PETTUS – Homecoming night is always a night to remember, regardless of the school, but it was especially memorable for the Pettus Eagles in 2019.

The hosts crowned their homecoming king and queen – Lee Garza and Ebony Gutierrez – before the game, then took care of business on the field to get their first win of the season Friday night.

“It’s great. It was great for kids. It was great for the coaches,” said Eagle coach Michael Enriquez about picking up the first victory of the year. “They just kept working hard and we had talked about finally putting it all together, and they finally did that.

“It wasn’t easy to start and things didn’t start well, but they kept on fighting and plugging away.”

Pettus grabbed the lead early in the second quarter, then ran away from the visiting Bengals over the final minutes of the second quarter and all the way through the second half.

Brooks opened the scoring three minutes in with a 5-yard touchdown run, but the Eagles knotted the contest up late in the first quarter when the homecoming king, Garza, hit Michael Barnes for a 41-yard touchdown before then kicking the game-tying extra point.

Two minutes into the second quarter, Damian Hernandez put the hosts in front for good, returning a Bengal punt 74 yards for a 13-7 Eagle advantage.

The Bengals got within three on a 32-yard field goal with 4 1/2 minutes left before halftime, but the homecoming king struck again on the next Eagle drive.

Garza raced 31 yards to pay dirt for Pettus before again adding the PAT kick to make it 20-10.

It was all Eagles in the second half.

Garza capped the Eagles’ first possession of the second half, a 12-play drive, with a 32-yard field goal with 2:46 left in the third.

On the next Bengal possession, Hernandez picked off a Bengal pass at midfield and raced 50 yards for his second return TD of the night.

That made it 30-10 with just 53 seconds left in the third.

Midway through the fourth, D’Rae Davis put the finishing touches on the breakthrough win with a 12-yard touchdown run.

The homecoming king finished with 13 total points on the night for the Eagles, rushing for 22 yards and throwing for 72 on 5-of-14 passing.

“We knew all along that Lee can be that kind of player for us,” Enriquez said about Garza. “He’s been battling injuries all year long and he’s finally getting healthy. This is what we expect out of him.

“The kids will follow him.”

Hernandez finished as the team’s leading rusher with 55 yards on the six carries. Joseph Constante carried it three times for 35 yards.

The Eagles will carry a 1-4 mark into this week’s bye week and will return to the field Oct. 11 in their District 15-2A Division II debut on the road against Runge.

“I talked to them Thursday and told them that Friday’s game was the biggest game we’ve had since (this coaching staff) has been in Pettus, just for everything,” Enriquez said about the importance of the win. “Going into the bye week with some momentum is huge for us.

“I think this win was the biggest one since I’ve been here, and we’ve had some pretty good ones. Getting this win was extremely huge for us.”

Kevin J. Keller has been the sports editor at the Beeville Bee-Picayune since 2014. He can be reached by email at sports@mysoutex.com or by phone at 361-343-5223, or you can follow him on Twitter @beepicsports.