Sweet, Red Rage get big win one day after Memorial graduation

By Albert Alvarado - aalvarado@vicad.com
June 5, 2010 at 1:05 a.m.

Victoria Red Rage's Linebacker Dezmund Sweet runs the ball after a kick-off return during the first quarter against the Pearsall Bulls on Saturday.

Victoria Red Rage's Linebacker Dezmund Sweet runs the ball after a kick-off return during the first quarter against the Pearsall Bulls on Saturday.

Friday Dezmond Sweet was one of three members of the Victoria Red Rage to graduate from Memorial High. One day later, he was back on the field

Sweet celebrated his accomplishment at Memorial's project graduation, and his commitment to the team showed as the Red Rage extended their winning streak with a win over the Pearsall Bulls Saturday night.

For Sweet, Saturday morning was just another game day.

"I slept most of the day, got rest, ate a healthy breakfast," said Sweet. "I didn't let my graduation distract me."

The Bulls called the game after the Red Rage took a 34-6 lead with 5:52 left in the third quarter

Coming into the contest, Victoria had the second ranked STAF defense, but Pearsall took advantage of blown coverage on the third play from scrimmage when Nathan Valle found a wide open Norbert Chavez for a 66-yard touchdown that put the Bulls up 6-0.

Sweet would provide the momentum changer on the ensuing kickoff.

"I was ready to change the momentum and get the offense rolling," Sweet said.

The day after walking across the stage, Sweet took a short kickoff and galloped up the seem of the Bulls kickoff coverage 25 yards to set up the Red Rage in Pearsall territory.

The Red Rage used an early Keith Hradek to Steven Couch first-down pass to keep the Bulls back and set up two Henry Solis runs, the second for a two-yard touchdown to tie the game with 10:12 left in the first quarter.

After that the Victoria defense settled down, and although Valle threw for 126 yards in the first half, four Red Rage turnovers and pressure from the defensive line kept Pearsall off the board.

Valle completed his first three passes of the game, but the Victoria defense adjusted and he went 1-6 the rest of the game.

The game got testier in the second quarter and after the Bulls tried an ill-advised fake punt pass deep in their own territory that failed the Red Rage found themselves with a first down from the Pearsall 16.

It was time for the former Palacios Shark to make a play. Solis took the ball up the middle, got between three members of the Bull secondary and found the end zone for a 16-yard touchdown that put the Red Rage in front 12-6 with 4:41 left in the first half.

Sweet once again set the tone in the second half as he returned the opening kickoff in the third quarter 25 yards giving the Red Rage another short field and set the tone for the second half.

"It's all about momentum," said Solis. "He got our momentum flowing. When it's flowing there's no stopping the Red Rage offense."

Sweet's spurred a 14-point third quarter burst that gave the Red Rage command of the game just 1:32 into the second half.

Victoria was in business with a first and 10 at the Pearsall 44 when Solis took a hand-off up the middle and bounced it to the left side with nothing but grass standing between him and the end zone. Solis' third score of the game gave Victoria a 18-6 lead just 41 seconds into the second half.

The Red Rage would put the game out of reach just seconds later.

After a five yard kick return gave the Bulls the ball deep in their own territory, Valle's first down toss was overthrown and intercepted by Kennard Johnson.

Johnson returned the ball 35 yards for a touchdown and after a two point conversion the Red Rage led 26-6 with 13:28 to play.

Victoria would add a five-yard Hradek touchdown run and a two-point conversion that capped the scoring and lead to Pearsall calling it quits.

Victoria head coach Cody Shugart was happy with his team's ability to bounce back from a rough first half.

"I told them we have to stop playing around and get to dedicate ourselves to the game and they did that in the third quarter," Shugart said.

Shugart was also impressed with Sweet, Eduardo Jimenez, Tallen Perry and all the members of the Red Rage that were able to refocus after graduating this week.

"For them to have fun last night and come out and get the job done this morning, they did a great job," said Shugart.

This past fall Sweet was on Memorial High's last football team and received an honorable mention for the 2009 Victoria Advocate's All-Area team. Sweet played two varsity seasons for the Vipers.

Offensively the Red Rage were led by Solis' 131 yards on 14 carries with three touchdowns.

The Red Rage improve their record to 4-1 on the season, keeping them within a game of first place Cuero in the Cactus North division.

The Bulls were led by Valle who went 4-9 with 126 yards and a touchdown. The loss drops Pearsall's record to 2-3 on the season.

Next week, the Red Rage hit the road for a Saturday afternoon contest against the San Antonio Scorpions.



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