ALICE – When Chris Soza walked into Alice Memorial Stadium last week, he wasn’t there to relive memories of his playing days or rehash his tenure as the Coyotes’ coach.
He was focused on only one thing: beating Alice in a game that was considered a must-win for his Trojans.
However, five turnovers – all in Alice territory – spoiled that and dealt a serious blow to Beeville’s playoff chances.
“You can’t win the game with (five) turnovers,” Soza said after the game, which was his first back in his hometown since he left for Medina Valley following the 2015 campaign.
“This is a game we should have won,” he said. “Both teams needed a win and we didn’t (win).”
The loss drops Beeville to 0-2 in District 15-4A Division I.
It leaves the Trojans in a position where they likely need to win at least twice in their final three contests, a stretch that includes showdowns with Calallen and Miller.
“It makes it more difficult,” Soza said about what the loss to Alice does to the team’s playoff chances.
“We’ve got to win some games we’re not supposed to, but it can be done.”
Beeville (2-5) was within striking distance throughout the night in Alice, but turnovers proved costly on several promising drives.
Alice dealt crippling blows early in the fourth quarter, first with its defense then with its offense.
With the hosts leading 14-7, the Coyotes killed a Beeville scoring chance by forcing a turnover on downs inside the hosts’ 20.
On the ensuing drive, Alice drove the length of the field behind backs R.J. Salaiz and Jesus Sanchez.
With 7:31 left, Sanchez rumbled 52 yards for a touchdown to extend Alice’s lead to 21-7.
“They just ran the ball. We just didn’t tackle them,” Soza said about that drive. “We didn’t make the plays. They just drove it down our throats and scored.”
Beeville fumbled it away on the first play of its next possession, and was forced to punt it back to Alice on the drive after that following a third-down sack that made it fourth-and-20 inside its own 10.
With 2:09 left, Alice put the game out of reach with a 12-yard passing TD that made it 28-7.
Beeville responded with a 76-yard TD pass from William Harper to Andre Trevino on the first play of the next drive, but the Alice successfully recovered the onside kick attempt and salted away the clock.
Harper finished the game 10 of 19 for 171 yards and two TDs.
His first TD was a 7-yard toss to Leroy Gonzales early in the first quarter that gave Beeville a 7-0 lead.
The Coyotes scored 28 unanswered after that, which included TD runs of 7 and 53 yards in the second half for a 14-7 halftime edge.
Trevino was Beeville’s leading receiver with 94 yards on three catches. Gonzales also caught three balls and had 54 yards receiving.
Trey Martinez was the leading rusher with 40 yards on nine carries. Harper carried it 11 times for 38 yards.
Jalen Spicer was held to just 6 yards on seven carries. He also caught three passes for 24 yards.
“I don’t know right now,” said Soza afterward when asked what positives he took out of the contest. “We’ve just got to go back and regroup.”
The Trojans return home Friday night to host Tuloso-Midway at Veterans Memorial Stadium. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m.