FLORESVILLE — Any coach will tell you a game is a marathon, not a sprint.
Floresville (6-4, 4-1) didn’t seem to listen, as it stumbled through a second half to a 36-28 loss.
The Tigers jumped out to an exciting start. Tiger receiver Julian Nambo returned the opening kick all the way to the Cardinal 37. The Cardinals (8-2, 5-0) looked depleted early.
His offense would need only two plays before taking it in for a 36-yard rush. Southside wouldn’t even get the ball on its next drive, as it fumbled the ensuing kick return.
Floresville Looking Good
Floresville would score on four of it’s first six drives, jumping out to a 28-7 lead. The crowd was ecstatic, buzzing with emotion needing to be let out after a long week. With 6:14 left in the half, its team had stopped 2,000-yard rusher Eddie Perez and forced two punts and a fumble.
After the game, Southside coach Ricky Lock said his team dug itself into a deep hole, but it was never down.
“Just keep playing, we’ve fought back before, just keep playing,” Lock said. “You never know what’s goin go to happen with this bunch. Perez can break it off at any time and defense plays well. It came together in the second half.”
The Beginning Of The End
The Cardinals responded quickly, as the offense woke up and scored before half with a 36-yard Perez sprinter to the end zone. The extra point was missed, but the score was 28-13 going into half.
Other than that and a 26-yard run early in the game, Perez had been handled. But Lock said he never lost confidence in his man.
“No, he’s like Novacane, you just got to keep feeding him,” Lock said. “Eventually it’ll work and he’ll numb you.”
The Cardinals got the ball back to start the second half, and so began the comeback.
Not even two minutes into the second half, Perez found the end zone again, with a 12-yard scamper to bring the score 28-19. The next drive for Floresville went no where, as it started its downfall.
The next eight Tiger drives each ended in either a punt or a fumble. No points, as the Cardinals defense held stout.
Coach Lock said after the game, he was proud of his team. But had some luck as star running back Salih Williams had been injured early on in the game.
“Defensive staff did an amazing job at halftime with some adjustments,” Lock said. “We put them in a bad spot because of those turnovers. Very much unlike us, but it happens. I’m proud of our kids, we fought back and had a lot of adversity in the first half.”
Football Isn’t Everything, But It Helps
The Tigers still have the playoffs to look to. But for just a few hours here in Floresville, Texas, the community had hope. Hope the world wasn’t as dark as it had seemed all week and hope its team would win district. It fell short, but as one parent told me after the game, “Win or lose, we’re always proud of our Tigers.”
Coach Lock and Southside now have its first district title in the schools history. Something he’s proud of, despite anyone who questioned him taking the job a few years ago. But he’s happy his team and fans, though it came in and won, was able to help a community that needed it so much.
“With the tragedy that happened,” Lock said. “Thoughts and prayers to those families. It gives them a little time to get away from that. Our thoughts and prayers are definitely with the families in this community, because that is just a tragedy in our backyard, it’s a bad deal.”
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