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COTULLA COWBOYS FOOTBALL
Cotulla rallied hard but could not overcome a 20-point deficit in dropping a narrow 29-27 non-district decision to the Robstown Cotton Pickers on Friday, September 22 at Myers Memorial Stadium.
Robstown scored the game’s first 20 points before Cotulla could crack the scoreboard. They were then limited to only nine points in the second half but held on for the two-point victory.
“Another tough loss, unfortunately,” CHS Athletic Director and Head Football Coach Esteban Rodriguez said. “I had to make a few professional decisions to sit a few of our star players due to health issues. Although winning ball games is our main goal, I felt that going into district play fully healthy was definitely my main priority.
“Coming into this week, I knew it was going to be a tough match up. Robstown had some big boys that play hard-nosed football.”
Despite the deficit, Rodriguez said his team never wavered.
“After going down 20-0 in the second quarter, our boys never hung their heads, driving the ball down the field,” he said. “Isaac threw a great pass to Rodrigo, and we went into halftime down 20-7.
“As always, I continue to preach that football is a game of four quarters, and that ‘It’s not how you start games, it’s how you finish’ that determines your true character.”
Rodriguez also lamented the numerous penalties that proved costly for his team.
“Unfortunately, penalties were definitely an issue for us,” he said. “We had two interceptions for touchdowns called back that would have given us the lead late in the game, not to mention numerous other questionable calls on big plays we had offensively.”
Cotulla miscues allowed the Cotton Pickers to surge ahead early. Robstown picked up a Cowboys’ fumble and returned it 33 yards for a score early in the first quarter. Another Cotulla drive to the Robstown 20 was ended when the Cotton Pickers intercepted a pass at the ten-yard line. Cotulla also picked off a pair of passes and returned them for scores but penalties negated the plays.
Robstown added a passing touchdown early in the second quarter and ran in for another score late in the half as their lead surged to 20-0 with about three minutes to play in the second.
Quarterback Derek Silva hit receiver Timothy Sanchez on a 34-yard touchdown pass on fourth and five to go up 12-0.
Cotulla would finally strike back with just under a minute to play in the half as quarterback Isaac Cerda found Rodrigo Mendez on a nine-yard touchdown pass to cut into the deficit.
Rene Barrera converted on the extra point as Cotulla now trailed 20-7 going into halftime.
Cotulla cut into the margin even more midway through the third as Eric Aldaco capped another Cowboys’ drive with a nine-yard touchdown run. Barrera booted his second extra point attempt and Robstown’s lead was trimmed to 20-14.
The Cotton Pickers would add a little breathing room as Edward Diaz went in from eight yards out for a rushing touchdown late in the third to pad their lead back up to 26-14.
Cerda put the Cowboys back into the game early in the fourth as he went in from five yards out with just over ten minutes to play. Barrera’s extra point made it a one-score game again as Cotulla trailed 26-21.
Cotulla slowed Robstown on a drive late in the game and forced a field goal to keep the margin at one score, 29-21, with about two minutes remaining.
The Cowboys then took over late in the fourth and moved down the field. Barrera went in from eight yards out for Cotulla with about a minute to play. The team would then go for two and the tie but Robstown snuffed out the play to hold on for the two-point victory.
“It was a great overall performance by both teams,” Coach Rodriguez said. “I always preach that there will be four or five plays throughout the course of the game that will determine the outcome. Unfortunately for us, it has been a total of four or five plays that has kept us from an undefeated season, or at least sitting at 4-1.”
Cerda went 12 of 13 passing for 169 yards and a touchdown for Cotulla while added 39 yard rushing on nine carries and another score. Aldaco finished with 135 yards of total offense as he hauled in six passes for 112 yards and had 25 yards and a touchdown on the ground. Defensively, he added six tackles and broke up a pass. Mendez added five catches for 67 yards and a touchdown.
Aydan Martinez paced the defense with 12 total tackles while Robert Sanchez and Gerardo Gonzalez both had eight tackles each.
After opening the year o-2, Cotulla bounced back to win two straight but fell to 2-3 for the year following the loss to Robstown. The Cowboys will have their bye this week as they prep for their District 14-3A, Division I opener on Friday, October 6 at Crystal City.
The Javelinas are winless at 0-5 this year and are coming off a 25-23 loss to rival Carrizo Springs on September 22.