PETTUS – Ball control.
Those two simple words perfectly describe Friday’s game between Agua Dulce and Pettus.
Agua Dulce executed ball control to near perfection in the second half, helping the Longhorns to a 28-26 win.
“They did what they had to do to win,” Pettus coach Jeff Doege said about Agua Dulce. “That’s what their offense is designed for. We had to stop that, and we didn’t do that in the second half.”
Trailing 12-6 at the break, the Longhorns possessed the ball for more than 21 of the second half’s 24 minutes.
They scored quickly on their first drive of the half, taking the lead 11 seconds in when Eloy Treto rumbled 51 yards for a 14-12 Longhorn lead.
“The first play from scrimmage, they run a counter play, a play we hadn’t seen them run much at all through film,” Doege said about Treto’s scoring run. “It was just nothing that we were expecting. They hit, and we misplayed it. We didn’t even touch him I don’t think.
“We were a little shellshocked at that point.”
So shellshocked were the Eagles that they went three and out on the next drive, quickly giving the ball back to the Longhorns.
Agua Dulce then took up more than six minutes with a drive that ended with a 3-yard Treto touchdown run, making it 22-12.
The next Longhorn drive was the one that all but decided the outcome, though.
With 2:37 left in the third, they took control of the ball and didn’t relinquish it for more than a quarter’s worth of time.
In all, the drive took up 13 minutes and 20 seconds and was capped by a 31-yard touchdown run by Bo Surber with 1:17 left in the game.
“We did everything we could,” Doege said about the drive. “They were just bigger than us up front. What they do is ground and pound.
“They put the ball in the hands of their best guys and blocked well. We just couldn’t get a stop.”
Pettus scored in just 43 seconds on a 1-yard Matt Gonzales TD run to get within two, but the onside kick try failed, and the Longhorns extinguished the final 34 seconds.
The Eagles had controlled the game until the start of the second half.
They went up 6-0 at the 7:22 mark of the first on a Gonzales to Nick Coester 15-yard pass.
It was the first lead of the year for the Eagles and the first time they had scored first in a game.
The Longhorns tied it with 2:01 left in the first half on a Bo Surber to R.J. Ramirez 3-yard pass, but Pettus quickly answered.
Gonzales hit Jonathan Solomon on a 9-yard strike with seven seconds left in the half.
Pettus’ only other score of the night was a 44-yard run by Zack Linville on the possession before Agua Dulce’s 13-plus minute drive.
The 26 points is a season high for the Eagles, who had just 27 total points in its previous six games combined.
They also posted a season-best 331 total yards, including 169 through the air.
Doege, while happy with the way his team played and fought, understood the implications of the loss.
“We needed to win it, but we didn’t, so we’ve got to get the first one this week to get to 1-1 in district to have an opportunity the last two weeks. It’s a one-game season. We’ve got to worry about Benavides before we do anything else.”
Kevin J. Keller is the sports editor at the Bee-Picayune and can be reached at 343-5223, or at sports@mySouTex.com, or follow him on Twitter, @beepicsports.