La Joya Palmview surges away from Lopez - Brownsville Herald: H.S. Football

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La Joya Palmview surges away from Lopez

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Posted: Monday, October 28, 2019 10:31 am

On a night when defensive stops were a rare commodity, La Joya Palmview defensive back Freddy Flores helped turn the tide of a back-and-forth offensive affair in his squad’s favor with an interception of Lopez quarterback Jose Cruz to help preserve a two-score advantage en route to an 89-49 victory in a wild District 16-5A Division I clash Saturday at Sams Memorial Stadium.

After the pick, visiting La Joya Palmview (6-2, 6-1 16-5A Division I) drove from the Lopez 46-yard line for a 7-yard touchdown run by Carlos Pena that gave the team 55 first-half points and a 20-point lead with 50 seconds remaining in the second quarter.

“(The interception) set the tempo for the second half,” La Joya Palmview coach Margarito Requenez Jr. said. “I told the guys hopefully we’ll go (into the locker room) with a 21-point lead and we’re going to get the ball (to start the second half), so hopefully we can come back out and score and start (substituting in different players). It was a nice feeling.”

La Joya Palmview scored at will during the first quarter, racking up three touchdowns on the first snap of its first three drives. The first, a 22-yard touchdown run by Adrian Vasquez, came at the 11:18 mark of the first quarter after the defense forced a turnover, recovering a fumble that resulted when a bad snap sailed past Lopez quarterback Jose Cruz.

Cruz and Lopez (1-7, 1-6 16-5A Division I) answered promptly with an 81-yard touchdown pass to Jonathan Munoz with 10:27 to go in the first quarter for the first of four ties in the ballgame. Seventeen seconds later, Carlos Pena gave the lead back to La Joya Palmview with a 35-yard touchdown run.

Running back AJ Chapa led the visitors with six touchdowns on the evening, the first of which came with 7:35 to play in the first quarter to bring the score to 21-7.

Following an interception by Lopez defensive back Alejandro Flores, Cruz found Jacob Cortinas for a 37-yard completion, and then the Lopez quarterback called his own number for an 18-yard rushing touchdown to bring the home team within seven points. Defensive lineman Isaias Lucio recovered a fumble that led to a 29-yard touchdown reception by Cortinas to tie the game at 21 with 3:06 to go in the first quarter.

Chapa and Cruz traded touchdown runs on the opening possessions of the second quarter to even the game at 28 with 9:28 remaining in the period.

Pena took the game into his own hands with a 95-yard kickoff return that set up a go-ahead 1-yard touchdown by Vasquez to help La Joya Palmview regain the lead after just 18 seconds had elapsed between Cruz’s tying score.

Cruz capped a drive that lasted two minutes and seven seconds with a 4-yard touchdown pass to Luis Barrera to even the game at 35 points apiece. It was effectively Lopez’s last gasp, as Pena added two more touchdowns (a 47-yarder and a 7-yarder) to close out the first half, and La Joya Palmview outscored Lopez 44-14 in the second half.

Requenez Jr. said his team has struggled in the past during Saturday games, but the La Joya Palmview defense eventually settled down toward the end of the first half and came out firing again to open the third quarter.

“Game in and game out, we try to control the ball,” Requenez Jr. said. “As long as we keep the ball and don’t turn it over, we’ll be sound.”

Chapa tallied three rushing touchdowns during the third quarter — a 42-yarder, a 37-yarder and a 56-yarder — to blow the game wide open.

Alexis Gonzalez also added a 90-yard kickoff return for a touchdown and Domingo Alvarez added a 43-yard rushing touchdown during the fourth quarter.

Lopez’s 35-point first-half output and 49-point total were single-game season highs. Munoz finished with three touchdown catches for Lopez, and Cruz rushed for two touchdowns and threw five touchdown passes.

Next up for Lopez is a home tilt with PSJA Memorial on Saturday, Nov. 2, at Sams Memorial Stadium. Kickoff is set for 6 p.m.

La Joya Palmview is scheduled to play host to Mission Veterans Memorial on Friday, Nov. 1, at La Joya ISD Stadium. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.

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