By Ashley Davenport
Medina Valley 7
La Vernia 24
The La Vernia Bear football team took victory over the Class 4A Medina Valley Panthers in the season opener.
The Bears got on the board early after scoring a safety in the first quarter when a bobbled Panther snap sailed over the head of Medina Valley punter Zach Sinor, and then rolled out of the back of the end zone.
Both teams struggled offensively during the first quarter.
The Panthers scored their first and only touchdown of the night in the second quarter with a reception by Steven Champlin for 33 yards with 6:39 left in the half. The extra point was good, and the score stood at 7-2.
Shortly after, with a 47-yard reception by Blake Burns from quarterback Colby Skelton, the Bears made their first offensive score of the night. Levi Andrews made the 2-point conversion run for the Bears, and La Vernia went on top, 10-7.
The Bears picked up their offensive game during the second quarter and continued to play strong throughout the game. Then, with less than a minute remaining in the first half, Dillon Doege made an interception for the Bears. With just 41 seconds remaining in the half, Skelton hit Justus Parker with a 52-yard pass to score the Bears’ second touchdown of the game. Kyle Douglas kicked the extra point for La Vernia, and the Bears led 17-7 at halftime.
At the start of the second half, the Panthers struggled offensively to carry out plays. The Panthers incurred 11 total penalties, with eight being “delay of game,” and four happening in the third quarter alone.
After a second interception by Doege, the Bears scored their third and final touchdown of the night with 5:20 remaining in the third on a 19-yard run by Vince Gill. Douglas booted the extra point, and the score stood at 24-7.
The Bears entered the final quarter with a 17-point lead, only needing to run down the clock to win the first game of the season. The Panthers made a last attempt with seconds left in the game as Kenny Gallegos carried the ball toward the goal line. Gallegos was downed just outside the end zone by the Bears’ Colton Parrish, however, as time expired on the clock.
While Medina Valley completed nine passes for 146 yards through the air, the Bear defense held the Panther running game to just 90 yards on 27 attempts. The Bears also came up with a fumble recovery and two interceptions.
Skelton completed five passes for 127 yards, and Gill led the ground game with 112 yards on 18 carries. Skelton also ran for 73 yards, and Jevante Anderson picked up 54 yards on 11 carries. Parker was La Vernia’s leading receiver with two catches for 55 yards, while Burns caught a pass for 47 yards, and Andrews reeled in another for 20.
The Bears will face one of their greatest challenges this Friday, Sept. 6, as the team travels to Port Lavaca to face the Calhoun Sandcrabs. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m.