Turnovers hurt ’Hounds in 42-14 loss to East

By ARMANDO GARZA
Special to the NEWS

(Staff photo by Ray Quiroga) San Benito Greyhound quarterback Cristian Sierra is seen launching a pass on Thursday against Weslaco East at Bobby Lackey Stadium.

(Staff photo by Ray Quiroga)
San Benito Greyhound quarterback Cristian Sierra is seen launching a pass on Thursday against Weslaco East at Bobby Lackey Stadium.

WESLACO — The scoreboard doesn’t lie: There aren’t many ways to sugarcoat a 42-14 victory by Weslaco East over San Benito on Thursday night.

But despite the loss, which was not as distant as the final score indicates, there are some silver linings for the Greyhounds.

Plagued by turnovers and some costly miscues, the ’Hounds found themselves in a 21-0 hole before the cheese for the concession stand nachos was ready. An interception in the end zone became a 50-yard Alexis Cervantes touchdown while a fortuitous fumble bounced right to J.C. Vargas, who streaked 75 yards for a TD. After a conversion, East led 14-0 with 4:17 left in the first quarter. Then a San Benito punt gave it again to East, which drove 64 yards on 10 runs, culminating with a three-yard score from La Villa Cardinal-turned Wildcat Lupe Moron (157 yards, TD) for a three-TD lead early in the second quarter.

It was that punch (three, actually) to the mouth that stunned the boys in white and purple and it would be interesting to see how they’d respond on a dripping muggy night at Bobby Lackey Stadium: At that point, they could hang their heads or claw back into the contest.

“We did some growing up,” ’Hounds head coach Dan Gomez said. “We told the kids we were gonna find out what type of character we had when he got hit in the mouth. We’ve talked about not giving games away and making people earn it against us. They’re (East) a great team and always have been, but we gave them some opportunities so there was a little mixture of both tonight.”

“Let’s keep fighting and chip away!” coaches could be heard barking on the sideline as players nodded in agreement.

That’s when the axes came out.

The San Benito offense, which was for the most part superb as it racked up 445 total yards, began to march and answered with a 10-play, 71-yard scoring drive. On the possession, the ’Hounds averted disaster after QB Cristian Sierra (153 yards passing, 122 rushing) was blasted from behind and coughed up a fumble which East recovered. However, a holding penalty on the Wildcats negated the play and gave San Benito second life. Sierra later pounded in from two yards away to close the gap to 21-7 at the 7:28 mark.

Then, although a minute victory vs. a Wildcat team that ran the ball 50 times on the evening (for 425 yards) and passed just once on a trick play, the ’Hound defense forced an East punt. A good runback from fleet-footed J.R. Gaitan set up San Benito at the East 31. It took just three plays for burner Gabriel Vasquez (108 yards rushing) to dash in from 14 yards away and cut the deficit to seven with 3:55 left before half.

The fans were rowdy, the sideline was pumped and it carried over onto the field as San Benito forced another Wildcat boot with 1:07 to go.

Big plays from Vasquez (14-yard run), Sierra (17 yard run) and Vasquez  again (26 yards) put San Benito at the East 38 with time ticking down. A couple of clock issues erased some precious ticks and the effort stalled as Sierra found Brandon Huerta, who charged for 23 yards down to the East 10 as time expired.

With the energy all on San Benito’s side, East knew it had dodged a bullet. That’s when coaches preached to get back to their style of football to put the game away.

“They (’Hounds) had the momentum and we came out and played East football. That’s all we asked em,” East coach Mike Burget said afterward. “Twenty-four minutes of East football and you saw what our defense was made of. Our guys can play (defense) and we always knew that.”

True to form, East side showed its “strong side” after intermission.

The boys in black capped a 66-yard drive when QB Darren Rivas burst up the gut for a 31-yard TD to open the second half. San Benito appeared prime to respond when Sierra rumbled 34 yards down to the East 1, but a fumble on the next play gave it back to the Wildcats, who seized the chance.

East embarked on a 16-play, 96-yard voyage which took almost eight minutes off the clock. On the drive, the Wildcats converted on four third downs and scored on a fourth-down play via a 5-yard run by Rivas with 10:44 left in the game. That made it 35-14 East, which would tack on another TD later when Angel Flores put an exclamation point with a 78-yard TD jaunt with two minutes to go.

There will be no time to sulk for San Benito, which entertains McAllen Memorial next Friday night at Bobby Morrow Stadium.

 

Permanent link to this article: https://www.sbnewspaper.com/2014/09/05/turnovers-hurt-hounds-in-42-14-loss-to-east/

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