Bears grab first win against La Grange

Bears grab first win against La Grange
DAN SHERRARD/ "” La Vernia juniors Joseph Cortez (21) and Triston Neatherlin (61) drag down a La Grange ball carrier. The Bears welcome the Victoria West Warriors Sept. 22 to Bear Stadium.

By Phillip Higginbotham

The La Vernia Bear football team notched their first win of the 2017 season last Friday night, beating the La Grange Leopards 30-13.

The Bears had a difficult start to the game. Two early turnovers led to a 10-0 lead for La Grange. However, a 44-yard field goal by junior Brian Beltran and a touchdown run from Sophomore Diego Mendoza tied things up in the second quarter.

“We always talk about adversity, and we had it early,” said La Vernia Head Coach Chris Taber. “But they stayed the course and kept fighting.”

The Leopards kicked a late field goal before the half to take the 13-10 lead to the locker room.

That lead stood until the fourth quarter when junior Joseph Cortez ran 16 yards for another Bear touchdown to take La Vernia to their first second-half lead of the season. Mendoza and Cortez both found the end zone again, as the Bears coasted to a 30-13 victory.

There were noticeable differences in La Vernia’s effort this week. Third down was a focus for both offense and defense squads.

“It’s the most important down in a series,” Taber said. “We really stressed getting off the field to the defense and keeping the chains moving on offense. We were very focused ... on third downs.”

In addition, the Bears played a physical brand of football. That’s been a focus of Taber throughout the beginning of the season.

“Football is a physical game, and we always preach toughest man wins and we were the tougher team last night,” he said.

The Bears improve to 1-2 on the season. Coach Taber sees this as a win that was needed, and not just for the football team.

“I am very proud for our kids and our community,” the first-year La Vernia coach said. “We as La Vernia Bears needed a positive performance, and our kids delivered that.”

La Vernia will attempt to even their record Friday, Sept. 22, as they welcome the Victoria West Warriors (0-2) into Bear Stadium. The Warriors finished their 2016 season with a 4-6 record. However, one of their four wins was a 42-20 triumph over La Vernia in Victoria.

Kickoff is at 7:30 p.m.