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Pirates win season opener
Poth junior running back Phillip Garza (7) looks for an opening during the Pirates’ 8-7 win over Marion Aug. 26 to start the season. Garza carried the ball 21 times for 147 yards and a touchdown during the game.
Sports CorrespondentAugust 31, 2011 2,140 views 3 comments
POTH -- Texas high school football kicked off last Friday night as the Poth Pirates welcomed the Marion Bulldogs to Jack Lane Field. The Pirates, coming off a very impressive 2010 campaign, which found them deep in the playoffs, looked to stay competitive as they coped with the loss of key players on both sides of the ball.
Doubt was simmering in the hometown crowd, as a noticeable size advantage was apparent during warmup drills. Uncertainty began with the 6-foot, 6-inch, 240-pound quarterback Derek Pierce taking the snaps, and was reinforced with the return of star running back Doug Giles. With only 18 Pirates strapping on helmets, doubt seemed justified.
The first drive of the 2011 season resulted in the disappointment many seemed to expect, as Pierce methodically handed the ball off to Giles and the senior running back picked his way through holes in the Pirate defense, and the Bulldogs marched down the field with ease.
With 9:42 still left in the initial quarter of the 2011 season, the Pirates found themselves trailing when Giles plunged in from 3 yards out. Alex Eladhari added the extra-point kick, and the Pirates quickly found themselves trailing 7-0.
Slowly but surely, though, the Pirates showed what Head Coach Andrew King instills in his players -- a will to win.
With seniors Hunter Dugi, Chase Wiatrek, and Antonio Cantu finding a way to break through the oversized offensive line to provide constant pressure on Pierce, the prototypical quarterback was never able to find a rhythm and was intercepted by senior Phillip Garza and sophomore Blake Lyssy.
Along with the pressure provided by Cantu and company, senior linebacker Braden Lyssy led the way, providing punishing hits on Giles, and the Bulldog offense was stalled.
Then, during the first drive of the third quarter, a stagnant Pirate offense broke loose when quarterback Braden Lyssy handed the ball off to star junior running back Phillip Garza. Bulldog defenders swarmed on Garza as soon as he touched the ball, and he seemed trapped in the backfield for a loss. One quick, nifty move had two Bulldogs grabbing nothing but air, and Garza made his way into the secondary. There, his maturing talents were displayed as another quick, but subtle, move left the last two remaining Bulldog defenders with a chance to stop him while grasping at his wake. Sixty yards later, the Pirates were on the scoreboard for the first time of the 2011 season. Coach King took advantage of what he obviously found to be a rare opportunity, and called for a 2-point conversion attempt. The Pirate quarterback, Braden Lyssy, took the defining snap and powered his way through two Bulldog defenders to cross the goal line and give the Pirates an 8-7 lead with 9:40 remaining in the third.
As the defensive pressure led by Cantu grew, and the Pirate offensive line began to manhandle the larger Bulldog defensive front, the doubts soon became a reality of an 8-7 Poth Pirate victory.
This week, Coach King and his Pirates will take the coveted short trip down U.S. 181 for their annual matchup with longtime rival and defending Class 1A state champion Falls City Beavers. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. in Beaver Stadium.
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