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Tigers maul McCollum in district opener
Tiger running back Gilbert Ortiz (1) looks for running room during Floresville’s dominating victory over McCollum to open district play. Ortiz ran for 170 yards on the night.
FLORESVILLE -- Game time was 30 minutes earlier with the start of their district schedule, but for the Floresville Tiger football team, the adjustment simply meant that they had more time to celebrate the win.
Floresville, 2-1 going into the game, kicked off its District 29-4A schedule at home last Friday against the 2-1 McCollum Cowboys. And while their records may have been even, the teams played on entirely different levels throughout the night.
The Tigers were set to receive the opening kickoff, but a little trickery caught Floresville off guard and gave McCollum’s offense the first opportunity to score. That didn’t happen for the Cowboys, though, and Aaron Laskowski came up with an interception in the end zone to kill the Cowboys’ drive. The Tigers then went to work and drove down the field. In the closing minutes of the first, Floresville struck with a 7-yard passing play from sophomore quarterback Koby Wilkerson to senior Kyle Bippert. Aaron Balles booted the extra point, and the score was 7-0 with 2:38 to play in the first.
McCollum took possession and was knocking on the door as the first quarter came to an end. The Cowboys took a shot at the end zone to start the second quarter, and Laskowski nearly came up with another pick in the end zone.
McCollum was forced to punt the ball away, and the Tigers took over at their own 3-yard line, but a pair of Cowboy penalties moved the Tigers up 10 yards. On the first actual play of the possession, senior running back Gilbert Ortiz found a seam through the McCollum defense and sprinted 87 yards for a touchdown. The point-after kick was good, and the score was 14-0 in favor of Floresville.
The Tigers gave McCollum good field position with a short kick that put the Cowboys on their own 40. The Tiger defense forced a three-and-out, however, and the Floresville offense went back on the field. Starting at their own 31, the Tigers went to the air on first down as Wilkerson connected with Zach Frantz across midfield and down to the McCollum 35-yard line. The Tigers got to the 28-yard line, but found themselves with a fourth-and-3 decision to make. Floresville gave the ball to Ortiz and he pounded straight ahead for the first down to keep the drive alive. Three plays later, Wilkerson ran around the corner on a keeper to score from 24 yards out, giving the Tigers a 20-0 lead with 5:35 to play in the half.
Neither team scored to close out the half, but McCollum got on the board early in the second half.
The Tigers kicked off to McCollum to start the half, but the Cowboys eventually had to punt. The Tigers failed to get their offensive machine in motion on their first possession of the half, as well, and soon punted back to the Cowboys. Unfortunately for Floresville, the punt was short, and McCollum took over at the Floresville 32.
McCollum needed exactly one play on that possession to score, as quarterback Ralph Vidal hit Mike Ramirez for 32 yards and a Cowboy touchdown. The extra point made it a 20-7 game.
The Tigers were looking to answer, and did so in a hurry. A short kickoff started the Tiger drive in McCollum territory, and a big run from Ortiz and passing play from Koby Wilkerson to Laskowski put the Tigers on the 1-yard line. The handoff then went to big Nick Wilkerson, who easily got across the goal line for a Tiger touchdown. Koby Wilkerson then made a great pass to Frantz for the 2-point conversion as he scrambled out into the flat, and the Tigers led 28-7.
Floresville went on to score two more touchdowns in the third quarter. One came on a 19-yard run from Wilkerson with 2:07 to play in the third, while the other came 13 seconds later as Bippert turned a McCollum passing attempt into a “pick 6” with a 42-yard interception return for a touchdown. With 1:54 to play in the third, the score stood at 42-7, a mark that would prove final.
Koby Wilkerson completed 6 of 13 passing attempts on the night for 93 yards and a touchdown, while also running seven times for 64 yards and two touchdowns. Ortiz handled most of the ground game with 170 yards and a touchdown on 19 carries. Mason Ray added 42 yards on four carries, and Cesar Hernandez ran four times for 10 yards. Bradley Bunn was the Tigers’ leading receiver with two catches for 32 yards. Frantz had a catch for 29, and Laskowski had the big catch for 20 to set up the Nick Wilkerson touchdown. Bippert had the touchdown catch of 7 yards, and Mark Livesay caught a pass for 5 more.
The win puts Floresville at 3-1 on year, and 1-0 in district play. The Tigers will travel to San Antonio this Friday, as they take on the unbeaten Harlandale Indians, considered by many as the favorites to win the district. Harlandale earned a 33-14 win over Medina Valley last week.
Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. at Harlandale Memorial Stadium.
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