CORPUS CHRISTI – A defeat can sometimes destroy any momentum a team has gathered.
But for Victoria East linebacker Ethan Farias, coming up short might have had the opposite effect.
The Titans had their chances to climb back into their District 15-5A, Division I opener against Corpus Christi Miller after trailing 28-14 to start the fourth quarter.
But Miller quarterback Andrew Body, running back McCullion Williams and receiver Cassius Clay added 14 points of insurance with 1:55 left in the game to seal a 42-14 win over the Titans at Buccaneer Stadium.
“It was a good experience for us, and this loss opened our eyes,” Farias said. “We came out slow in the first half, but we were great in the second half. As the game went on, our defense tightened up and we held them to 7 points until the final two minutes.”
The Buccaneers, who began the night averaging over 60 points per game, scored first on a Ezekiel Moya 32-yard touchdown pass from Body. Adraean Lloyd caught another 32-yard pass from Body to take a 14-0 first-quarter lead.
East running back William Garley scored both of the Titans’ touchdowns on runs of 3 and 1 yards.
Garley, who rushed for 97 yards, put East on the board four minutes into the second quarter with his first touchdown run.
Body added a touchdown run for Miller and wide receiver Ralph Rodriguez caught a 10-yard touchdown pass to give the Buccaneers a 28-7 halftime lead.
Body passed for 435 yards and four touchdowns to pace the Buccaneers’ offense.
“I’m proud of our kids,” said East head coach Roland Gonzalez. “We had a lot of kids who stayed on the field all night long and didn’t come off. Miller is a very talented group, but I’m proud of our kids for competing. We just weren’t able to get it done against a really good Miller football team.”
The Titans’ defense was able to stop Miller on fourth down four times, but so did the Buccaneers.
East received a boost from backup quarterback Latavian Johnson, who played running back in the second half.
Johnson, who rushed for 40 yards in the second half, sparked the offense late and gave the Titans a chance to come within 7 in the fourth quarter.
But a turnover on fourth down shifted the momentum back to Miller.
“He was a nice shining spot along Garley,” Gonzalez said. “Willam and Latavian did a great job despite getting banged up. Latavian really shined bright tonight.”
East received another strong effort from wide receivers Damion Robles and Terrance Terrell, who combined for 107 receiving yards from quarterback Ethan White.
Robles caught two passes for 62 yards and deflected a pass from Body to save a touchdown in the first quarter.
“I felt like I got better from previous weeks,” Robles said. “I’m glad I was able to help my team and for coach giving me the opportunity. I wanted to do the best I could to help us score.”
The Titans will look to capture their first win of the season against crosstown rival Victoria West next Friday at Memorial Stadium.
The Titans own a 6-3 edge over the Warriors since both schools opened in 2010.
East defeated West 31-28 last season.
“We have to come out with our heads on straight,” Farias said. “We can’t freak out over the crowd or other little things. We have to have to work together as a team.”
“We have to take this week of practice serious to prepare for our rival,” Robles added. “Hopefully we can come out on top with a win.”