Cuero holds off Yoakum in 107th version of DeWitt County rivalry
Sept. 3, 2016 at 1:30 a.m.
Video by Savannah Blake for The Victoria Advocate
YOAKUM - Tre Miles could finally exhale when the clock reached 52 seconds left in the fourth quarter.
The Cuero defensive back walked down the sideline after what he thought was an interception return for a touchdown was cut to 6 yards as the result of the Gobblers' 14th penalty.
But it hardly mattered to Miles, who had put the finishing touches on Cuero's 14-7 win over Yoakum before a full house Friday night at Bulldog Stadium.
"We never give up," Miles said. "My brothers beside me, I know they've got my back, and I've got theirs. At the end, we're going to get the job done."
The Gobblers, ranked No. 8 in Class 4A, overcame the humidity, their own mistakes and a determined Yoakum (1-1) defense and improved to 2-0 on the season.
"We're going to get better from this football game," said Cuero coach Travis Reeve. "It certainly wasn't always pretty from the offensive side. This will be a good opportunity to learn what it takes to win. But at the same time, the mark of a good football team is one that can find a way to win even when things don't go your way."
The Gobblers were penalized for 115 yards, turned the ball over twice and didn't score an offensive touchdown until the fourth quarter but still managed to hold off their DeWitt County rivals, who dropped to Class 3A, Division I in the UIL's last reclassification and realignment.
"We really didn't play like ourselves," said Cuero sophomore Jordan Whittington. "Adversity and trash talk, it gets in your mind and you lose focus of what you're supposed to do. Once we got focused on that, we started doing well."
Whittington got the Gobblers on the scoreboard, returning a punt 64 yards for a touchdown with 10:07 left in the first quarter.
But Cuero missed a chance to add to its lead when Yoakum's Tyler Williams recovered a fumble at the Bulldogs 25 in the second quarter.
Yoakum's Jordan Moore thwarted another Cuero drive late in the first half that reached the Bulldogs 7 when he intercepted a pass.
"It sucks losing. It just sucks," Moore said. "But I can't be more proud of these guys that I call my brothers on my team. It was a great one. We came up short, but I feel like we proved a lot of things to a lot of people."
The Bulldogs tied the game with 1 second remaining in the third quarter when quarterback Holden Lauer threw an 8-yard touchdown pass to Moore, who caught the ball despite being closely guarded.
"Our kids fought," said Yoakum coach Bo Robinson. "We played good defense tonight. Our young offensive line, they had mistakes and they have that good defensive line over that. But I was pleased with our kids. They played hard and they don't have anything to hang their heads about."
Cuero scored the winning touchdown after Tyler Edwards recovered a Yoakum fumble at the Bulldogs 46 with 3:27 left in the fourth quarter.
Three plays later, Kavian DeRouen ran around the right side for 36-yard touchdown with 2:13 remaining.
"I was just running through my gap and saw the ball and picked it up," Edwards said of the fumble recovery. "I was confident it was time to celebrate."
Yoakum put the Cuero celebration on hold by driving to the Gobblers 34 before Miles ensured Cuero's edge in the rivalry would increase to 69-32-6.
"Our defense played exceptional," Reeve said. "We really put our defense in a bind several times. They never gave in. You win with good defense. Our kids played great and their kids played great on defense. It was a good all-around defensive game."