About an hour before kickoff of Skidmore-Tynan’s home football game against Monte Alto, Keegan Westmoreland reigned over the school’s homecoming festivities as the new king.
The king then was the star of the first big play of the night for the Bobcats in their 38-0 drubbing of the Blue Devils at Bobcat Stadium.
Westmoreland got the scoring started for the Bobcats, returning a blocked punt 21 yards for a touchdown just over 4 1/2 minutes into the contest.
“It was pretty exciting,” Westmoreland said after the win, which moved the Bobcats to 4-1 overall and 1-1 in District 16-3A Division II play.
“We had been working on that play all week. We knew how they were going to line up and we were just ready to go at them.”
The play came at the end of Monte Alto’s first offensive series, and it came as no surprise to head coach Stephen Silva.
“We kind of said, ‘That thing is going to open wide,’ just because of the way they block it,” Silva said.
“I knew they had one guy to block and he had to take his pick and the other guy was probably going to come free. One guy blocked it and the other scooped it up.”
Monte Alto’s blocker – freshman Drago Hernandez – chose to try to block Westmoreland, leaving Walker Widner with a free run at punter Angel Zamora.
Zamora’s punt ricocheted off Widner’s chest, bounding back to the 21, where Westmoreland scooped it up and took off toward the north end zone for a touchdown.
“We talk about it all the time, that special teams are not a play off,” Silva said. “We may sub people here and there to get a couple of kids some rest, but for the guys who are on the field, it’s not a play off. It’s opportunity to make a big play.
“A blocked punt, a punt return, those are big time momentum swings a lot of the times, so we try to emphasize that.”
The big play helped ignite a Bobcat squad that had entered the game licking its wounds after last week’s setback in Banquete.
Skidmore responded to their poor performance in the district opener by pitching a shutout and racking up more than 400 yards of total offense.
“It was pretty big after last week in Banquete,” Westmoreland said. “... This week, we buckled down and worked on our offense, and I think it showed.”
Silva said the response displayed the character of his squad.
“To pick up and dust off, and show the character to come back and play well, is big,” the coach quipped. “Hopefully that momentum will carry us into our last four games of the year.”
The Bobcat offense racked up 323 rushing yards and 92 passing yards in the win.
Joe Guerra had 96 yards on 11 carries and scored both of the team’s second-half touchdowns on runs of 1 and 37 yards, respectively.
Michael Menchaca racked up 89 yards on 12 carries and scored the team’s only TD of the second quarter with a 3-yard untouched saunter into the end zone.
Marcus Gabriel rushed it seven times for 67 yards, while Sonny Mann had 29 rushing yards and Jacob Torres had 25 yards.
As a team, the Bobcats averaged 7.9 yards per carry on 41 rushing attempts.
Mann also went 5 of 7 through the air for 92 yards, including a 42-yard TD strike to Dallan Cheek that came 2 1/2 minutes after Westmoreland’s scoop-and-score.
Skidmore’s other three points came on a 28-yard field goal by Bennett Martinez with just two seconds left in the opening half.
The defense held Monte Alto to just 72 yards of offense on the night. The Blue Devils had minus-1 yard of total offense in the first half before tallying 73 in the second half to get out of the red numbers in the category.
Only one Blue Devil play on the night went for more than 20 yards, and 30 of the team’s 72 yards came on the team’s final drive that ultimately ended with an interception followed by a kneeldown by the Bobcats to put the win on ice.
“I’m pretty happy for those guys to come out and just execute, and not give up any big plays,” said Silva, who calls the defense for the Bobcats. “The last couple of games, it seems like we’ve always given up at least one. I’m pretty pleased with it.”
The win moved the Bobcats into fourth in the district standings, which feature Odem and Hebbronville at the top at 2-0, followed by Banquete.
The Bobcats go on the road this week to face Hebbronville at Gruy Stadium. Kickoff is slated for 7:30 p.m. Friday.