By Jeff Osborne
CUERO – All season the George West Longhorns relied on a dominating offense to overpower opponents. On Nov. 22, it was the GW defense’s time to carry the team to victory.
George West’s offense battled past a staunch defense, delivering a pair of lightning quick scoring plays to fend off a determined Edna Cowboy team 12-3.
While being embroiled in a defensive battle is not the type of situation the Longhorns are accustomed to, GW proved it was more than up to the challenge.
Edna tried to wear down the Longhorn defense by controlling time of possession and keeping the explosive George West offense on the sidelines in the first half.
But despite the Cowboys’ best efforts to play keep away, GW proved all it needed was an opening to seize control.
It took just one play for the Longhorns to grab the momentum, a thrilling 66-yard touchdown sprint by Michael Upton with 2:14 in the first quarter for a 6-0 Longhorn lead.
On the preceding drive, Edna chewed nearly six minutes off the clock but wasn’t able to convert that time of possession into any first quarter points.
By contrast, it took George West only 13 seconds to score its first touchdown.
Conventional wisdom says ball control wears down a defense, but in the first half the Longhorns showed they would not be worn down no matter how long Edna managed to hold on to the football.
Edna’s offense also showed quick strike ability late in the first quarter, as Logan Carroll completed a 30-yard pass to Logan Long to move the ball deep into Longhorn territory.
But with their backs against the wall, the George West defenders rose to the challenge. A pass deflection by Longhorn John Zuniga in the end zone on third and goal from the 6-yard line forced the Cowboys to settle for a field goal, trimming GW’s lead to 6-3 with 10:25 left in the second quarter.
Those would prove to be the only points the Cowboys would score, as the Longhorn defense delivered a lesson in determination and a refused to allow Edna to cross the goal line.
Edna would attempt another field goal, this one from the GW 35 with 4:35 left in the first half, but the kick was short.
Both team’s defenses dominated the remainder of the second quarter.
George West chose to display the ability to control the clock as well, starting the third quarter with a drive that ate 4:27 off the clock. Unfortunately, an incomplete pass in the end zone on a fourth and 10 play kept the Longhorns from extending their lead with 7:33 left in the third quarter.
Edna’s first offensive possession of the third quarter went nowhere, thanks to a strong GW defensive stand highlighted by John Zuniga’s sack of the Cowboy quarterback.
The Longhorns continued to give the Cowboys a taste of their own medicine on the next drive, controlling the ball with a series of tough runs to wear down the Edna defense.
On a third and seven play from the Cowboy 36-yard line, Longhorn quarterback Coltan Orr zipped past the Edna defense on a misdirection play and ran in for a touchdown with 2:01 left in the third quarter.
The extra point kick was blocked, but George West extended its lead to 12-3, which would turn out to be the game’s final score.
Edna’s attempt to answer the Longhorns’ score was snuffed out when the George West defense forced a fumble and GW defender Devon Smith recovered the ball.
Edna was able to make its own defensive stand and force George West to punt with 3:50 left in the game.
But this time, it was the Longhorn defense that rose to the occasion, sacking the quarterback, then overcoming a pass interference penalty and finally forcing an interception with 2:48 left to help seal the victory.
The Longhorns improved to 12-0 with the win and will face the 9-2 Hallettsville Brahmas at 7:30 p.m. Friday in round three of the Class 3A Division I Texas high school football playoffs.