“Friday night was a great win for the Trojans. I am so proud of our kids for fighting to the very end. We were faced with a lot of adversity on Friday night, and to see our kids keep their head up and fight through it and come out on top was awesome,” said Trojan head coach Troy Moses.
The two teams traded touchdowns through a fast-paced first quarter. Kingsville got things going with just a few seconds gone in the game on a 76-yard TD completion for a quick 7-0 lead.
The ball-control Trojans then used the next five minutes to drive 77 yards for their first touchdown of the game. A one-yard plunge from fullback Tristan Pelitire finished the drive, and the PAT kick from Marcos Ulloa was true for the 7-7 tie.
The Brahmas then went 64 yards on their next possession with a nine-play drive capped off with QB John Houston getting the TD on a short run. That made the score 14-7 with 4:35 left in the first quarter.
Beeville responded quickly as Joe Rey Garza took the Kingsville kickoff at around his 2-yard line. He found a seam and outran his pursuers all the way into the end zone for the Beeville TD. Ulloa made good on the extra point and the scoreboard was knotted again, 14-14.
Kingsville then marched 68 yards in just six plays. The big gainer was a 67-yard pass completion from Houston to receiver Joe Rodriguez on the first play from scrimmage in the possession. Houston went the final yard for the TD. The PAT kick was blocked by the Trojans to keep the score at 20-14 with just a little over a minute left in the first quarter.
The Trojans again answered as Roger Salazar slashed for a 25-yard scoring run after the hosts recovered a muffed punt by the Brahmas. Ulloa was again perfect and gave the Beeville boys their first lead of the contest at 21-20 with 7:23 left in the first half.
The pace then slowed as both teams were beset with turnovers. Kingsville also hurt themselves with numerous penalties that were too much for their offense to overcome. Neither team scored in the third quarter.
The Trojans had possession of the ball heading into the fourth quarter at their own 34-yard line. The defense had stopped the Brahmas dead in their tracks as defensive tackle Brent Puga brought down Houston for a six-yard loss on a fourth and eight call to turn the ball back to the Trojans on downs.
Beeville running back Steven Garcia rambled for 29 yards on team’s first play to get into Kingsville territory. Seven plays later, Salazar picked up his second TD on a one-yard plunge to put the Trojans in front 28-20 with 9:14 left in the game.
Kingsville failed to score on the next possession, and the Trojans could ice the game with another TD or run a lot of the remaining six plus minutes off the clock.
“Defensively, our guys did a great job in the last three quarters and OT, by not allowing the Brahmas to score. Early on, it was a track meet, with neither defense putting up much resistance, but I thought as the game wore on, our guys were tougher and did a great job of adjusting,” said defensive coordinator Kelly Black.
A Trojan touchdown was wiped off the books as a penalty was called on a QB Cameron Kremers to tight end Hunter Hardy aerial connection that would have been a 35-20 lead for the Trojans. The call nullified the play from the spot of the foul.
On the next snap, a fumble in the Trojan backfield was scooped up by Brahma linebacker DeAndre Bergen and returned for a Kingsville TD with 6:14 left in the game. Houston ran for the two-point conversion and scampered into the end zone to tie the game at 28-28.
The Trojans were forced to punt in their next possession, and the next drive by the Brahmas was cut short by a David Garcia interception at the Beeville 38.
The time in regulation ran out before the Trojans could muster a chance at another score.
Both teams got a chance on offense in overtime. The Trojans went first and stalled after picking up six yards from the 25-yard line starting point. Ulloa was well within range for a field goal try and completed his perfect night with a 36-yard field goal to give the Trojans a 31-28 lead.
Kingsville still had a shot to score a touchdown to win or add a field goal to tie and force yet another OT period.
The Trojan defense stepped up and, with the help of two Brahma penalties, pushed Kingsville back away from the 25-yard line. The visitors had a third and 25 call from the 40. A short gain of one brought up fourth down, and the Brahma “Hail Mary” pass attempt dropped to the ground in the end zone. The Trojans were victorious, 31-28.
The Trojans will take on the Ray Texans at Buccaneer Stadium on Saturday with a 6 p.m. kickoff.
“The Ray Texans are a much-improved team compared to last year. They have a very explosive offense and a lot of experience on defense,” said Moses.
“Defensively, they are big up front and play aggressively. I believe there are a few things we are going to be able to do offensively to take advantage of their aggressiveness.”
The Trojans came out of the game with Kingsville a little battered and bruised.
“I like where our team is right now. We are dealing with a few injuries, but I’m comfortable with the guys we have in those spots. We must stay focused each week and make a commitment to getting better every day,” Moses said.
Stat wise, the Trojans picked up 284 yards rushing. Salazar led the way with 89 yards of 14 carries. Garcia rushed for 60 yards on the night. Pelitire added 52 yards, while Eric Rosales rushed for 48 yards.
Kremers was four of 11 in passing for a total of 72 yards. Hardy had three catches for 66 yards, and Rosales caught one pass for six yards.
Linebacker Joey Granados had six solo tackles and two assists, and Salazar came up with four solo stops and three assists on defense.
Kingsville was held to 164 yards rushing and 123 through the air.