Varsity Football Starts Season Strong with 37-8 Thumping of Southwest
Kicking off a season like no other, the varsity football team welcomed the Southwest Dragons from San Antonio to the Kelly Reeves Athletic Complex on Thursday, Sept. 24. Buoyed by six turnovers forced by the Warrior defense, the home team started fast and maintained a strong grip on the game. The Dragons had no answer for whatever the Warriors had for them defensively, and they rode a strong first half to a 37-8 demolition of Southwest.
“I think that our defense played very well for our first true outing. We knew what Southwest’s game plan was and we were certainly prepared ourselves well throughout the week. Most importantly, we never gave up even when we were backed up in our own end zone and played with great effort throughout the entire course of the game,” linebacker Brian Lee ‘22 said. “Overall, we did a great job proving to ourselves how much potential we have, but with that said, we know we have much room for improvement.”
The Warriors won the toss and started their season on offense, but couldn’t get much of anything going on their opening drive, with Southwest’s defense forcing a three-and-out. The Dragons began to slowly but surely march the ball down the field, but a fumble on a toss play close to the endzone recovered by linebacker Drew Goodall ‘21 killed off the drive, giving the Warriors the ball back. After the turnover, the Warriors were able to get downfield before two big passes from quarterback RJ Martinez ‘21, a 26-yard completion to Robbie Jeng ‘21 and a 25-yard touchdown strike to Julian DeBerry ‘21, put the Warriors on the scoreboard first. The ensuing Southwest possession barely began as the first quarter came to a close, with the Warriors up 7-0.
The second quarter started off with fireworks, as the Warriors made another big play on defense; this time, linebacker Brian Lee ‘22 jumped a pass and made a house call, returning the interception 57 yards for a pick-six to put the home team up 14-0.
“I was glad that I simply happened to be in the right place at the right time and it was certainly crucial because it set the tone for the rest of the game,” Lee said.
On the next Southwest possession, the Dragons were able to drive down the field all the way inside the Warriors’ five-yard line, but fumbled yet again for the Warrior defense’s third takeaway of the half. The very next play, Martinez hit Jeng for a school-record 96-yard strike to put the Warriors up three scores, 21-0, which is how the half would end.
Turnovers plagued the Dragons once again to start the second half, as Nick Delgado ‘21 pounced on yet another loose ball and returned it back to the Dragons’ 14-yard line. Martinez capitalized on the fumble with another touchdown drive, waltzing into the endzone with a 14 yard rush to increase the lead to 28-0. However, after the Warrior defense forced a turnover on downs the next series, the Dragons immediately got the ball back off of a Martinez interception. Even though Southwest was able to get their first takeaway of the contest, it didn’t amount to anything, as the Warrior defense was actually able to force a safety instead due to a wild snap that went out of the endzone, pushing the lead to 30-0. Later in the frame, Martinez was able to connect with Tomas Henry ‘21 for a 27-yard touchdown pass in the final minute of the quarter for what would be the final score of the day for the Warriors as they went up 37-0.
“I think we played alright for the first game but we have a lot to improve on,” DeBerry said. “I think we could’ve given more effort, but we are becoming closer as a team and that is going to put us in a good position to be a great football team this year.”
The final quarter of play was relatively stagnant, as there wasn’t much offensive activity going on in the last frame. With about four minutes to go, Southwest was able to get a garbage-time touchdown from five yards out, finally putting points on the scoreboard. A successful two-point conversion made the score 37-8, which is how the game would end.
“We just have to stay consistent and just get better throughout this week [for the next game,]” Joseph Tobon ‘21 said.
The Warriors travel to Dragon Stadium next week for a big test against the Lake Travis Cavaliers on Thursday, Oct. 1.