Floresville rallies past Cardinals
Sophomore quarterback Koby Wilkerson settles under center during the Floresville Tigers’ regular-season finale with Southside. The Tigers will advance to the playoffs, where they will face the Port Lavaca Calhoun Sandcrabs.
SAN ANTONIO -- The first half didn’t go exactly as planned for the Floresville Tigers last Friday night at Southside, but thanks to a great second-half effort, the Tigers turned things around and will enter the playoffs on the heels of a 42-21 victory.
After nearly 12 minutes without a score, the Southside Cardinals broke the stalemate with a 5-yard touchdown run and extra point. Floresville got cranked up to start the second quarter, though, and sophomore quarterback Koby Wilkerson put the Tigers on the board with a 12-yard run from scrimmage. The point-after attempt was no good, but things were close, as Southside led 7-6.
The Cardinals, who were 1-8 heading into the game, appeared to have found a little something in their offense, and scored a second touchdown with 4:31 to play in the half. This time the score came through the air, as quarterback Johnny Trevino connected with Justin Escobar for 11 yards and the score. The kick was good, and the Cardinals led 14-6 at the break.
The Tiger defense came roaring to life in the third quarter, though, and Southside was shut out for the period. Meanwhile, the Tiger offense was given good field position and opportunities to score for Floresville, and the unit did not disappoint. The Tigers scored with 8:42 to play in the third on a 4-yard pass from Wilkerson to Kyle Bippert. Wilkerson then hit Troy Hughey for the 2-point conversion, and the score was tied up at 14-all.
The Tigers weren’t done scoring in the third, though, as Travis Morales found the end zone from 10 yards out to give Floresville its first lead of the night. Ray Contreras added the extra point, and the score stood at 21-14.
A big defensive stand and turnover gave the ball right back to the Tiger offense, and Alex Mermea capped off the short drive with a 1-yard run into the end zone. Another Contreras extra point made the score 28-14 with 3:09 to play in the third.
Things slowed down a bit from there, and Southside climbed back into the game at the 9:52 mark of the fourth quarter as Trevino connected with Noe Zavala for 38 yards and a Cardinal touchdown. The extra point made it a 28-21 game, and the Tiger offense went back to work. It didn’t take long, though, as Floresville took just over a minute off the clock before Mermea ended the Tiger drive with a 9-yard touchdown run from scrimmage. Contreras booted the extra point and Floresville maintained a two-possession lead at 35-21.
The final touchdown of the game came in the final seconds of the fourth quarter, as Southside was desperately trying to score. Trevino tossed up one of nearly 30 passing attempts on the night, but rather than finding its mark, the ball was plucked from the air by Floresville senior Mark Livesay, who then returned it 93 yards down the sideline for a Tiger touchdown. Contreras added the extra point, and Floresville skipped town with an impressive 42-21 victory.
Wilkerson completed 8 of 14 passes for 97 yards and a touchdown, but was picked off once. Bradley Bunn caught three passes for 53 yards, Hughey caught two passes for 25 yards, and Bippert had three grabs for 19 paces and a touchdown.
On the ground, Mermea was the workhorse of the night, carrying the ball 19 times for 167 yards and two touchdowns. Wilkerson had 42 yards and a touchdown on seven carries, and Morales ran for 35 yards and a touchdown on six rushes. Livesay ran twice for 16 yards, Preston Taggs ran three times for 14 yards, Bippert had a carry for 4 yards, and Dillon Gaither ran once for 3 yards.
The Tiger defense had another great game, holding the Cardinals to 169 rushing yards on 46 carries. Floresville also played the passing game well, as Southside’s Trevino completed just 11 of 29 attempts and was intercepted four times, several times by Livesay, who added the 93-yard pick-6 to punctuate the evening.
The Tigers finish the regular season at 8-2, and made a run of 6-1 through the district. The Tigers finish as the District 29-4A champs, and will advance to the playoffs once again.
Floresville will face Port Lavaca Calhoun this Friday, Nov. 15, in Cuero. The Sandcrabs are 9-1 on the season, and finished 5-1 in district play. Their lone loss of the season came at the hands of unbeaten Corpus Christi Calallen.
The Tigers and Sandcrabs will kick off at 7:30 p.m. in Gobbler Stadium.