SAN ANTONIO – Pettus football coach Michael Enriquez isn’t short on experience, but even he had never seen what happened to his Eagles in their Week 2 game Friday night.
Pettus got just one possession in the second half on its way to a 40-28 loss to St. Gerard Catholic at St. Gerard Alumni Field.
“It was something like I had never been a part of,” Enriquez said of the way the second half played out in what his team’s second straight loss to open the season.
“We burned our timeouts to try to change out fronts to get some stops, but we just couldn’t put things together at the right time.
“... When you only get the ball one time in the second half, it’s hard to win a football game.”
The hosts – coached by longtime South Texas coach Tim Holt – had just two possessions in the second half.
Their first possession was a 12-play scoring drive that featured two fourth-down conversions and was capped with a 2-yard touchdown run that gave them a two-possession lead.
“I think it affected us big time,” Enriquez said about the Royals’ first possession of the second half.
“It was the first time since I’ve been here that I saw our kids look at you and say, ‘What do we do now?’ We tried to change personnel, we moved bigger kids to the ends, we put our smaller kids to try to get pressure up the middle.
“We tried a whole bunch of different things. When it didn’t work, you could see it in (our kids’) faces (that they didn’t know what to do).”
The Eagles then got their only possession, which lasted 14 plays before stalling out deep in St. Gerard territory.
The Royals pieced together another ground-and-pound drive that chewed up the rest of the clock in the second half. They took a knee on the final play to seal the win.
“(The kids) played hard. We just couldn’t get a stop,” said Enriquez.
The second half was essentially the polar opposite of the first half, which featured a combined nine touchdowns and 62 total points.
Pettus had the lead four different times before falling behind with less than minute left in the second quarter.
Joseph Constante rushed for a 30-yard TD to open the scoring, then threw a 3-yard TD to Michael Barnes with 2:11 left in the first quarter to make it 14-7.
He added a second TD run 43 seconds into the second quarter to make it 20-14.
St. Gerard scored a minute later to tie the game for the second time, but Damian Hernandez quickly broke the tie with a 77-yard kick return TD with 9:54 left in the half.
That gave the Eagles what would be their last lead of the game, 28-20.
Four and a half minutes later, St. Gerard scored on a 14-yard run and got the PAT run to tie the game at 28.
Then, with 55 seconds left before halftime, the Royals scored on a 35-yard run to take their first lead since 7-6 in the first quarter.
“I was pleased with that,” said Enriquez about the play of the offense in the first half. “You score 28 points in the first half, you should be going in with the lead to halftime.”
St. Gerard took the opening kickoff of the second half and marched 57 yards for the dagger. The drive ate up more than eight minutes of the third quarter.
Constante finished as the leading rusher for Pettus with 114 yards on 13 carries.
He was also 5 for 13 for 43 yards.
Matthew Carrillo rushed for 72 yards on 11 totes.
The Royals ran 50 total plays – all rushes – and tallied 361 yards.
The loss dropped the Eagles to 0-2 for the first time since 2015, the year before Enriquez’s tenure began.
“I think we’re very close,” the coach said about how close he thinks his team is to getting their first win in his fourth season at the helm. “... They know we are just a couple of bounces away from getting this thing fixed.”