SEGUIN — After overcoming a rash of early-season injuries, the Matadors (2-2, 1-0) weren’t about to let a little rain spoil the party during Friday night’s District 27-4A opener against Lockhart (3-1, 0-1).
Seguin pounded the previously-unbeaten Lions 38-12 at Matador Stadium, unleashing the power of the big play offensively while also getting a stellar second-half performance from its defense.
The Mats rattled off seven plays of 15 yards or more — including touchdowns of 65 and 57 yards — in the contest, also recording four takeaways defensively in what was Seguin’s most impressive performance of 2012.
“Our kids played great and our defense played amazing,” Seguin head coach Wayne Walker said. “I know Lockhart doesn’t have any skins on the wall, but they’re a pretty good football team.”
Running backs Colton Applewhite and P.J. Hall each eclipsed the 100-yard mark for the Matadors, with Applewhite rushing for 168 yards and a touchdown on 17 carries and Hall amassing 117 yards and two scores on just 12 totes.
“I’ve got to give my O-line the credit the most,” Applewhite said afterward. “They were making really big holes for us.”
Hall agreed with his backfield counterpart.
“That’s one if the best games they’ve ever blocked for us,” the senior said. “The holes were big and we just had to do our job.”
It was Applewhite that produced the game’s first points, ripping off a 10-yard touchdown run with 7:25 left in the opening period after defensive lineman Rivonte Chizer pounced on a fumble deep in Lockhart territory.
Ball security was not the Lions’ strength on the night, as Lockhart fumbled a whopping 12 times in the contest, losing four of them.
In fact, Chizer recovered fumbles on consecutive Lions possessions, with the senior’s second takeaway ending a long drive by Lockhart.
Seguin’s offense took over at its own 25 and embarked on a methodical, 12-play march that chewed up more than five and a half minutes off the clock. Hall cashed in the turnover by notching a 3-yard touchdown run that gave the Mats a 13-0 advantage after the PAT missed wide to the left.
The Lions responded on a long drive of their own, putting together an 11-play, 76-yard march that was capped by a 1-yard run from fullback Curtis Hawkins.
Back came the Mats, using a 56-yard run by Applewhite to move into the red zone. A holding penalty negated a Hall touchdown run, with Seguin settling for a 27-yard field goal by Emiliano Rodriguez to take a 16-6 edge with 5:04 left in the half.
The Matadors went into the locker room holding that same 10-point lead, but Lockhart made things very interesting in the early portion of the third quarter.
Following a turnover on downs by Seguin, the Lions drove 76 yards in six plays to score on their first possession of the second half. CJ McKinney found the end zone on a 3-yard plunge, although the Matadors stuffed the two-point conversion to keep it a 16-12 game.
Seguin then fumbled on its next drive, with Lockhart’s Elijah Tienda making the recovery to put the Lions in business at midfield.
The Matador defense came up huge, though, posting its first three-and-out of the night to force a punt and preserve the lead.
“It was the biggest point in the game,” Walker said. “We go down and we didn’t get in and then we fumble, and so the defense really did a good job.”
After allowing the Lions’ second score of the night, Seguin’s defense bottled up Lockhart’s powerful Slot-T attack, forcing two punts, two turnovers on downs and recovering a fumble to ensure that the Lions never got any closer.
“We stuck to the same game plan,” said Hall, also a defensive end. “We just had to keep it going.”
After the punt, Hall showed his athleticism by rambling 65 yards for a touchdown on the Matadors’ next offensive snap. Quarterback Walker Franz then passed to Ty Miles for the two-point conversion, giving Seguin a 24-12 lead.
The Mats forced another punt and once again wasted no time in finding pay dirt, with Franz hitting wideout Joe Salinas in stride for a 57-yard touchdown that helped Seguin take its first three-score lead.
The Matadors kept things rolling on its next possession, driving 57 yards in eight plays to punch it in once more. This time, Franz found Sheldon Whitson, who made a great diving catch in the end zone for a 7-yard score that punctuated Seguin’s lopsided win.
“That’s a big step for us and now we’ve got to continue to get better,” Walker said. “Teams that are going to play in the playoffs are going to get better as the season rolls along.”
The Matadors out-gained Lockhart 456 to 342 in the contest, with Franz finishing 12-for-18 passing for 148 yards and two scores.
Defensively, Seguin saw Justin Montoya record another fumble recovery to bring his season total to four. Travis Pescatello also covered up a loose football for the Mats.
Seguin’s victory increased the team’s winning streak to two games — the first time since 2007 that the Matadors have won back-to-back contests.
Applewhite acknowledged that it was an important victory for his team but also realizes that it’s back to business in a matter of days.
“We’re going to celebrate tonight,” the junior said. “But then we’re going to get ready for the next game coming up against Alamo Heights.”
The Mules (3-1, 1-0) are coming off of a 24-0 win Friday night on the road over Boerne Champion (2-2, 0-1). Seguin will travel to San Antonio Friday for a 7:30 p.m. kickoff.