Sea of green

By Robert Proctor

The Cuero Record

Before last season, Cuero and Crystal City had never competed on the gridiron. This Friday night will mark the second consecutive meeting between the schools in the area round of the 4A-Division II playoffs. A 41 point first half for the Gobblers led to a 48-0 win in what was the Javelinas’ first area appearance in over 50 years.

Of the seven Cuero touchdowns scored in last season’s tilt, six were by returning Gobbler lettermen.

Jordan Whittington hauled in three touchdown catches, all from Drew Riemenschneider, while Keiran Grant, Bralen Taylor and Claevon Patton also found the end zone. Patton notched the only second half score, returning a fumble 70 yards.

The Javelinas have already improved on an 8-4 (4-1 district) finish from last season, as they enter the area round 9-2. Head coach David Lopez’s team returns 21 lettermen, including seven on offense and defense.

Senior running back Austin Sanchez, who was pegged as preseason offensive MVP for District 14-4A by Dave Campbell’s Texas Football, has totaled 1,016 yards and 11 touchdowns on 140 carries. Junior David Patino provides the second half of Crystal City’s one-two punch in the backfield, posting 107 carries for 952 yards and 15 touchdowns. They average 240 yards per game on the ground.

Sophomore John Saucedo is the signal caller but only has 75 passes on the season with 38 completions for 707 yards with nine touchdowns and six interceptions.

Felix Blanco’s 445 receiving yards and six touchdowns on 23 catches leads the team. Patino has five catches for 211 yards and two touchdowns.

Justin Morales, a junior, has a team-leading 115 tackles, including 10 tackles for loss, while Blanco leads the Javelinas with four sacks. Guillermo Guzman has four interceptions on the season.

Other players to watch include cornerback Josh Perez, lineman Mark Puente, lineman Michael Cuevas, fullback Ernesto Guerrero, defensive end Keith Delgado, tight end Rey Rocha, cornerback Mario Velazquez and cornerback Jordan Gallegos.

The Gobblers are averaging nearly 480 yards per game (261 rushing and 218 passing), while holding opponents to under 185 total yards per game (114 rushing and 70 passing).

Grant powers the rushing attack with 1,284 yards and 27 touchdowns through 10 games. Chance Albrecht has added another 527 yards and 11 touchdowns.

Riemenschneider has thrown for 1,928 yards and 24 touchdowns with Whittington as his top target (59-1149-15). Taylor and Jaden Williams have combined for 717 yards and nine touchdowns.

Cuero head coach Travis Reeve said, “We have tremendous respect for their program. Coach [David] Lopez has done an outstanding job there in Crystal City. We played them last year. Anytime you play a team two years in a row in the playoffs, that’s a challenge in itself. They have most of their guys back, so we know that they’re going to be improved. They know how to win. We know how to win. It’s going to be a great area round matchup.”

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