Season ends

Payton McAlister and John Chupe console each other following their season-ending loss to Cuero Friday, Nov. 19 in the area round of playoffs. The game was played in Victoria. See story page 8A.

The Rockport-Fulton High School (RFHS) Pirate football team was unable to rebound after surrendering the ball five times in the first half in a 55-27 loss to the Cuero Gobblers Friday, Nov. 19 in Victoria.

RFHS finishes the season 10-2 after a second straight area round playoff exit.

RFHS Head Football Coach Jay Seibert said the Cuero defense jumped on the team early and heavily slowed down the offense.

“Cuero’s a really good football team and we knew in order to win we had to play well, and we turned the ball over, we turned it over a bunch,” said J. Seibert. “Some of that they made good plays, some of that we didn’t.”

J. Seibert said the team couldn’t get out of the quicksand.

“Everything we tried to do just went haywire, or backward,” said J. Seibert. “These boys have had a lot of games with a lot of awesome moments, and you hate to have a first-half that comes out like that.”

J. Seibert said this was the first 10-win team he’s ever coached and had a lot of fun watching them succeed all year.

“It was probably one of the more fun teams I’ve ever been around, we had tons of fun in practice, tons of fun in the locker room, film, we made some great memories,” said J. Seibert.

The opening series against Cuero started on a positive note, with the defense stopping the Gobblers on a fourth-down conversion.

However, RFHS’ struggles with turnovers began soon after.

Cuero cashed in on a fumble return touchdown (TD) after strip-sacking Ace Seibert in the series following the defense’s fourth-down stop.

The offense got going in the next series with a couple of big runs by John Chupe putting RFHS in the red zone. Luke Muirhead capped the drive with a short rush TD. A missed extra point put the game at 7-6 Cuero.

The RFHS defense made another stand in the next series, but on the punt return, Rickey Franks lost control of a ground ball and Cuero recovered it in the red zone. The Gobblers scored soon after to make it 14-6.

RFHS made it into the red zone again in its next series after a big pass and catch from A. Seibert to Jordan Gibson. However, a Cuero safety jumped a pass in the endzone and intercepted it to end RFHS’ drive.

Cuero marched downfield with it and scored to make it 21-6 with 8:15 to play in the second quarter.

The Pirates punted in their next drive and Cuero scored again to make it 28-6.

The Pirated committed another turnover on the ensuing kickoff after a Franks fumble, giving Cuero a short field for another go-ahead score to make it 34-6.

Cuero nabbed another interception in RFHS’ next series but was unable to cash in on the turnover as time expired before the half. Nonetheless, the Pirates went into the half down its biggest margin of the season at 34-6.

In the third quarter, Cuero’s defense took over and stymied the Pirate offense. They grabbed one more interception and forced RFHS to punt three times on fourth and long. The Gobblers scored two more times on offense to make it 48-6 into the fourth quarter.

RFHS scored its next TD on a bad snap by the Cuero center that rolled into the back of their endzone. Payton McAlister fell on the loose ball for a TD with 11:31 left in the fourth quarter.

Cuero followed with another scoring possession to make it 55-13.

RFHS then scored two more times before the end of the game on runs by Chupe and Devan Phillips after Cuero pulled its defensive starters with nine minutes left in the quarter.

A. Seibert was 8-19 passing for 89 yards and three interceptions.

Chupe led RFHS rushers with 21-112 yards, one TD, and one catch for 10 yards.

Phillips was 13-54 yards rushing with one TD, and 5-38 receiving.

Muirhead was 6-38 yards rushing with one TD.

Gibson led RFHS in receiving, going 2-41 yards.

McAlister led RFHS defensively with 12 tackles, a sack, and one fumble recovery for a TD.

Phillip Krupa followed with 10 tackles and one pass break-up.

Joe Moreno posted seven tackles and a pass break-up.

The Pirates will graduate 19 seniors following the season, 13 of which were full-time starters.

J. Seibert said he’s watched this class play football since they were in fifth grade and feels not only like their coach, but another one of their dads as well.

“I know Ace is a couple of years younger than them, but he grew up playing with them,” said J. Seibert. “I’m proud of them, I’m upset for them, but they’re an awesome group.”

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