Lessons learned for Titans, Warriors
Sept. 13, 2010 at 4:13 a.m.
Before the game against Harlingen South, Victoria East coach Mickey Finley said one of the biggest keys to his team's early success was special teams, particularly the kicking game.
Games early in the season, he said, are won and lost on mistakes in that part of the game.
It was a statement that proved prophetic for both East and Victoria West in their Week 2 matchups.
"We did a lot of good things, we just made too many mistakes," Finley said of his team's 39-35 loss to Calallen. "It's just the things you stress to them in practice, that little things make the difference, and I think that they can learn that that was the truth, like the kicking game."
In both games, special teams played a role in who won. For East, a wild snap on a punt to open the second quarter shifted momentum from East, which had scored 21 straight points, to a talented but one-dimensional Calallen team.
The missed snap, which resulted in the Wildcats getting the ball deep in Titans territory, turned the game the other direction. Calallen rattled off 32 straight points over the next two quarters.
"We were just a little too slow making those adjustments on the field as coaches, we've got to be able to do that better," Finley said.
It caused a domino effect that hurt the Titans.
"We kind of lost our composure I thought, in the second quarter when things weren't going as we thought they should," he said. "We let it keep building up instead of getting it adjusted earlier, and that's a coaching deal that we have to fix."
The Warriors, on the other hand, had Corpus Christi King on the ropes.
For three-an-a-half quarters, Victoria West had more or less dominated the Mustangs only way of moving the ball - their running game.
"We felt pretty good going into the third quarter," said wide receiver Seth Harrison. "I don't know if we gave up or thought we had it in the bag or what."
Suddenly, the Warriors found themselves down. King got two touchdowns to take a one point lead, a bad snap on an extra point in the third proving costly.
"Kicking game usually tells the tale, and we didn't do what we needed to do to win this," said Warriors coach Leonard McAngus.
But that wasn't the end of it.
The Warriors put themselves in position to win. On fourth down and inside two minutes, they were inside the King 10 yard line. McAngus called a time out and sent the field goal unit on.
It was a chip shot for Felipe Bastida, not much more than an extra point.
The snap went flying past his head and backward, the third bad snap of the game, and the most costly of them all, sealing a 14-13 King win.
The Warriors defense again showed it was capable of shutting down talented players, holding King down as much as they could.
"Defense put us in a position to win the game," McAngus said.
At this point, losing was probably for the better. No one likes it, but doing it early means you learn from mistakes now rather than waiting until the games matter more.
The lessons learned by East and West are good ones. Both teams have now seen a high-functioning option offense that is built on running the ball every time, and will be prepared for it later.
Harrison said he was already past the loss, as are the rest of his team and the players on East.
"We're going to come out on Monday as though nothing happened," he said.
John Hornberg is a sports reporter for the Advocate, covering Victoria East and West. Contact him by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org, or comment at VictoriaAdvocate.com.