By Phillip Higginbotham
The La Vernia Bears dropped their Homecoming contest against the Southside Cardinals 17-10 Friday night.
“We accepted the challenge long ago and we have gotten better each week,” Head Football Coach Scott Grubb said after the game. “This has been a tough time for the players, but they know that this will prepare us for district play starting next week.”
In the first quarter, the Bears and Cardinals traded fumbles early. As La Vernia crossed midfield, Southside intercepted Garrett Spencer and returned the ball 44 yards to score the first touchdown of the game.
The second saw the Bears punt again, but the La Vernia defense forced a fourth and 2 near midfield. The Cardinals opted to try to run the ball instead of punting. La Vernia stopped the run 5 yards behind the line of scrimmage, giving the Bears great field position. The Bears moved down the field and kicked a field goal with 33 seconds remaining in the half. At halftime, the score stood at 7-3, with Southside leading.
After the Homecoming festivities at halftime, the Bears received the second-half kickoff. The kick return was marred by a holding penalty on the Bears. Four more penalties on La Vernia during the ensuing possession pushed the Bears all the way back to the 7-yard line. Wyatt Cowsert’s punt gave the Bear defense room to work, forcing a Cardinals 3 and out. The Bears had more penalty trouble and were forced to punt again. The following Cardinal drive moved the team down into scoring position, but the Bears’ John Hernandez picked off a Southside pass in the end zone. The third quarter ended with no change on the scoreboard.
As the fourth quarter began, the Cardinals were able to push the ball close enough to kick their own field goal and extend their lead to 10-3. But a sevenplay, 68-yard drive by La Vernia allowed Parker Beck to score a touchdown and tie the game at 10-10 with 5:12 left in the game.
The Cardinals drove the ball on their next possession until La Vernia’s Travis Puhlmann picked off a Southside pass. On the interception return, the ball was stripped away from Puhlmann in a pileup. The referees ruled that Southside had regained possession and the Cardinals would receive the ball and a fresh set of downs on the 50-yard line.
Southside drove down the field and punched the ball into the end zone with 22 seconds remaining in the game to take the 17-10 win.
“I was very proud of our kids for the way they battled until the end with Southside,” Grubb said. “These kids want to win as bad as any other team that I have ever been around. They are working hard every day to get that first win.”
He reminded fans that the Bears had a very difficult preseason schedule.
“We will get some extra time to work on Robstown this week because we are on our bye week,” he said, adding, “We have high expectations for our kids in district. Our goal is to win the district championship again.”
The Bears fall to 0-5 on the season. They have a bye Sept. 30 and will begin district play when the Robstown Cottonpickers come to town Friday, Oct. 7, with the kickoff at 7:30 p.m.