Quite an impressive rally by the Matadors at East Central Friday night. Seguin was down 21-7 and looked stuck in the mud offensively at halftime, but the Mats outscored the Hornets 24-0 in the second half to notch an impressive road win heading into the bye week.
I don’t know if it was head coach Jim Carson, offensive coordinator Mitch Ables, or defensive coordinator Claude Basset, or all three who delivered the halftime speech, and I don’t know if there was gentle encouragement or a fire-breathing rant. But it worked. The Mats came out breathing fire in the 3rd quarter. A few observations:
1) Can’t emphasize enough how big Chris Mcleod’s sack of Horents’ QB Eddie Lopez was late in the 2nd quarter. East Central had just recovered an onside kick at Seguin’s 45 after taking a 21-7 lead, and had a mindset of going for the jugular and putting the game away before the break. Mcleod busting through the line and sacking Lopez on first down basically killed that possession, and kept the deficit at a manageable 14 points going into the lockerroom. It was the play that allowed for the plays that led to the plays that led to the comeback. (Huh?) What I mean is…without that sack, the rally may never have happened.
2) Seguin’s receivers are coming into their own. Ideally, the quarterback has great protection, the receiver gets wide open, and the throw hits the target in stride. But it doesn’t always work out that way, and sometimes receivers have to flat out MAKE PLAYS to keep the offense moving. Dustin Read and Popeye Carter did a lot of that Friday night. Read made a couple of remarkable diving catches – one down the sideline for a first down, and one for the two-point conversion after his second touchdown catch to give Seguin a 24-21 lead. Carter made, perhaps, the catch of the game early in the fourth quarter when he basically did the splits at the one-yard line and came up with a shoestring grab of an underthrown pass to set up the Mats’ final touchdown, which produced the final 31-21 margin. (A photo of Carter’s grab, taken by our talented staff photograper Andie Rangel-Jenner, can be found in Monday’s edition of the Seguin Daily News, in the sports section of www.seguintoday.com, and on the Seguin page of Football Central.
Brig Gerlich, last weeks’ “Built Ford Tough Texas State Football Player of the Week” for his 338/ 125/ 3 TD outing against Georgetown, is a terrific quarterback, but he’s got to feel good knowing that he’s got receivers who can go get the ball and make tough catches if throws are occasionally off target.
3) Can we get a tip of the cap to Seguin’s offensive line for Friday’s performance? I’m talking about the fine work of Joseph Cheek, Anthony Razo, Chase Ramos, Christian Jackson, and Austin Worthy for consistently protecting their quarterback and opening holes against a beastly East Central D-line that averages 265 lbs and is led by OU-bound All-Area tackle Torrea Peterson. Nice work up front, boys. The Mats need more of the same in district play.
4) This team has a stout secondary. For the third straight game, safeties Bubba Lawson and Howard Matthews EACH intercepted a pass, and nickel safety Daniel Zamora recorded his second fumble recovery of the season. Cornerbacks Chris Carpenter and Mason Schmidt have done an excellent job in pass coverage, and Schmidt made some impressive open-field tackles Friday in run support against the Hornets’ All-Area tailback Chris Johnson. The Mats have some some serious athletes in that defensive backfield.
5) The officials were a liiiiiiiiiiitle flag-happy Friday night. I don’t want to get into criticizing officials – I understand that it’s an extremely difficult and often thankless job, but 30 combined penalties for 294 yards? I’m finding it extremely difficult to believe that the actual infractions in Friday’s game were that great in number. Maybe I’m wrong. The good news is, Seguin has two weeks on the practice field to work out the kinks and cut down on the penalties before district play begins.
6) And speaking of District 27-4A …it doesn’t look nearly as imposing as it did a year ago. Don’t get me wrong…it’s still a tough-as-nails league to play football in, but there are some teams that were hit hard by graduation, and early returns in non-district play indicate that only Steele and Kerrville-Tivy can be considered clear-cut favorites in any given district game involving the other five teams. Alamo Heights and Clemens will be tough, but they’re beatable, and Seguin gets the Mules at home. Boerne-Champion is a solid football team, though the Chargers are breaking in new starters at quarterback and tailback, but they also have to visit Matador Stadium this year. New Braunfels-Canyon and San Marcos look immenently beatable. So the pundits who picked Seguin dead last in this district may be eating their words when the Mats are strapping up their pads for a playoff game in November. Not guaranteeing it…just saying that Seguin fans have every reason in the world to be optimisitc about it. If the Matadors stay healthy, they are a playoff contender – even in this district.