Stormy weather set the scene and postponed kickoff until 8:30 p.m., as lightning lit up the night sky and the stadium and rolls of thunder could be heard in the distance. But fans from both sides packed the stands and paid no attention to the weather.
Fortunately, the rain subsided for nearly the entire game as these local rivals competed for this year’s bragging rights.
The Longhorns came on strong in the first quarter, and by halftime the score was 21-6.
The Bulldogs pulled one last touchdown in the final half but couldn’t keep up with the Longhorns’ stampede, and the game ended with George West 35 and Three Rivers 14.Three Rivers
TRHS senior quarterback Hagan Johnston said the Bulldogs made some good passing plays, but the initial kickoff gave George West the momentum they needed to score.
“Obviously it didn’t go the way we wanted it to, we’re dissapointed,” Bulldogs coach Randy Palmer said. “It’s hard because it means a lot to the kids, the town and the community because we wanted to beat those guys. But, it’s time to go to the next one; winning playoffs and championship is out top goal.”
Senior Bulldog halfback Robert Moreno said the Bulldogs needed to improve on their blocking and pursuit of the ball, and to pick it up at kickoff. But, he also said the running back ran hard and there weren’t too many mistakes on offense.
“I think we could have done a lot better than we did,” Moreno said. “It puts us down a lot, but it’s not district. I feel good about districts, we have a chance to do well.”
Johnston said George West had an advantage as a large 2A school.
“Robert Moreno and Jesse Perez were running hard on offense,” Johnston said. “Then Weston (Huff) got a good sack on defense.”
The Bulldogs were back on the field practicing hard not even 12 hours after Friday’s game was over.
“I thought we were able to move the ball offensively, but turnovers hurt us and giving up plays hurt us too,” Palmer said.
Palmer said the Bulldogs will be focusing on preparing for districts by getting things right on a more consistent basis.
“We’re going to focus on staying together as a team and not let this past game tear us apart,” Johnston said.
The Bulldogs are up against Falls City on Friday at the TRHS field at 7:30 p.m.George West
Longhorns coach Jay Newberry said the Longhorns won all three aspects of the game, offense, defense and special teams. But he also said the Longhorns had too many penalties on the field.
“It’s always big when you play with a rival, and it’s sweeter when it’s Three Rivers,” Newberry said. “But, I’m not from here, and I’m friends with (Coach Randy) Palmer, and it’s fun to beat friends.”
He said the team played hard, executed well and had plenty of turnovers to their advantage.
Senior Longhorn strong tackle Eli Garcia said the beginning of the game was tough due to defensive plays getting cut. He said the Longhorns’ sweeps worked well compared to their inside plays.
“Avery (Pawelek) had a good game and rushed 200 yards for 11 carries, not bad,” Newberry said.
“Avery tore it up,” Gacia said.
Pawelek credited his teammates playing well with his being able to break away from the action and carry the ball so far down the field. He said this was his personal best for a game, and it felt good to do it against George West’s rival.
“They improved a lot, and it shows,” Pawelek said. “We’d been struggling and needed a win, and it feels great.”
Garcia said the offensive line played well too.
“Our linemen stepped up this week, and I’m pretty proud of them.”
Garcia said beating Three Rivers felt good because the Bulldogs had been “running their mouth” since, prior to Friday, the Longhorns were 0-3 and the Bulldogs were 3-0.
“I don’t want to be mean about it, but it’s good to shut them up,” Garcia said.
Newberry said the Longhorns will spend this week preparing for their district opener this Friday against Goliad at 7:30 p.m.