumble late in the first quarter and it sparked a 36-yard scoring drive. Senior Alex Arceo scored on a five-yard run to slash Seguin’s lead to 21-6. Gerlich hauled in an 18-yard pass to restore the Matadors’ margin by halftime.

Shortly thereafter, sophomore quarterback Anthony Esparza took the reins for Memorial.

Despite an interception on his first series, Esparza completed seven of 14 throws for 112 yards and two scores. Guerra said senior starter David Ortiz willingly turned the ball over to concentrate full-time on fortifying the Minutemen’s defense.

Seguin scored on drives of 62, 38 and 51 in the third quarter, building a 48-14. Esparza interrupted the procession with a 14-yard touchdown pass to Josh Pitts with 4:49 left in the quarter. The 6-foot-8 junior caught three passes for 49 yards on the drive.

The Minutemen needed three plays to score on their first fourth-quarter possession. Esparza passed 13 yards to 6-3 senior Greg Rosemond and Joel Martinez sprinted 21 yards on a reverse. That paved the way for a 41-yard connection from Esparza to Rosemond.

“They have some big playmakers,” Boykin said. “Rosemond and Pitts were a big concern. Esparza came in and they started moving the ball. ”

The other sophomore who boosted Memorial’s offense is backup back Abraham Reyes (31 yards, 9 carries), who relieved starter Tony Niebrosky.

“It was the first time those guys had played a lot,” Guerra said. “Esparza usually plays one series a game. Abraham is coming off an injury. He’s also a linebacker and he hasn’t seen a lot of running back work.”

Look for the sophomores to see an increased workload after Memorial returns from its bye week. The Minutemen return to action Friday, Oct. 16 at Alamo Heights.

“This helps a lot,” Boykin said. “You work so much in the first four weeks, but you don’t get your accomplishment. We’re going to have a great week of practice.”

Memorial is still waiting for that payoff in 29-5A. In two years as a member, the Minutemen have yet to collect their first district victory.

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