Update for December 5, 2013
LP’s gambles pay off in win over Sabinal
By Jeff Berger
San Antonio -- No matter where Sabinal turned, La Pryor was right there.
Unable for 48 minutes to shake loose of the Bulldogs, the Yellowjackets, big winners in a September contest, lost the rematch to La Pryor, 35-27, in a Class 1A-Division II regional playoff last Friday, Nov. 29, at Gustafson Stadium.
With the upset victory, La Pryor (9-4) advances to face state-ranked Falls City (12-0) this Friday. Dec. 6, in a state quarterfinal matchup. Game time at San Antonio’s Farris Stadium is 7:30 p.m.
Sabinal ends the year at 10-2.
The Bulldogs, playing as though they had nothing to lose, rolled the dice time and again, going for it on fourth down nine times. They converted four, but two were on fake punts which went for one touchdown and kept another scoring drive alive.
LP created the first big break of the game, blokcing a Sabinal punt less than two minutes into the game. Starting at the 9-yard line, however, they surrendered the ball on fourth down at the 5 as the Jacket defense stopped the threat.
On the third play of Sabinal’s possession, quarterback Dylan Lopez found Matt Miller for a 74-yard pass, reaching the LP 7. Lopez scored on a keeper the next play, and Matt Medina added the PAT for a 7-0 lead with 7:52 left in the first quarter.
LP was again stopped on downs at the Sabinal 45. This time, the Jackets couldn’t get in sync, with four false start penalties on the possession, before turning the ball over after reaching the red zone.
The teams traded punts, leaving LP at its own 22. On 3rd-and-8, quarterback John Ray Gonzales found Jonathan Witt open. Witt had one step on the coverage, and stayed one step ahead all the way to the endzone on a 76-yard scoring play. The Jackets were penalized for a late hit in the endzone, and LP opted to take the penalty on the extra point, moving the ball to the 11/2-yard line. From there, Luis Perez crashed into the endzone to give the Bulldogs an 8-7 lead midway through the second period.
A Sabinal punt followed by a 20-yard LP return put the Bulldogs in business at the Jacket 35. But a fourth down pass from the 26 was intercepted by Medina, who returned it 27 yards to near midfield.
On the next play, Lopez sprinted 58 yards to the endzone. Medina ran in the two-pointer to make it 15-8 with 1:29 left in the half.
Unfazed, the Bulldogs countered quickly. JR Gonzales passed to Chris Gonzales for 34 yards, and on the next play, Perez hit Chris Gonzales in the endzone on a 31-yard halfback pass for a score. Robert Samaniego stopped the Bulldogs’ two-point try, to keep the Jackets ahead 15-14, with 47 seconds left in the half.
Angel Hernandez returned the ensuing kickoff 52 yards to the LP 26, giving the Jackets one more chance before the break. A 20-yard pass from Lopez to Skyler Mireles put the Jackets at the 6, but things bogged down and the clock ran out with Sabinal at the 2-yard line.
On their first possession of the second half, the Jackets, who had stopped LP on another fourth down try at midfield, got the third TD from Lopez, who kept it 36 yards to the endzone with 7:33 left in the third. The missed extra point left the score at 21-14.
La Pryor started at its own 38, and soon faced a 4th-and-6. A punt snap to the blocking back, Chris Gonzales, went for 33 yards to the Sabinal 25. On 4th-and-3, LP used a hard snap count to get the Jackets to jump offside. Then on 4th-and-2 from the 5, Perez fought into the endzone, the third fourth down conversion of the drive, with 2:02 left in the third. Robert Castillo kicked the extra point to tie the score.
A Sabinal fumble, the Jackets’ only turnover of the game, at the La Pryor 38, set up an impressive Bulldog drive. JR Gonzales passed to Witt for 28 yards. On 3rd-and-5, fullback Ben Bliss bulldozed for 14 yards to open the fourth quarter. On the next play, Bliss duplicated that effort for a 15-yard touchdown run and a 28-21 lead.
Sabinal came right back with its own score. Medina returned the kickoff 34 yards, and got all four carries on the drive, including the 47-yard scoring burst with 9:22 to play. The extra point was wide right, keeping the Bulldogs ahead by a point.
LP picked up one first down just across midfield, but again faced a 4th-and-8 at the Sabinal 48. The Jackets sent no one back to field a potential punt, suspecting another fake might be in the works.
It was, but it worked anyway. This time, Perez slipped behind the defense and took a pass from Witt in stride for the 48-yard touchdown and a 35-27 lead with 5:41 to play.
A quarterback sack forced the Jackets to punt, but when LP went for it on their next fourth down, Juan Aguilera intercepted the pass and returned it 26 yards to the La Pryor 48 with 1:51 left in the game.
But four incompletions later, LP took over and ran out the last 90 seconds.
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