BEEVILLE – For the first time ever, the Beeville Trojans are 10-0.
Beeville polished off the program’s first undefeated regular season Friday night with a 37-26 win over Pleasanton at Veterans Memorial Stadium, clinching the outright District 15-4A Division I championship in the process.
“I don’t know what I’m feeling right now. It’s an amazing feeling,” said Trojan quarterback Seth Gomez after the game Friday night.
“This has never happened in Beeville America. I mean, 10-0, that’s just a shout-out to the coaches and that’s about all the hard work we put in.
“I’m just glad to be a part of this team. I love this team with everything I have.”
In the history of Beeville football, which dates back to 1911, five teams – 1957, 1976, 1980, 1981 and 2001 – had gone 9-1 in the regular season with the 1980 team coming the closest to an undefeated campaign with a 7-0 start before a loss to Gregory-Portland.
This year’s Trojans battled through a sluggish performance against the visiting Eagles to complete the first unblemished campaign.
“Before the season even started, all the offensive linemen wrote down goals we wanted to achieve and they were win district, go 10-0 and leave a legacy. I think we met those goals,” said Trojan center Matthew Gomez.
“It’s just amazing. I really can’t describe how I feel right now.
“People are going to remember us. Our names our up there now. People can’t forget about us.”
The win also gave coach Chris Soza the first undefeated campaign of his 35-year coaching career.
“Who’d have thought with me getting here in May that we’d be 10-0 at this point?” he pondered after the win, which also featured the obligatory “Gatorade” shower for the coach.
“It’s not an easy thing to do. The 35 years of my career, I’ve never done it. This is a first time for me, so it’s a personal milestone.”
The win was by no means pretty with Soza emphatically agreeing when asked if it was the definition of an ugly win.
“Give (Pleasanton) credit. They were playing for a playoff spot,” the coach said. “They played their hardest and our kids kind of let them stay in the game.”
The Trojans got in front 15-0 in the first quarter, but Pleasanton rallied back to make it a one-point game by halftime.
The Eagles stuck around in the second half as well, twice making it a two-point game during the third quarter.
Late in the third, Caleb Bozant came up with a key play that finally turned the tide.
With Pleasanton backed up deep in its own territory, Bozant rushed off the edge and wrapped up Eagle quarterback Nathaniel Acevedo in the end zone.
Acevedo got rid of the ball before Bozant could bring him down, but he was flagged for intentional grounding, which resulted in a safety and gave the Trojans a 30-26 lead.
“Coach (Zane) Brown put me in a five (technique). I was in a three, but he switched it up, and then I just used my speed and got past the guy and got the safety,” Bozant said about the play afterward.
“That was game changing.”
Brown wasn’t sure if his team was going to get the call at first, he said afterward.
“My initial reaction was that it was safety, but then I saw the officials starting to congregate,” he said. “Those things can be, ‘Hey, let’s put it right here at the 1.’ That could be sketchy, but I was sitting over here politicking for that safety.
“That safety was huge. They had all the momentum going. … That was huge for us in the scope of the game. It helped us to finish strong.”
It was the swing in momentum that Beeville needed, Soza said.
“We needed that. It was momentum again,” he said. “… Those are big. We got the call. I was afraid we weren’t going to get the call, but we got the call. It worked out.”
The Trojans clung to that four-point edge throughout the fourth until S. Gomez finally put it away for his team.
Following an interception by William Harper, the Trojan QB rumbled 14 yards around left end to the end zone with 1:54 left.
“It felt awesome,” S. Gomez said about the win-clinching score. “(Pleasanton) had a hell of a defense. They were shutting down the inside game, shutting down the outside.
“I told (Eric Soza), ‘Coach, let’s do a fake to (Jalen Spicer) and get to the outside.’ That’s what we did and we scored on it.”
Harper sealed the deal on Pleasanton’s next possession with his second interception of the night, allowing the Trojans to kneel out the win in victory formation.
S. Gomez had his hand in on three of the team’s five touchdowns, while Spicer accounted for the other two.
Spicer opened the scoring in the first quarter with a 15-yard TD run to give the Trojans the 7-0 advantage four minutes into the contest.
S. Gomez then threw his only TD of the night 4 1/2 minutes later, hitting Gabe Carranco for a 7-yard TD in the back of the end zone to make it 15-0 after the two-point conversion.
Pleasanton closed to within 15-14 by halftime, though, scoring on a 3-yard TD run and then a 5-yard TD catch by Dalton Hobbs, the district’s leading receiver.
Spicer opened the second-half scoring as well with a 3-yard TD run, but Pleasanton responded four minutes later with a 10-yard TD pass.
S. Gomez finished the next Trojan drive with a 75-yard TD run.
He was dragged down from behind on the play, drawing a personal foul penalty that was assessed on the kickoff.
With the additional yardage, Beeville tried an onside kick and successfully recovered it, but the Trojans were flagged for an offside penalty, negating the recovery.
Pleasanton then scored on the first offensive play of the ensuing drive with a 78-yard TD pass.
The Eagles forced Beeville to punt on its next drive to get the ball back.
Bozant’s safety came three plays later.
S. Gomez finished the game 7 of 14 for 80 yards through the air and rushed for 104 yards on eight carries.
Spicer registered his fourth 100-yard performance of the year with 113 yards on 14 carries.
Matthew Puente rushed for 65 yards for the Trojans, while Devn Palacios had 44 yards on the ground.
“I’m just proud of these boys. They hung in there,” C. Soza said. “We didn’t play very well and had some things going on. But, we just kept self-inflicting ourselves with penalties it seemed like.
“But they overcame it. They believed. They never wavered. It was just a total team effort. I’m just so happy for them and for Beeville.”