Cuero upsets La Grange, earns playoff berth
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CUERO - Cuero offensive lineman Caleb Harvey knew not many people believed the Gobblers were a playoff team after their loss to Yoakum.
But Harvey didn't care what anyone else thought.
"Of course, you've got to move on," Harvey said. "That was in the back. You've got to look at what's ahead of you and take it."
Cuero completed its stunning District 26-3A turnaround with a 21-13 win over La Grange on Friday night at Gobbler Stadium.
Cuero improved to 5-5 with its third straight win and finished district play with a 3-2 record.
The Gobblers finished in a tie for second place with Yoakum and advanced to the Division II bi-district playoffs as the third seed against Bellville.
"The only people who believed we were going to be here was our kids, and that's all that matters," said first-year Cuero head coach Travis Reeve. "The kids believed in themselves, and I'm just so proud of them for overcoming so much adversity and we accomplished a great feat making the playoffs."
Cuero ended its one-season playoff absence by handing La Grange (8-2, 4-1) its first loss in district play and snapping its eight-game winning streak in the process.
The Leopards will be the Division I representative and play El Campo in bi-district.
Cuero's game plan for beating La Grange duplicated the formula against Smithville and Gonzales.
The Gobblers ran the ball behind their big offensive line and mixed in enough passes to keep the Leopards off balance.
"The strength of our football team is we've got a great offensive line," Reeve said. "We got healthy at running back at the right time and we had two running backs instead of just one. That's the thing that's been working for us. We decided to play to our strengths and that's what we've done."
The Gobblers ran the ball on 46 of their 60 plays, and had a time of possession edge of 28 minutes 48 seconds to 19:12.
"We are the physical line of the district," Harvey said. "There is no line more physical than Cuero. Enough said that's it. People can't stop us up front."
Cuero running backs D'Anthony Hopkins and Ray Horton each had 18 carries. Hopkins gained 86 yards and scored two touchdowns, and Horton had 56 yards.
The Gobblers also scored on a 45-yard pass from Blake Reeve to Justin Rossett in the second quarter.
"We knew we had a good team," Hopkins said. "Everybody believed in each other, and everybody played together."
La Grange penetrated Cuero territory six times, but scored only one touchdown on a 7-yard run by Bralon Hutchinson in the third quarter.
The Leopards reached the Cuero 25-yard line with 1:13 left in the fourth quarter, but D'Andre Gallagher intercepted a pass in the end zone to seal the win.
"Our defense has played fantastic the last three or four weeks," Travis Reeve said. "Coach (Travis) Fallon and our defensive staff have done a good job of putting kids in places they can make plays. It's just a testament to our kids who are playing well at the right time."