Tigers hold off second-half surge to top Lanier
Tiger running back Ruben Benavides (7) races for the corner during Floresville’s Sept. 21 win over Lanier. Benavides ran for 217 yards and three touchdowns during the game. (JOHNNY DE LA ZERDA/Reprints at wilsoncountynews.com)
SAN ANTONIO -- After a late rally by Lanier threatened to steal what appeared at halftime to be a sure victory, the Floresville Tigers were able to hold off the Voks and win last Friday’s non-district football matchup, 35-25.
At the start of the game, the Floresville offense looked sharp as Lanier struggled to find an answer to Ruben Benavides’ brutal running game. Benavides, who rushed for 217 yards on the night, scored two touchdowns in the first quarter alone. It seemed to be all Tigers, as the Voks appeared to be outmatched in both speed and strength.
The first score of the night came less than four minutes into the first quarter as Benavides broke through the Lanier defense from 13 yards out. Esteban Mireles added the point-after kick, and the Tigers were on top early, 7-0.
On Lanier’s ensuing drive, the Voks drove the ball well, using only about two minutes to make their way deep into Tiger territory. Unfortunately for the home team, the ball came loose as they were looking to score. Even more unfortunately for the Voks is that the ball made its way into the hands of the very speedy Trey Gillis, who scooped it up and ran it back the length of the field for a 97-yard touchdown return. Mireles was two for two kicking the ball, and Floresville held a 14-0 lead with 6:11 still to play in the first.
A good Tiger defensive stand on Lanier’s next possession quickly put the ball back in Floresville’s hands. The Tigers wasted little time in scoring again, as Benavides scrambled 63 yards for the touchdown. Mireles was on the mark, and Floresville held a 21-point advantage with 3:32 remaining on the first-quarter clock.
Early in the second quarter, the Voks got on the board as Isaac Cervantes punched the ball in from 3 yards out. The point-after kick was good and the score stood at 21-7.
Floresville had put together a strong first half of football, but the Tigers weren’t done scoring quite yet. Floresville moved the ball quickly into Lanier territory, got it down inside the red zone, and then celebrated again as John Huber found room to run across the goal line from 17 yards out. Mireles knocked the extra point through, and it was Floresville with a good lead, 28-7.
After the half, the Tigers appeared as though they might be content with their lead, and the Voks seemingly took full advantage.
Lanier quarterback Nicholas Garcia led the charge downfield for the Voks as they scored again and again on Floresville, tightening the gap. Lanier scored its first of three third-quarter touchdowns on a 5-yard passing play from Garcia Hector DeHoyos. Garcia ran in the second touchdown from 35 yards out, and then reconnected with DeHoyos from 20 yards deep to score the third. Lanier failed to convert on any of their point-after attempts, and the score stood at 28-25 as the teams began the fourth quarter of play.
But the Tigers would not be outdone, as Colby Shodrock led his team for a final scoring drive that would end in a Benavides touchdown to seal the deal. Benavides officially ran it in from the 2-yard line, and Mireles stayed perfect on the night to make the final score 35-25.
Floresville High School Head Coach Jeff Luna said this was an impressive win for his team.
“Lanier is a good football team,” Luna said. “These guys fought hard to come back. We had a good lead at halftime, but we have to learn to finish strong.
“Our kids played great and did an impressive job,” he added. “We have McCollum next week and it’s our district opener. We are going to be ready.”
The win bumps the Tigers up to 2-1 on the year, as the team now transitions to District 29-4A play. Floresville will open the district season on the road against McCollum this Friday, Sept. 28. The game will start a half-hour earlier than normal, as the teams kick off in Harlandale Memorial Stadium at 7 p.m.