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Panther running game too much for La Vernia

Panther running game too much for La Vernia
The Bear offensive line protects Alec Dews as he kicks an extra point for La Vernia. The Bears fell to Medina Valley last Friday by the score of 40-13.

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Wilson County News
September 5, 2012
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La Vernia 13, Medina Valley 40

CASTROVILLE -- La Vernia Bear Head Football Coach Bo Robinson knew his team would be tested right out of the gates, as traveling to Castroville to face the Medina Valley Panthers wasn’t something anyone expected to be easy. The Bears put up a good fight, and can take some positives away from their 40-13 loss, but certainly understand they have some work to do.

Medina Valley struck first in the game, as standout running back Ben Mata showed off his 4.6-40 speed, rumbling 51 yards for a touchdown just 1 minute into the game. The extra-point attempt was no good, but the Panthers led 6-0.

The Bears fired right back on their first possession of the game, as junior quarterback Vince Gill showed his version of the same run, racing 54 yards for a La Vernia score. Alec Dews booted the extra point, and the Bears were on top, 7-6.

The remainder of the first quarter was the “Ben Mata Show,” as he led the Panther offense down the field and scored two additional Medina Valley touchdowns on runs of 13 and 16 yards, respectively. As the first quarter came to an end, the score was 19-7 in favor of the Panthers.

Most of the second quarter remained scoreless, but with just 12 ticks remaining on the clock, Mata broke through the La Vernia defense for 2 yards and his fourth touchdown of the half. The point-after kick was good, and the Panthers led 26-7 at the break.

Jonathan Groff scored the first points of the second half for Medina Valley as he ran in from 25 yards out. Gill and the Bear offense moved quickly following the score, though, and added 6 more to the board on a 52-yard run by Gill. The point-after kick was no good, and the score stood at 33-13 with a quarter and a half left to play.

The final touchdown of the game came midway through the fourth when Medina Valley’s Weston Beck scored from 3 yards out. The kick was good, and the final score was 40-13.

Despite the loss, the Bears showed signs of promise against the Class 4A team expected by many to win District 29-4A. La Vernia showed promise in a passing game that accounted for 119 yards through the air. Gill completed 8 of 13 passing attempts, and connected with five different receivers. Levi Andrews led the way with two grabs for 32 yards, Colby Sims and Dews each tallied 27 yards, and Rudy Mendoza caught a pass for 25. Jose Sahagun also had a catch for 8 yards. Gill ran 11 times for 62 yards, and Landon Richter ran five times for 15, giving the Bears a total of 77 rushing yards.

The Bears only punted the ball away one time, but put the ball on the carpet twice, and lost both fumbles. The Bears drew four flags throughout the night, but were only penalized 20 yards, a number Robinson has to be pleased with for a season opener on the road.

The Bears won’t have much time to make the necessary adjustments before receiving their second big test of the year. Port Lavaca Calhoun, another Class 4A powerhouse, is set to be in La Vernia this Friday night, as the Bears play their home opener. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. in Bear Stadium.

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