Victoria West drops season opener to San Antonio Brackenridge
By BY CLAY WHITTINGTON - CWHITTINGTON@VICAD.COM
Sept. 2, 2011 at 4:02 a.m.
Updated Sept. 3, 2011 at 4:03 a.m.
SAN ANTONIO - The Warriors had a 14-point lead in their hands, and they let it all get away.
Victoria West opened its season with a rematch against its first-ever opponent Friday night in San Antonio, but the Warriors were unable to repeat last year's success as they allowed San Antonio Brackenridge to score 14 unanswered points in the fourth quarter and lost 20-14.
While the Eagles' second-half offensive production occurred entirely in the final period, West head coach Leonard McAngus could feel the momentum slipping early on.
"After the first quarter, offensively, we just struggled," the second-year coach said. "We moved the ball at times, and I thought we did some good things, but we just couldn't sustain drives.
"We would make mistakes, whether it be turnovers or penalties, and it would just crush us."
The Warriors scored touchdowns on two of their first three possessions in the game to construct a 14-0 lead and took a 14-6 lead into halftime.
The two teams went scoreless after the break until Brackenridge's combination of quarterback Anthony Garza and receiver Montae Whorton struck on a 31-yard connection 18 seconds into the fourth quarter. The duo combined for nine of the team's 16 completions and totaled 149 of the team's 237 passing yards in the contest.
Garza then found Jarrett Reed for the game-tying two-point conversion.
It didn't get much better for West after that.
On the ensuing possession, the Warriors worked more than four minutes off the clock as they drove to the Eagles' 19-yard line before attempting to reclaim the lead on a 36-yard field goal attempt. But Felipe Bastida's kick did not connect.
Then Brackenridge began marching toward victory.
The Eagles needed just nine snaps and three West penalties to work their way into the end zone for the go-ahead score with 3:25 remaining in the game. During the drive, the Warriors committed a pair of 15-yard penalties, including a roughing the passer call that negated an interception by Dylan Edgerton.
"That's a game that we let slip through our fingers," McAngus said. "If we would have just executed better, I think we could have won that game.
"I thought, defensively, we did a lot of good things, but our defense was on the field way too much in the second half, and we can't let that happen."
Despite their issues, the Warriors had an opportunity to win.
Down 20-14, West took control of the ball with 3:23 and survived a scare as Brackenridge was called for pass interference on fourth down, keeping the Warriors' hopes alive.
But three plays later, the Warriors (0-1) turned the ball over on downs, allowing the Eagles to simply hold the ball and wind the clock down to zero.
"There are so many things we can improve on," West quarterback Garrett Rother said. "I feel that we (executed) all right in practice and then messed it up in the game.
"We've just got to look forward to fixing those things next week and getting a win."
In his first varsity start, Rother completed 11 of 27 passes for 105 yards and two interceptions, while running the ball 18 times for a game-high tying 85 yards. His teammate Chris Franklin also recorded 85 rushing yards, needing just 11 carries to reach the mark.
"I made plenty of mistakes, and I have stuff to work on, as does the whole team," Rother said. "But this gives me drive for next week.
"Nobody likes this feeling of a loss on Friday night, so our job for next week is to get a win."
The Warriors began the game by taking the opening kickoff and advancing to the Eagles' 20-yard line before Rother's pass was picked off in the end zone by Brackenridge cornerback Joe Sifuentes
Despite the turnover, West's defense stepped up and forced a three-and-out, taking control at its own 41-yard line following a 31-yard punt. Five plays later Rother made up for his earlier interception by making a 26-yard touchdown run to give the Warriors a 7-0 lead.
On the Eagles' following possession, the Warriors again stood strong, forcing another three-and-out to take control inside Brackenridge territory at the Eagles' 46-yard line.
Once again, it did not take long for the Warriors to cash in.
West needed just six plays before junior Chaz Johnson broke free for an 8-yard touchdown run on fourth and 4.
The Warriors' 14-0 lead held until 8:40 in the second quarter when Eagles quarterback Garza punched in a 1-yard run to cap off a four-play drive in which the senior accounted for all 48 of the team's yards. Garza completed three consecutive passes prior to the touchdown.
The extra point, however, was blocked and West maintained a 14-6 advantage.
West's defense held the Eagles (1-1) to 126 yards in the first half and did not give up a first down until less than 10 minutes remained before halftime. Brackenridge did not help its cause either, committing four penalties for 40 yards.
Rother accounted for 99 yards of offense in the first half by rushing the ball 11 times for 59 yards and completing 5 of 13 passes for 40 yards with both of his interceptions. Franklin posted 81 yards on eight carries in opening half.