Warriors beat Floresville for share of district lead
Early on in the season, one could be reasonably asked if Kyle Motal could hold onto his job as starting quarterback for Victoria West.
He had struggled in two straight losses, including an ugly shutout loss to Bay City at home, and the Warriors needed a win for their confidence more than anything.
But over the last three weeks, that had been changing. Motal had been steadily building his resume, helping the Warriors to three straight road wins, including late heroics in the last two.
"I just keep working hard every day and getting better," he said.
And after Friday night, he left no doubt.
The senior quarterback threw for three touchdowns to three different receivers and added two rushing touchdowns of his own as the Warriors extended their District 30-4A record to 2-0 by handing Floresville its third straight loss, 49-28.
Motal finished the game 11-of-17 passing with 211 yards, and rushed for 83 more and two touchdowns. Much of it was borne out of rolling with what the Tigers defense gave him.
"We're just taking what they give us, run plays, option plays, I see a hole and I take it," he said.
Biggest of all for the Warriors quarterback was a 39-yard touchdown run on third and long. Originally, he was supposed to throw the ball, but all of his receivers were covered.
So he tucked it and ran.
"It was really just a pass play, I saw a hole and I just took it for the score," he said. "I'm just doing the best I can out there."
The Tigers and the Warriors were both 4-2 heading in, but were heading in opposite directions. Victoria West was coming off a three game road trip where they had won all three by a combined 11 points, including an overtime win at Beeville last week.
Floresville had lost two straight, including games to San Antonio Antonian and Gregory-Portland, and it looked poised to lose early. Chris Franklin ran the ball in on the third play of the game from 29 yards out, and was followed up later on with a 46-yard pass from Motal to Jared Dolezal to widen the lead.
Motal would hit a wide-open Seth Harrison in the second quarter for a 55-yard score. He also hit Josh Valdez for a 23-yard touchdown after West recovered a fumble early in the third quarter.
The Tigers sputtered on both sides of the ball, twice being stood up on the Warriors goal line by the West defense. The second followed a blocked punt, which left Floresville on the West's 13-yard line.
Coach Leonard McAngus said his team doesn't usually get off to fast starts, and indeed the Warriors had been outscored 23-7 in the first quarter in their previous six games.
But Friday night was different, as the coach said offensive coordinator Courtney Boyce had a plan.
"We've struggled early on in games, and I think our kids did a good job right out of the box," McAngus said. "It was fun to watch."
The Warriors defense struggled in the second half, though, mostly caught off guard by Floresville's switch at quarterback from Micah Clements, who spent most of the game running the ball, to Garrett Pollok, who focused on throwing the ball.
"The film always tells us some things you don't see," he said. "I thought we started good and we kind of bogged down in the third quarter, and they made it interesting at the end, at least more interesting than I want it to be."
Still, McAngus said he's happy with the way the defense played early on.
"They hadn't thrown the ball a whole lot, and they fell behind and I think they felt they had to," he said. "We had some goal line stands early, they got close but didn't get in. I was proud of our defense on how they held them out."
Penalties hampered the Warriors all night and particularly in the second half. They committed 11 penalties for 83 yards, including five false starts.
On the second quarter drive that Motal ran broke for a touchdown on third down, the Titans had committed three alone for 20 yards.
"We lost some concentration, it's something we have to get fixed," McAngus said.
NOTES: With the win and with Calhoun's upset of Gregory-Portland, 33-30, the Warriors are now tied atop the district with crosstown rival Victoria East (5-1, 2-0), which won in Beeville. The Wildcats were ranked 11th in Class 4A entering Friday's action.
"We come out here and work our hardest, and with a four game winning streak, we're going to keep on going and on a roll," Motal said.
But McAngus is well aware of the challenge ahead of his team, starting with Calhoun.
"Calhoun is as good a team as there is out there, those coaches do a heck of a job down there," he said. "We have to be ready for them. . We still have three great teams ahead of us."
The Warriors travel down Highway 87 to Port Lavaca next week, before playing their final official home game against Gregory-Portland on October 29. They will be the road team against Victoria East on November 5 to close out the regular season.
PINK OUT: Text messages went out to parents and players alike before Friday's game, asking fans to show up and "pink out" the stadium in support of breast cancer awareness. Players and coaches were wearing pink wrist bands and using pink tape, and about a third of the fans in attendance on the Victoria West side were clad in pink for the event.