But once they got everything in sync against the Victoria St. Joseph Flyers, there was no stopping the Tigers.
Goliad overcame an early 3-0 deficit and reeled off 34 unanswered points to open the 2012 season with a 34-10 non-district victory over the Flyers at Tiger Stadium.
Quarterback Dalton Sturm had three touchdown runs and running back Jeremy Pena added two as Goliad rolled up over 400 yards of offense.
“You never know what’s going to happen in the first quarter of the first ball game,” Mares said. “But we settled down and the kids did well.”
After the Tigers lost the ball on a pair of fumbles on their first two possessions, Sturm scored on runs of 7 and 24 yards after St. Joseph went up 3-0 on a 27-yard Tyler Englebart field goal.
Goliad scored two more times in the final 5:24 of the first half to take a 27-3 lead into intermission.
Pena raced 69 yards for a touchdown with 5:24 to go and, on the Tigers’ next possession, Sturm broke several would-be tackles en route to a 24-yard touchdown run with five seconds left before halftime.
“I just pulled it on the read and somebody hit me,” Sturm said. I just bounced off of him. I had very god blocking as well.”
Sturm’s play fakes had the Flyers’ defense guessing the entire game. Mares was pleased with the Tigers performance in the newly installed Wing-T offense.
“Coach (John) Livas and the offensive staff have done a great job ever since we’ve started this thing,” Mares said. “We’re going to get better.”
The Tigers finished with 378 yards rushing and needed only two pass completions on the night. Pena led the ground game with 136 yards on 13 carries, while Sturm added 96 yards on 11 carries.
“The first game is so important,” Sturm said. “We got some momentum going and everything is god, so hopefully we’ll come back next week and do the same thing.”
Pena’s 1-yard touchdown plunge with 5:21 left in the third quarter ended the Tigers’ scoring as substitutes played for much of the rest of the game on both sides of the ball.
Quarterback Eric Alvarez got the Flyers in the end zone with 15 seconds left in the third quarter on a 10-yard touchdown run.
The Tigers will return to action Friday night when they travel to Yorktown for a 7:30 p.m. contest against the Class 1A Wildcats.