East's Deondric Lofton makes opponents ache
Victoria East Titans (2-5, 1-2) at Beeville Trojans (2-4, 0-2)
Friday, 7:30 p.m.
Veterans Memorial Stadium
Radio: KNAL 1410 AM and KTKO 105.7 FM
After Victoria East's District 30-4A opening loss to Tuloso-Midway on Sept. 28, Deondric Lofton walked around Memorial Stadium peg-legged.
His right knee was swollen, restricting his movement around the field. He had twisted it earlier in the game on a play in which a Warriors' defender had chased him out of bounds.
If anyone doubted that the junior wide receiver would be back in uniform next week, they shouldn't have.
Lofton was confident.
"I was good enough to play. My knee healed up pretty good," Lofton said.
Lofton and the new-look Titans (2-5, 1-2) offense will go for their second district win of the season on Friday when they visit the Beeville Trojans (2-4, 0-2).
Against West last week, Lofton had five catches for 121 yards and two receiving touchdowns to go along with 10 carries for 88 yards and another rushing score.
"Mainly we were successful because of our offensive line," said Lofton about East's offensive explosion. "Our offensive line stepped up tremendously and everyone just gave a hard effort."
In his second full season on varsity, Lofton is the team's leading receiver with 452 yards and six touchdowns.
The new coaching staff was aware of what Lofton was capable of when they got to Victoria back in the spring.
"When we first got here, the word on Deondric was he was an exceptional athlete with great work ethic, and that has held true to form," said Titans coach Roland Gonzalez.
Even when the Titans offense isn't on the field, Lofton has had a knack for making plays. He's teamed with sophomore Jonathan Ortega to return kickoffs, and also has experience on the defensive side of the ball.
Lofton has returned two kicks this season for 175 yards, including a 90 yard touchdown return against T-M.
"If feels real good to know we can go out there for special teams and take it to the house," Lofton said.
His teammates value what he's able to do.
"He's a good athlete, he's one of the fastest dudes on the team," Ortega said.
East looks to carry over the momentum built by key offensive position changes such as lining Ortega up at quarterback and getting the ball into Lofton's hands a total of 16 times last week.
"It's difficult to play a perfect game, but we're striving every week to get better," Gonzalez said.
Defensively, the Trojans are allowing 28 points and 259 yards per game.
The Trojans run a slot-T offense that spreads the wealth, as well as the defense out.
"It's a very deceptive offense that tries to get defenders going in directions that the offense wants you to go in, which is usually away from the ball," Gonzalez said. "It's important that our kids are disciplined in the fact that they read their keys and go where their assignment is."
The Trojans ground game is led by Roger Salazar who has rushed for 460 yards and has seven touchdowns.
Three other backs have carried the ball at least 40 times with Steven Garcia and Tristan Pelitire averaging more than five yards per carry.
Beeville has only thrown for 487 yards and five touchdowns all season.
"They ran a crazy offense that did a whole lot of things," said Lofton about last year's game. "I couldn't really tell who had the ball until it actually popped out."