Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Lorena tops La Vega to win district title, 21-7

I took this story off of the Waco Trib. My youngest brother Chandler is #11! :) Way to go Leopards!! Here's another story that names Chandler specifically. Read it! :)

By Jason Orts Tribune-Herald staff writer
Saturday, November 07, 2009

LORENA — Since Lorena moved up to Class 3A in 1990, it had never been able to call itself a district champion.

That changed Friday night.

Behind an inspired defensive attack that shut down the prolific La Vega running game, the Leopards clinched the District 19-3A title with a 21-7 victory.

“It’s awesome,” Lorena coach Ray Biles said. “It’s been a long time since this community has been able to have a gold football.”

The Leopards (7-3, 4-1) never trailed and their swarming defense not only shut out the Pirates in the second half, but came up with the clinching touchdown.

With 2:19 left in the game, La Vega got the ball at its own 5, looking to mount a drive to even the score.

But on the second play, Justin Mottley got to La Vega quarterback Tony Montoya in the end zone. Montoya fumbled the ball, and Lorena’s Brent Berryhill pounced on it for a touchdown.
“It changes the complexion of the game when you have the confidence that you’re going to pin them down there and then stop them,” Biles said. “We didn’t move the ball very well, and that’s a credit to La Vega’s defense. But from an offensive standpoint, when your defense comes to play like that, you can afford not to roll the dice.”

Safety Marty Bacerra put the final nail in the coffin with an interception on La Vega’s frantic final drive.

La Vega had a difficult time getting decent field position all night and started drives from its own
10, 9, 12, 15, 8 and 5.

Lorena's Evan Ward bulls ahead for a few yards against the La Vega defense in the first half. (Jose Yau photo)

Lorena's Tito Dejesus makes a catch over La Vega's Devonte Jones in the first half of the Leopards' 21-7 win Friday night to earn the District 19-3A title. (Jose Yau photo)
Compounding the offensive problems for the Pirates (6-4, 3-2) was that they hurt themselves throughout the game with presnap penalties and fumbled snaps.

“That’s just a lack of focus,” La Vega coach Willie Williams said. “You can’t have that.”

The Leopards did roll the dice in the kicking game, recovering an onside kick to open the second half.

They were stopped on fourth down, but forced a La Vega three-and-out. A low snap on the punt allowed Lorena’s Raymond Yusuf to partially block the kick, which traveled only 15 yards.

That set the Leopards up at the Pirate 45, and this time, they took advantage.

A pass interference penalty moved Lorena to the 30. Two plays later, Kailin Ketcherside busted through a huge hole in the middle of the line and went 30 yards for a score to put the Leopards ahead, 14-7, with 7:24 left in the third quarter.

“A lot of the conversation this week was that we had to play from ahead,” Biles said. “We were fortunate that Kailin popped the big run. If you get behind them, they start (pounding you with the run).”

In the fourth quarter, the Leopards went almost exclusively with Evan Ward at quarterback, and he finished with 111 yards on 27 carries.

Lorena took advantage of a La Vega miscue to get on the board in the first quarter.

The Pirates fumbled at their own 15 and Colby Gordon recovered for the Leopards. It took Lorena six plays from there, with Sky Dolezel taking it in from the 1-yard line.

La Vega answered in the second quarter with an explosive nine-play, 91-yard march. That included a 33-yard pass from Devin McGowan to Garrett Nunley, and those two combined for a spectacular play to get the Pirates on the board.

McGowan broke through the line on the left side, broke all the way back across the field and streaked down the right sideline, where he was finally tracked down at the Lorena 10. But as McGowan was going down, he flipped the ball to Nunley, who took the ball into the end zone.

But that was the only time the Pirates could get anything going all night.

The good news for La Vega is that it had already clinched a playoff spot, but that didn’t console Williams on Friday.

“We didn’t want to back into the playoffs,” he said. “We wanted to have some momentum going in. I’m happy for (Coach Biles) and happy for Lorena, but it hurts when you don’t play well.”

The Leopards are the top Division II school from 19-3A and will meet Brownsboro in the bi-district round, while the Pirates are the Division I representative and will face Athens.

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