CORPUS CHRISTI – Victoria East quarterback Latavian Johnson could think of many things that went wrong during Friday night’s District 15-5A, Division I game against Corpus Christi Flour Bluff.
But Johnson quickly referred to the third quarter as the turning point.
Flour Bluff recovered two consecutive onside kicks to start the second half and scored 28 unanswered points en route to a 57-28 win at Hornet Stadium.
“It was tough,” Johnson said. “At first, it was getting to me, but I didn’t want to let it. I needed to keep my head up for my team and stay positive.”
The Titans (3-4, 3-2) kept things close in the first half behind two touchdown runs by running back Alan Jimenez.
Jimenez, who rushed for 102 yards on 15 carries, has now scored 12 touchdowns in his last three games.
“It felt great, but it wasn’t enough,” Jimenez said. “We have to improve on the mistakes we made and not get stuck in the loss. We have to keep moving forward.”
The Hornets struck first early in the first quarter on a 1-yard touchdown run by running back Isaac Miles.
Bryce Hall opened the second quarter with a 1-yard touchdown run of his own before Jimenez put East on the board with a 5-yard score.
Hall and Jimenez exchanged scores again to end the first half with Flour Bluff leading 22-14 at halftime.
But the Hornets went on to score four touchdowns in the third quarter to pull away.
“Our guys did a great job of keeping us in the game in the first half,” said East coach Roland Gonzalez. “Flour Bluff did a good job in moving the ball consistently against us. They’re special teams in the third quarter, and us going against the wind hurt us. It put the defense in bad situations.”
Flour Bluff (5-1, 4-0) received a game-high 298 rushing yards from Miles, who finished with two touchdowns.
Bryce Hall, who rushed for 49 yards, led Flour Bluff with four rushing touchdowns.
Jimenez and Johnson combined for 166 rushing yards to lead East.
“This game doesn’t define us,” Gonzalez said. “We have have a lot of season left. We have to remember what our goals are and push toward those goals.”
The Titans came alive in the fourth quarter when William Garley scored on a 23-yard touchdown run.
Daemien Robles gave East more reason to celebrate after scoring on a 100-yard kickoff return for East’s final points of the night.
“We made a lot of mistakes, but this game showed us what we need to work on,” Robles said. “This game showed we have what it takes to play with one of the best teams in district.”
The Titans continue district play next Friday at home against Corpus Christi Veterans Memorial.
The Eagles are coming off a 47-21 win over Corpus Christi Moody.
East’s loss moves the team into fourth place in the district standings.
Flour Bluff remains tied for first place with Corpus Christi Miller, a 65-13 winner over King.
“We want to take this and use it as motivation for the next game,” Johnson said. “Anything can happen in a game, and I want to take what happened in the third quarter and use it to progress and make sure it doesn’t happen again.”