Calhoun's Cory Williams hugs Victoria East's T.J. Cleveland as he leads the end-of-game handshake line following the Sandcrabs' 76-55 victory over the Titans at Sandcrab Stadium in Port Lavaca. The teams had to be pulled apart after a physical altercation at the end of the first half and the end of the game but were able to come together to shake hands before leaving the field.
Photo by Angeli Wright.
As of Wednesday, November 6, 2013
PORT LAVACA - Brandon Smithwick knew Saturday night was his last time playing at home.
The senior running back wanted to get one more shot playing in front of friends and family.
The Sandcrabs (9-1, 5-1) played their last regular season game at Sandcrab Stadium in a 76-55 District 30-4A victory over Victoria East (3-5, 2-3).
In a game that featured more than 1,000 yards of total offense, 131 points combined and 19 touchdowns, Smithwick was glad to be involved in the game.
"It makes us feel good when we're going into playoffs," said Smithwick, who finished with three touchdowns. "(Victoria East) is an explosive offense, but we're expecting it. You don't want to go into the playoffs with a loss."
The Sandcrabs wrapped up their regular season Saturday night, while the Titans came into Saturday night's game understanding that their playoffs chances could dwindle with a loss.
Both teams came out aggressive, with two separate altercations occurring, including one at the end of the game.
Before the end of the first half, Titans junior Jonathan Ortega ran 54 yards for a touchdown with 54 seconds left in the half to cut the Sandcrabs lead to 10. Ortega struck again in the third quarter with a 10-yard touchdown pass to junior Dillon Lippe to tie the game at 41-41.
Saturday's game was the most points the Titans have given up since last season's game against Calallen, when they allowed 77 points.
"We came into this game facing insurmountable odds," said Titans coach Roland Gonzalez. "Nobody except for our student-athletes and our coaching staff believed we had a chance competing in this game. They rose to a different level tonight."
With the Titans down by 14 in the fourth quarter, East started what looked to be a comeback until Laken Williams fumbled, and the Sandcrabs recovered it.
Calhoun would score on the ensuing position with a 30-yard run by Cory Williams.
"Fortunately for us, we were able to get some stops in the end," said Sandcrabs coach Richard Whitaker. "Coach Gonzalez has done a great job having his kids ready to play and tonight, they put up a lot of points."
Williams and Smithwick combined for seven touchdowns for the Sandcrabs on Saturday.
Last year, Williams had to watch last year's game against the Titans from the sideline; that wasn't the case Saturday night.
"It's kind of sad to me," Williams said. "But then again, you have to grow up one day. I already knew it was coming because every year, I had to sit on the sideline and watch all my other friends have their last game. This time, it was my turn to have my last game."
Looking up toward the sideline and watching his teammates take pictures one last time at Sandcrab Stadium, Smithwick took the experience of playing in Port Lavaca one last time.
"It's emotional," Smithwick said. "Everybody is going to go away. It's my last year for my boys and seniors on this field. It feels good to get a win."