SEASON IN REVIEW: West improves, but comes up short of playoffs
Nov. 12, 2012 at 5:12 a.m.
Updated Nov. 13, 2012 at 5:13 a.m.
Breaking Down the Warriors
• Strengths: loved football, loved each other and they wanted to see each other be successful.
• Weaknesses: inexperience in some areas.
• Passing: Garrett Rother, 100-176, 1,286 yards, 15 TDs, 8 INTs.
• Rushing: Rother, 155- 1,081 yards, 10 TDs; Qualian Bryant, 116- 733 yards, 13 TDs.
• Receiving: Jacob Armstrong, 31 - 313 yards, 5 TDs; Tony Navarro, 22-307 yards, 4 TDs; Malcolm Peoples 18- 301 yards, 4 TDs.
• Defense: Nathan Hermes, 74 tackles, 4 fumble recoveries, 2 forced fumbles; Navarro, 51 tackles 2 INTs, 2 fumble recoveries; Chaz Johnson 68 tackles.
Throughout the season, Leonard McAngus would mention how much his Victoria West football team loved the game, and loved playing with each other.
They may have, which probably made the conclusion of the 2012 season all the more devastating.
Friday's 56-41 loss to Gregory-Portland meant the Warriors finished the 2012 season with a 5-5 record - and outside the playoff picture. McAngus, West's head coach, recalled that conversation with his team in Portland was an emotional one, especially for the seniors who played their final varsity game.
From quarterback Garrett Rother, to offensive linemen Jonathan Vahalik and Jake Wallace to linebackers Xavier Ramos and Chaz Johnson the Class of 2013 spearheaded a team that showed marked improvement from a disappointing 2-8 season in 2011. Albert Beamon and Ralph Gonzalez were among the 27 seniors whose careers ended Friday.
"We just had some quality kids in that group that bought into what we were trying to do," McAngus said. "They love the game of football. They are the kind of kids you want representing your school. I was very proud of how those kids led our team."
The Warriors won more games, scored more points and allowed fewer points than Victoria East. However, West was six points short on Oct. 12, and that touchdown was the difference in which Victoria school is preparing for the playoffs this week.
West lost 54-48 that night. At one point they trailed 21-0 in the first quarter and 34-6 in the second quarter before rallying in the second half.
In three of the Warriors' four district losses this year they faced 20-point deficits, only to rally to make the game interesting. It happened against the Titans, in a Nov. 2 loss to Calallen and Friday night against Gregory-Portland.
West's fourth district loss was a 42-21 setback to Calhoun, a game that was tied 14-14 after the first quarter.
"We didn't reach our ultimate goals, as far as winning championships," McAngus said. "But, I think our kids learned a lot of perseverance, playing the game for the right reasons and playing for each other. I think they learned a lot about finishing and not giving up. Even though it wound up not being a win in the end, I don't think there was a game our kids didn't' play their guts out until the last play."
At the time the Warriors couldn't have known an 11 yard pass from Rother to sophomore Malcolm Peoples with 1 second remaining against East wouldn't have mattered much in the playoff scenarios, but it illustrated McAngus' point.
McAngus said he hoped his team learned life lessons through football this season. In a way, the Warriors season - which started with a humbling loss at Lockhart, climaxed with a fourth straight win over Beeville and ended with a valiant effort in Portland - resembled life.
"We think for the whole program everything has improved," McAngus said. "We had a good freshman team, our JV had some come-from-behind wins and a good record and our varsity improved a great deal over the last year. I was really proud of our seniors and the leadership they showed this year."