It seems more than odd to say that defense stole the show in a game that saw a combined 80 points, but it certainly fits when you’re talking about Beeville’s second win of the 2021 prep football season.
The Trojans parlayed a pair of key defensive stops into a victory on homecoming night in front of the largest crowd of the season at Veterans Memorial Stadium Sept. 24.
Beeville improved 2-3 on the year and won its second game in three weeks with a 49-31 triumph over visiting La Feria.
“We needed it,” said Trojan coach Chris Soza about the victory. “We’ve been so close and had so many injuries the last few weeks.
“Going into our bye week, it’s really big. We’ll get to have this taste in our mouths for the next two weeks.”
Senior linebacker Bryce Foster echoed the sentiments of his head coach.
“I think it’s a really big win for us going into district,” he said. “We’ve played teams that are really good over the past few weeks and the outcome hasn’t been what we wanted, but I think this is really good for our confidence.
“I think this is really going to help us going into that first district game.”
Foster played a key role in Beeville’s two momentum-changing defensive stops that helped fuel the win.
First – with the crowd whipped into a frenzy after numerous Trojan players called for them to get louder – Beeville stopped La Feria on a fourth-down inside the Trojan 20 with Cameron Vega and Joshua Arroyos knocking down a pass in the end zone.
That stop preserved Beeville’s tenuous 35-31 advantage.
“I think that really changed the momentum of the game,” Foster said about the stop. “I really think it knocked down the other team’s confidence and it brought us together and made us think, ‘Hey, we’ve really got this game in the bag.’”
Soza had the same feeling as his standout linebacker.
“That was huge,” he said. “The momentum turned our way. The fan base was big. The home crowd was an advantage and fired the kids up. We kind of fed off that.
“The kids ignited themselves and the fans got fired up. Then we came right back and scored again.”
On the ensuing Trojan drive, Cade Elder sprung free and raced 57 yards to the end zone to up Beeville’s lead to 42-31.
Beeville came up with another fourth-down stop on La Feria’s next possession, and again capped its ensuing drive with a touchdown.
Darion Perez finished off that drive with a 7-yard touchdown run.
The TD capped a run of 21 unanswered points from the Trojans after they fell behind 31-28 early in the third quarter.
The first two quarters of the contest saw the teams trade four touchdowns apiece.
In the first quarter, Beeville scored on TD runs of 57 and 4 yards by Perez and Isaiah Gonzales, respectively, while La Feria had TD runs of 18 and 4 yards.
Beeville led 14-13 after one quarter.
In the second quarter, Beeville scored on a 1-yard TD run by Trey Barefield and a 13-yard TD catch by Jaime Del Bosque. La Feria, meanwhile, had a 35-yard rush TD and a 23-yard pass TD.
At halftime, Beeville led 28-25.
The Lions opened the second half with a 41-yard rush TD on their first possession, but they never scored again.
Beeville responded with a 34-yard pass TD to Gonzales, retaking the lead for good.
The Trojans’ key fourth-down stop came on La Feria’s next possession.
“It was just a great team win,” Soza said afterward.
The Trojans racked up 443 rushing yards on the night with Elder, Barefield and Perez also going over the 100-yard mark, which Soza said was the goal coming into the contest.
Elder carried it 10 times for 142 yards, while Barefield rushed 17 times for 116 yards and Perez tallied 114 yards on seven attempts.
“The line blocked exceptionally well,” Soza noted. “The guards pulled and trapped and made things happen.”
Victor Gonzales rushed for 40 yards and threw for 93 yards and two TDs on 7-of-11 passing.
I. Gonzales finished with 67 total yards – 34 receiving and 33 rushing.
Matthew Casas – who took the first snap of the game under center for the Trojans to earn credit for his first career varsity start – finished with 38 receiving yards on three catches.
The Trojans are off this week, but return to action Oct. 8 with a road trip to Port Lavaca to face the Calhoun Sandcrabs in the District 15-4A Division I opener for both teams.
Calhoun, which is also on a bye this week, has lost three straight games after winning its first two contests.
The Crabs lost to El Campo Sept. 10, by forfeit to Rudder Sept. 17 and to Houston Second Baptist Sept. 24.