Tigers dominate Owls, win big in thrilling opener
Floresville’s Trey Gillis (10) returns the opening kickoff 89 yards for a touchdown to start the Tigers’ 41-2 thrashing of Highlands last Friday night.
FLORESVILLE -- Before the 2011 football season started, Floresville Head Coach John Baker said he wanted his team to get a good start. Well, Coach, it doesn’t get much better than an 89-yard kickoff return for a touchdown on the first play of the season. Oh yeah, and a 41-2 victory sounds pretty good too.
Trey Gillis, a junior at Floresville, is one of the school’s fastest runners. He’s a sprinter during track season, and he showed off that speed as he blew by the entire Highlands kicking team for 89 yards and the Tigers’ first touchdown of 2011. The team went crazy, the crowd went nuts, and Highlands, well, it was the beginning of the end for the Owls.
Following an Estaban Mireles kick, the Tigers led 7-0. Floresville sent its defense onto the field, and the Tigers kept up their intensity, shutting down the Owl offensive, and forcing a three-and-out. As Highlands lined up to punt the ball away on fourth down, they couldn’t have expected what was about to happen.
Hector Villegas, a sophomore running back for Floresville, took his place on the field and prepared to receive the punt. Villegas fielded the punt at the Tigers’ 24-yard line, and the speedy sophomore found an opening for 76 yards and a second Tiger touchdown. That’s right -- five total plays in the game, and Floresville led 14-0, following another Mireles extra point.
After another good defensive stand, the Tiger offensive finally got its chance to step on the field. Floresville wasted little time, and kept an electrified home crowd on its feet. The Tigers needed only three plays to score. Quarterback Colby Shodrock connected with receiver Jacob Flores for a big 43-yard reception, and Villegas capped off the 51-yard drive with a 3-yard run into the end zone. The extra point was good, and Floresville led 21-0 with more than half of the first quarter still left to play.
Things settled down a bit from there, and neither Floresville nor Highlands scored throughout the remainder of the first quarter. The second quarter was also largely scoreless, although the Tigers managed to spot Highlands 2 points by committing a penalty in the end zone, which resulted in a safety for the Owls.
In the second half, it was more of the same, as Floresville scored on its first three possessions. After a good defensive stand and a bad Highlands snap, the Tigers took over with a short field. Villegas capped off the 18-yard drive with a 1-yard trip to the end zone, and Mireles remained perfect to make it 28-2. Jonathan Saldana came up with a fumble recovery from his defensive line position, and Flores scored on a 17-yard touchdown reception from Shodrock.
The Tigers scored their final touchdown of the evening at the 9:15 mark of the fourth quarter, as Shodrock carried it in from a yard out. The extra-point attempt failed, but it was of little consequence, as Floresville ran away with the game by the final score of 41-2.
“We did a great job from start to finish,” Baker said of his team. “Kids played with great effort. We are more athletic than we have been in a couple of years, and I think that showed.”
Shodrock had a good debut under center, as he completed 4 of 10 passes for 80 yards and a touchdown. He also ran the ball three times for 10 yards and a touchdown. Villegas led the Tiger running game with 77 yards and two touchdowns on 23 carries. John Handowski showed his versatility as he also ran the ball six times for 23 yards. Flores had three receptions for 76 yards and a touchdown, and Gillis reeled in one catch for 4 yards.
Dominique DeWalt was named as the Floresville Player of the Game, Jacob Flores was the Offensive Player of the Game, Kyle Bippert was named Defensive Player of the Game, and Chris Draeger was recognized for Big Hit of the Week!
Floresville will travel to San Antonio this Saturday, Sept. 3, to face Lanier at Alamo Stadium. Game time is set for 7:30 p.m.