The Tascosa Rebels released a lot of frustrations Thursday night at Dick Bivins Stadium, and they even had a reward waiting at the end of the night.
After a start that seemed to reflect the fruitless struggles of Tascosa’s first eight games, the Rebels got down to basics the last three quarters against Lubbock Coronado. Relying almost exclusively on their running attack and a stingy defense after allowing a first-possession score, the Rebels picked up their first win of the season, 28-14, to get a giant monkey off their back in a District 2-5A contest.
There was a tangible sense of relief for Tascosa coach Ken Plunk and his players after the victory, which ended an 11-game losing streak.
“It was a hard-fought game, and I’m proud of our kids,” said Plunk, whose team is 1-8 overall and 1-6 in district. “Unless you’ve been involved in this kind of thing, you forget how much of a toll it takes on you.”
Having been eliminated from the playoff race, the Rebels and Coronado (2-7, 1-6) had little to play for but pride. While Tascosa could claim moral victories in some losses, the Rebels finally could claim a win after a game.
Tascosa dominated in the second quarter by scoring on three straight possessions to take a 21-7 halftime lead.
It didn’t start well for the Rebels, though, as Coronado forced a three-and-out by Tascosa after the opening kickoff. The Mustangs went 80 yards in 10 plays, aided in part when the Rebels jumped offsides during a field goal attempt to give Coronado a first down. Robert Lee ran in from 2 yards out to give Coronado a 7-0 lead.
But after another three-and-out, senior Peyton Brooks replaced Tucker Davidson at quarterback, and Tascosa’s offense started rolling. Brooks began his first series with a 26-yard run, then scored from 18 yards out to tie it, 7-7.
“We threw it real well last week (against Midland Lee), but this week (Coronado) put a lot of pressure on our passer,” Plunk said. “It became obvious that the defensive game plan was going to make our quarterbacks run the football. Tucker can do that, but Peyton really excels in that part of the game.”
The Rebels took the lead for good on their next possession, going 79 yards on 10 plays, this time with Austyn Beasley carrying it in from 11 yards out for a 14-7 lead.
Beasley ended up leading the Rebels with 134 yards on 14 carries. Brooks had 121 yards on 21 carries. Much of that came behind the left side of Tascosa’s line.
“It’s the old school saying ‘3 yards and a cloud of dust,’” Tascosa left tackle Travis Lawler said. “You’ve got to have the mentality of knocking them out. We’re really, really close together right now.”
Tascosa resorted to some offensive trickery on the next possession. On fourth-and-6 from the Coronado 18-yard line, the Rebels ran a reverse, with Cahlil Porter taking a pitch and going in for a touchdown to stretch Tascosa’s advantage to 21-7 with 22 seconds left in the first half.
Defensively, Tascosa took control of the game after the first possession, as Coronado didn’t manage a first down after the opening touchdown the rest of the first half.
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Tascosa 28, Coronado 14
Lub. Coronado 7 0 0 7 — 14
Tascosa 0 21 0 7 — 28
LC—Robert Lee 2 run (Joey Alexander kick)
T—Peyton Brooks 18 run (Brock Yarbrough kick)
T—Austyn Beasley 11 run (Yarbrough kick)
T—Cahlil Porter 18 run (Yarbrough kick)
T—Tucker Davidson 5 run (Yarbrough kick)
LC—Rod Moore 32 run (Alexander kick)
First Downs 10 20
Rushing 121 339
Passing 86 4
Total yards 207 343
C-A-I 4-15-2 1-4-0
Punts 7-32.1 4-40.8
Fumbles-lost 0-0 1-1
Penalties-yards 4-34 4-25
Rushing—Coronado: Moore 7-43, Greg Hewett 10-32, Lee 10-34. Tascosa: Davidson 12-18, Beasley 14-134, John Gallarza 3-17, Brooks 21-121, Trevon Bates 1-14, Porter 1-18, Beau Gray 1-17.
Passing—Coronado: Hewett 4-15-2-86. Tascosa: Brooks 1-3-0-4, Davidson 0-1-0-0.
Receiving—Coronado: Andrew Ellison 1-43, Colemon Hendershot 2-32, Nick Bartley 1-11. Tascosa: Tion Wright 1-4 .