The Beeville Trojan varsity football season came to an end on Friday night in San Antonio. The Kerrville Tivy Antlers played a strong second half and scored 20 unanswered points to capture the regional finals contest, 41-24.
The Trojans started strong with a defensive stand that had the Antlers turn the ball over on downs at the Beeville 23-yard line. The Beeville offense covered the 77 yards in just three plays and 39 seconds. Jordan Nelson gained five yards and then Matt Botello rambled for a big 49 yards to put the ball at the Kerrville 16. QB Eric Soza ran it in from there for the first score of the game. The PAT by Lonnie Jordan was good and the Trojans owned a 7-0 lead with 7:43 left in the first period.
“We came out and played a very good first half, doing the things we knew we had to do and that was move the football down the field and score points,” said Trojan head coach Chris Soza.
“However, we missed some golden opportunities, down there inside the 5-yard line twice and to only come away with three points. That probably ended up being the difference. Momentum is a big part of the game and after our missed field goal before the half it seemed like we could never get it back,” Soza said.
Kerrville took 10 plays to go 61 yards on its next possession to tie the game at 7-7. There was still over four minutes left in the first period, plenty of time for the Trojans to tack on another TD. Soza found receiver Jordan Nelson open for a 26-yard scoring strike to cap off a 75-yard drive. Lonnie Jordan was good on the PAT kick and Beeville was back in front 14-7 with 2:34 left to play in the first quarter.
The Antlers turned the ball back over to the Trojans after just two plays on a Soza interception of a Colton Palmer pass at the Antlers’ 35. Kerrville’s defense began to stiffen and stopped the Trojans from getting another TD, but placekicker Jordan made good on a 22-yard field goal for a 17-7 Beeville lead with 10:36 left in the first half.
One minute later, it was a 17-14 ball game as the Antlers scored on a Palmer pass to Andy Kinnison that covered the final 38 yards of a 69-yard drive.
Beeville then went on its longest drive of the game on the next possession. The Trojans began their last scoring drive at their own 14. A crucial fourth-and-one call from the Kerrville 30 was converted as Soza ran for 22 yards down to the Antler 8. The Kerrville defense thwarted three Beeville tries at scoring and forced the Trojans into a fourth down and seven call.
After a Beeville timeout with 3:19 left in the half, QB Soza found tight end Lazaro Smith in the corner of the end zone and behind his Antler defender. The pass fell right into his hands and the Trojans took a 24-14 advantage with a little over three minutes to play in the first half.
Beeville tried a surprise on-side kick, but it backfired and the Kerrville offense was set to go at midfield. A Trojan five-yard penalty gave Tivy even better field position to begin the drive at the Beeville 45.
Three plays later, the Antlers were in the end zone for their third TD of the first half. The Trojans mounted another scoring drive in the final minutes of the second quarter but Jordan’s field goal attempt was blocked and the two teams went into their locker rooms at 24-21. The Trojans were holding a slim, three-point lead after the first 24 minutes.
It was three and out for the Trojans on their first possession of the second half. It then took the Kerrville club just two plays to gain the lead. Palmer went the final five yards to put the Antlers in front 27-24 as the PAT went wide.
The Kerrville defense again held the Trojans and with 1:08 left in the third period, the Antlers got a one-play drive that covered 50 yards as Palmer worked a draw and went the distance for a 34-24 lead.
The Antlers tacked on one more TD in the fourth quarter after the Trojans’ next drive faltered and turned the ball back to Kerrville on downs. The final was a 41-24 loss for the Trojans.
Beeville’s record was 8-5 on the year and the Trojans went three rounds deep into the playoffs for the second consecutive season.
Kerrville advances into the state quarterfinals against Hendrickson, a 31-30 winner over Port Lavaca.
“It is always hard to swallow the last loss of any season, especially when you make the playoffs. This one is no different, but probably more difficult because not only do I have to say goodbye to the seniors but this time to my son who is among them,” said coach Soza.
“We are very proud of our team for all they accomplished. They certainly exceeded our expectations. We will miss all of our seniors very much. We thank them for representing Beeville with class and wish them the very best as they move on to other sports and endeavors,” Soza said.
The Trojans worked hard for 444 yards of total offense in the contest. Kerrville managed 397 yards. Beeville ran for 251 yards and Soza connected on 18 of 26 passes for 193 yards through the air. Soza led all Beeville rushers with 83 yards on 12 carries. Botello added 69 yards on five totes. Jordan Nelson covered 54 yards in 10 attempts. Jeremiah Puentes had 42 yards on eight carries and Val Valdez had one carry for three yards.
Nelson hauled in four of Soza’s passes for 97 yards. Frank Gutierrez had five catches for 39 yards. Botello had three catches for 30 yards. Smith had two receptions for six yards and Derell Jackson caught two passes for 12 yards.
“Offensively, we played as hard as we could but just couldn’t get a break throughout the game, especially the second half. We needed something good to happen the second half and it just never did,” said coach Soza.
“Kerrville came out fired up and wouldn’t let us get into a rhythm of sorts. Give them credit for stepping it up when they had to.”
The Trojan defense held its own but the Kerrville play-makers came through when they had to.
“Defensively, we knew they would be hard to stop. They had too much speed and plenty of playmakers. They made the big plays in the second half and we didn’t answer back,” coach Soza said.
“Our kids played as hard as they could and left it on the field. The effort was certainly there.”