2009-11-11 / Front Page

Bulldogs win district 10-0, face Mathis in first round of playoffs

by Rey Sifuentes Jr.

DISTRICT AND COUNTY CHAMPS! JAIME INFANTE HEAD COACH A. D. of the Lyford Bulldogs celebrates with his mighty Bulldogs last Friday night when they played the Raymondville Bearkats and beat them 36 to 23. (Photo By Eric Aguirre) DISTRICT AND COUNTY CHAMPS! JAIME INFANTE HEAD COACH A. D. of the Lyford Bulldogs celebrates with his mighty Bulldogs last Friday night when they played the Raymondville Bearkats and beat them 36 to 23. (Photo By Eric Aguirre) Lyford High School's varsity football team finished their regular season a perfect 10-0 (7-0 in District 32-3A) after they defeated a tough Raymondville squad 36-23 last Friday. The Bulldogs will visit Mathis in a bidistrict playoff at 7:30 p.m. this Friday. Meanwhile, Raymondville's season concludes at 4-6 overall and 2-5 in district.

Lyford scored first when Johnny Esparza connected with Sammy Ambriz for a 10-yard touchdown pass in the middle of the first quarter. Two minutes later, however, David Medina booted a 34-yard field goal for the Beakats. Bobby De La Paz extended the Bearkat's lead when he found Skylore Janes on a 22-yard scoring strike early in the second quarter.

De La Paz lengthened Raymondville's lead by tossing a five-yard touchdown pass to C.J. Medrano with 6:58 left in the second quarter. Lyford struck back when Esparza hit Cuahtli Quiroz on a 22- yard pass for six points with a little over five minutes left in the second period.

The Bulldogs recaptured the lead as Esparza threw his third touchdown pass, of 37 yards this time, to Jose Sierra with 44 seconds left before halftime. The Bearkats' offen-se, however, raced 60 yards in less than a minute and De la Paz hooked up with Alex Montalvo to give Raymondville a 23-19 lead going into the intermis-sion. Esparza would give Lyford the eventual win on scoring runs of 19 and six yards in the third quarter.

Though losing another heartbreaker this season, Raymondville Head Coach Alex Leal commended his players.

"Our kids did an awesome job and played tremendously hard Friday night," Leal said. "The thing that killed us, as always, was we had too many turnovers. We had 474 yards of offense, 25 first downs but also six turnovers and most of our problems were inside the 10- yard line."

Next season could be promising for the Bearkats who expect the bulk of this year's roster to return.

"Our seniors did an awesome job of leading us this season," Leal said. "We have 52 on the varsity team this season and 42 hopefully are coming back next year. We have a very young team and did not face an opponent this season that we did not play well against."

What is not certain at this point is if Leal will still be the head coach.

"I am taking this week off and hopefully by Christmas or right after I will make my decision as to whether I come back or not," Leal said.

On the other sideline, Lyford Head Coach Jaime Infante breathed a sigh of relief after his boys came from behind to beat the Bearkats.

"I thought we came out a little flat in the first half and I want to credit the Bearkat sideline who came out fired up," Infante said. "They gave us all we could handle in the first half and I thought it was a great overall effort by both teams. Our kids realized the battle we were in and came out in the second half and showed a lot of character in coming back to win the ball game."

The Pirates could threaten the Bulldogs on both sides of the ball this Friday.

"Mathis is a sound football team both offensively and defensively," Infante said. "They are extremely aggressive on defense and have one of the quicker defensive units we have seen all year long. We have faced a lot of great defenses this season which will help us, having played so many teams in this district of such high caliber."

Lyford will also have to prevent Mathis from taking their sweet time with the ball.

"Offensively, they are a ball control club with lots of speed, they come at you very aggressively though disciplined," Infante said. "I think the key to the ball game is going to be our defense being able to stop their offense. They are good at sustaining long drives which keeps the ball away from their opponents and I am sure that is going to be their game plan for us; so if we can get on the scoreboard quickly and pressure them into passing - which they rarely do - it will be to our advantage to place the monkey on their back."

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