After the dust settled on  the field following their Friday, Sept. 24, game against Hebbronville, the Taft Greyhounds were left stunned by their first loss of the 2021 season, 35-28.

Both teams held each other at bay during the first quarter, entering the second scoreless, until Taft’s JJ Acosta crossed the threshold with a 28-yard rushing touchdown, and Aden Guidrey made good on the PAT. Almost immediately, Josh Suarez recovered a Longhorn fumble and scored a 50-yard return touchdown, allowing Guidrey to nab another extra point. 

Hebbronville started clawing back, when, moments later, the Longhorns completed a touchdown pass and a good PAT of their own. 

With three minutes left in the second quarter, Hebbronville completed yet another touchdown pass and PAT, to tie the score 14-14 at halftime. 

Taft came out strong in the third, with three minutes to go, when Suarez rushed in a 6-yard touchdown and Guidrey made good on the PAT, giving the Greyhounds a seven-point lead. 

Moments later, however, Hebbronville delivered a kick return touchdown and nabbed the extra point, once again evening out the score. 

With two minutes left, Acosta delivered a completed 35-yard touchdown pass to Jacob Martinez, and Guidrey made good on the PAT, ending the third quarter with another seven-point lead. 

As the fourth got rolling, Hebbronville recovered a fumbled ball by Taft, and by way of a long pass, the Longhorns were able to rush in a touchdown from the Greyhounds’ 4-yard line, but failed at an attempted two-point conversion. 

Then it all came down to the final minute of the game, as Taft still held the lead by a single point, when Hebbronville  managed another rushing touchdown – and this time, successfully scored its two-point conversion – finally ending the Greyhounds’ winning streak. 

Acosta delivered 15 carries for 127 yards and one touchdown, while going 8 of 18 passing with 140 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions. 

Steven Rivera rushed 29 yards on six carries, while Suarez rushed for 57 yards on four carries and one touchdown.

Taft’s defense forced three turnovers and scored a defensive touchdown in the process. 

“I’m proud of our team and coaches,” said Taft assistant coach Jose Rios. “We showed some guts and toughness all night. Hebbronville is an excellent team and we had a chance to beat them.”

Taft, currently sitting 4-1 overall and 0-1 in district, will next go up against archrival Odem in a district game at Owl Stadium on Friday, Oct. 1, at 7:30 p.m. 

•jwillden@mysoutex.com•

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