Lions come up short against Rockport, 19-14

LA FERIA — Friday’s playoff contest between La Feria and Rockport-Fulton went oddly similar to their last postseason encounter.

Last season, the Pirates came away with a very narrow 25-21 victory. This time around, Rockport-Fulton came into Lions Stadium and once again walked away with another narrow 19-14 victory to advance to the Class 4A Division I area round where they will face Liberty Hill next week.

For the Lions, it was mistakes that sealed the deal more than the Pirates’ attack. Interceptions combined with ill-timed penalties killed momentum and drives on numerous occasions.

However, while the loss did end the season for the Lions, it also highlighted two points: A strong defensive showing and a talented group of players returning for another run next season.

“They really only scored seven points on our defense tonight,” said La Feria head coach Oscar Salinas. “Defensively, we played really really well and offensively we had our chances, but a lack of execution cost us; but it’s part of the game.

“I’m proud of these guys because even though we lost our best kid in Julian Trevino last week, a lot of kids stepped up tonight. This year was supposed to be a rebuilding year, but these seniors did a heck of a job of keeping it together and just playing really strong all season.”

Despite the narrow victory, it was the Pirates who came out and put up 13 unanswered points to start the game. A pick-6 by Rockport’s David Castillo put the Pirates up 7-0 with 8:33 left in the first quarter before teammate Brad Allen Added another touchdown with 1:13 left in the first.

On the Lions’ ensuing possession, sophomore quarterback Dorian Hernandez connected with Noah Conde on a 15-yard touchdown to put the Lions on the board and cut the lead 13-7 with 7:21 remaining in the second quarter.

But the momentum was short-lived. On the ensuing kickoff, Rockport’s Chase Rios pickup the football at around the Pirates 10-yard line and took it the distance down the middle of the field to silence the home crowd. However, a missed two-point conversion kept the door open for the Lions.

In the third quarter, momentum once again swung the Lions’ way after Rockport quarterback Caleb Johnson had some miscommunication with his receiver and threw the ball directly to Lions cornerback Justin Martinez, who went 90 yards in the opposite direction before being brought down at the Pirates’ 3-yard line.

Senior running back Emiliano Segura punched it in on the next play to bring the Lions to within five points at 19-14.

With the loss the Lions finished the season at 6-4.