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PEARSALL MAVERICKS FOOTBALL
TURNOVERS, THIRD-QUARTER SWING ALLOW NAVARRO TO PULL AWAY FOR 50-8 BI-DISTRICT VICTORY.
A third quarter swing in momentum was the turning point as Navarro pulled away to claim a 50-8 win over the Pearsall Mavericks in a bi-district clash at Dub Farris Stadium in San Antonio last Thursday.
Trailing 22-8, Pearsall took possession in the third quarter and drove the length of the field before stalling at the Panthers 29-yard line. A penalty and two fumbles saw Navarro take possession at the Pearsall 26 and scored one play later.
“In the third quarter, we felt that if we scored and made it a one possession game, it would be a different ballgame,” PHS Head Football Coach Ruben DeLeon said. “That was a huge turnover with that fumble costing us 30 yards.
“Navarro was a well rounded ballclub and it showed on the field. In the playoffs we can not afford to give our opponent extra opportunities, like I told the boys good teams will capitilize and Navarro did.”
Three turnovers on three straight possessions in the third changed the game as the Panthers extended the 22-8 lead into a 43-8 advantage and effectively ended the contest.
“Our underclassmen can take this game as a learning curve to now know next season in the playoffs, we can not afford to waste opportunities,” Coach DeLeon said. “Getting inside the 30 yard line four different times and not coming away with points hurt us. But it seems it was one little thing here or there that held us back from scoring.
“It’s always the little things that will do you in on the field and that has always been an emphasis with us. I was proud of the boys for continuing to fight until the last buzzer. They did not quit and continued to work as a team throughout the whole ballgame.”
Pearsall moved the ball throughtout the second half but could not capitalize in scoring position while Navarro’s infamous “Slot-T Mafia” offense, capitalized on Pearsall turnovers with quick-strike scoring plays.
Elijah Luna connected with Tristan Ellis on a 31-yard scoring pass for the Mavericks’ only points of the night.
Navarro was rolling early on, scoring on their opening possession and then blocking a Pearsall punt to take over at the Mavs’ 34. A two-yard touchdown run made it 14-0 early in the second. The Panthers then added a 48-yard touchdown run late in the third to extend the lead to 22-0.
Pearsall drove to the Navarro 24-yard line but threw an interception. The Maverick defense would return the favor as Curtis Saenz picked off the Panthers and returned it to the Navarro 31. The Mavs would score to make it 22-8 before the half.
Things then unraveled in the third after Pearsall couldn’t score as Navarro added 28 unanswered points to pull away.
The Panthers finished with 451 yards of offense and 15 first downs, all coming on the ground on 41 carries. Pearsall added 221 yards of offense and 11 first downs, rushing for 134 yards and passing for 159 yards.
Turnovers proved critical as the Mavericks turned it over four times while Navarro did not have a single turnover.
Luna and Matt Hughes combined to go 12 of 18 for 159 yards a touchdown and two interceptions. Hughes was six of 11 for 66 yards and two picks while Luna went six of seven for 93 yards and a score.
Playing without top running back Joey Ramirez, Pearsall saw four runners handle the load. Kingston Martinez led the team with 58 yards on 16 carries while Luna added 56 yards on 15 totes.
Andy Enriquez hauled in four receptions for 68 yards. Brian Gandara had one reception for 43 yards and Ellis hauled in one for 31 and a score.
Pearsall wraps up its season at 7-4 overall and 2-2 and third in District 14-4A, Division II. The team made a seven game improvement over its 0-10 2021 season and earned a playoff spot for the first time since 2019.