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East moves on with win over S.A. Jefferson

By aalvarado
Nov. 12, 2011 at 5:12 a.m.


FLORESVILLE - In the playoffs, momentum can turn with an interception or a big hit.

That's exactly what Justin Kalinowski delivered for the Victoria East defense.

Kalinowski had three interceptions and a momentum-changing hit on defense.

Johnathan Garner led the Titans on offense with 199 yards and three touchdowns in a 35-10 Class 4A, Division I bi-district win over San Antonio Jefferson as the Titans beat the Mustangs 35-10 on Friday night at Eschenburg Field.

The Titans (7-4) advance to the area playoffs to face Weslaco East, a 21-14 winner over Alice on Friday night.

The game has been scheduled for Friday at 7:30 p.m. at Javelina Stadium in Kingsville.

"I just used what we practiced all week and it ended up working to my advantage," Kalinowski said.

Although he already had an interception, Kalinowski saved his game-changing play for later in the first quarter.

The game was scoreless, but the Mustangs (5-6) drove to the Titans 38.

On first and 10, Jefferson quarterback Jorge Flores spotted wide receiver Mark Mangel over the middle and fired his way.

Kalinowski laid out Mangel and the Mustangs' hope for a big gain on the play.

"It's an adrenaline rush the whole time," Kalinowski said. "You don't really know what you're thinking until you lay him out."

In a hit that even NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell would approve, the senior launched his right shoulder into Mangel's abdomen and broke up the pass.

"The only thing I was thinking was somebody better pick up his mouthpiece," Garner said.

The play had a lasting effect on the Jefferson offense.

"That was a big play and it kind of made their receivers a little bit hesitant coming up the middle," said East coach Mickey Finley.

The East bench seemed to feed off the hit and the floodgates opened.

Jefferson's drive ended with a punt and Garner raced 71 yards for a touchdown on the Titans' next play from scrimmage.

East would continue with the quick strikes.

On the first play of its next drive, Garner ran 66 yards for a score.

Quarterback Nic Wallace then hit Deondric Lofton on a 51-yard pass across the middle to put East up 21-0.

After Kalniowski's second interception, Mason Tipton went 38 yards to the end zone on an option keeper.

The Titans put up 28 points in a span of 8:41 in the second quarter to turn the game into a laugher by halftime.

"We just got back to what we worked on and the kids executed it real well," Finley said.

Kalinowski broke four tackles en route to an 85-yard interception return for a touchdown late in the fourth quarter, but the run was nullified because of a penalty. The senior also had two more pass breakups that were nearly interceptions.

"He's been a great ballplayer for us all year," Finley said. "Big guys step up in the playoffs and he did that for us tonight."

Garner added his third touchdown run of the night with a 29-yard scamper in the third quarter.

The Titans defense held Jefferson to 266 total yards on offense and blanketed Jefferson wide receiver Emmitt Epperson.

"We knew he was one of their favorite receivers, so we paid attention to him and kept him under wraps," Kalinowski said.

Kalinowski had the same number of catches from Jefferson quarterback Jorge Flores as Epperson, who caught three passes for 63 yards.

The Mustangs got into the end zone for the first time thanks to Jorge Flores's 2-yard run. Flores led the Mustangs with 77 yards rushing on 20 carries and completed 11 of 27 passes for 150 yards.

Tipton had a memorable debut at quarterback for the Titans. The sophomore rushed for 109 yards and a score on eight carries.

Lofton's had the 51-yard touchdown reception and Kalinowski caught three passes for 38 yards.

The Titans will now prepare to play Weslaco East next week in Kingsville.

"We can't go in big headed," said Garner about next week. "We've got to go in and do what we're supposed to do and, hopefully, we'll come out with another W."

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