Looking for daylight

Brian Cunningham and Ryan Wells get ready to lay a block on a Wildcat safety with John Chupe trailing behind.

The Rockport-Fulton High School (RFHS) Pirate football team opened postseason play by keeping the ball on the ground in a 38-28 victory over the Carrizo Springs (CS) Wildcats Friday, Nov. 13 in Poteet.

The Pirates are Bi-District champions for an eighth year in a row and improve their overall record to 5-4.

After not playing a game in two weeks following the forfeit of their final district game by Robstown, RFHS struggled to put away the Wildcats completely as they fought back from down 24-0 in the second quarter. RFHS Head Football Coach Jay Seibert attributed that to coming out, “a little flat.”

“It’s like, even when we did good things, we just couldn’t (takeover),” said J. Seibert. “But you got to tip your hat to them (Carrizo Springs). They played with incredible heart and desire. They got down by 17 early and they did not stop. They kept playing hard and trusted their system.”

In the opening drive of the first quarter, RFHS drove it downfield and scored on a 13 yard touchdown (TD) run by Devan Phillips as he evaded two defenders to the endzone.

In the first play of the CS’s opening drive, Phillip Krupa knocked the ball out of a receivers grasp and recovered by Joe Moreno.

Unable to convert on third and goal, Cristobol DeLeon booted a 22 yard field goal to put RFHS up 10-0 just before the end of the quarter.

In the second quarter, the Wildcats went on a productive drive into Pirate territory until an errant pass was picked off by George Marable and returned for 53 yards to switch the field for RFHS.

Two plays later, John Chupe took a handoff up the middle for a 36 yard TD run to put it at 17-0.

In the next drive, CS had trouble holding onto the ball again and lost it on a strip and recovery by Payton McAlister to set up RFHS for another productive drive on the ground. Ryan Wells eventually punched it in for six on a two yard run to make it 24-0 with 6:34 left in the second.

CS was able to find some footing offensively in their next drive and scored on a six yard run up the middle to make it 24-6 as the half drew to a close.

Both teams traded turnovers in the last two minutes of the half but were unsuccessful in turning them into points.

After Ace Seibert was intercepted down the middle, Carsen Flores came up with an interception on a deep pass down the Wildcats sideline.

However, RFHS was unable to move the ball, bringing the first half to a close at 24-7.

In the third quarter, CS opened with possession and embarked on a drive that lasted more than seven minutes and finished with a rushing TD to pull to within 10 of RFHS at 24-14.

Both teams then went on long offensive possessions with both resulting in punts as the game went into the game crawled into the fourth quarter with the score still at 24-14.

RFHS continued its drive into the fourth and eventually scored on the ground on a six yard rush TD by Wells to put it at 31-14.

Less than a minute later, CS took a shot deep and connected for a 58 yard TD pass as RFHS’ players were tangled up in coverage. CS went for two after and failed, putting them down 11 at 31-20.

The RFHS offense then went on a long drive, pounding their way on the ground with Phillips, Chupe, and Wells. Wells eventually barreled in for a six yard TD for his third on the night.

With 1:42 left in the game, CS scored again on an eight yard TD pass and converted for two to put it at 38-28.

Trying to get back in the game, the Wildcats attempted an onside kick but could not convert as Marable scooped up a live ball that bounced away from four different players.

Needing only to convert one first down for the win, Chupe picked up the final down on a 22 yard carry to seal the Pirates victory 38-28.

Offensively, A. Seibert was 3-12 passing with 39 yards and one interception.

Cade Leal led RFHS in receiving with two catches for 22 yards.

Chupe was 24-192 yards rushing with one TD.

Wells was 17-68 yards rushing with three TD’s.

Phillips was 13-76 yards rushing with one TD.

Defensively, Moreno and McAlister led RFHS in tackles with six each. McAlister recorded three for a loss. Moreno and McAlister also recovered one fumble each.

Flores recorded five tackles and one interception.

Marable recorded four tackles and one interception.

RFHS will advance to the area round and play the Navasota Rattlers. Navasota is a District 13 Co-District champion with Giddings. Last week, Navasota defeated Austin Achieve 72-7.

“To beat them (Navasota) we definitely got to clean up the penalties, we’ve got to be little bit more disciplined about what we do, and we’re going to have to make some plays when the ball is in the air (defensively),” said J. Seibert.

The Pirates will play Navasota at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 20 in Wharton.

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