SAN ANGELO, TX — Following a tough defeat at the Hereford Whitefaces’ hands last week, the Lake View Chiefs opened up district play tonight, Oct. 15. Hoping for a better outing against the Fort Stockton Panthers at San Angelo Stadium, the Chiefs seemed ready. However, the inability to stop the run along with mental mistakes and multiple turnovers sunk the Chiefs’ chance at a win. Lake View gets pummeled tonight and lose their district opener, 65-28.
Looking for a statement when to begin district play, quarterback Albert Rodriguez and the rest of the Chiefs came out swinging. The defense shut out the Panthers on their first drive forcing three short plays and a punt. Lake View moved the ball efficiently for the first few plays on their first offensive possession, however, a fumble ended the Chiefs’ bid to strike first. The Panthers took over in Lake View territory near midfield. Set up by a long, 31-yard run by RB Jaylee Ibarra, Pedro Vasquez waltzed into the end zone from nine yards out. The Panthers capitalized off of the Lake View mistake and scored the opening points, including a 2-point conversion, and led 8-0.
WR Austin Bandy set up the Chiefs’ offense with excellent field position at the Fort Stockton 40 yard line during the ensuing kickoff. However, penalties stalled every attempt Lake View made to move the ball down the field, forcing the Chiefs to punt. Disaster struck again on the next play when the Fort Stockton defense blocked the punt and took over at the Lake View 47-yard line. During that drive, an athletic move on the outside turned the excellent field position into a highlight as Pedro Vasquez scored from 52 yards out. The quick, two-play drive put the Panthers up 14-0 and the 2-point conversion attempt failed.
With the ball at the 30-yard line, Lake View’s offense woke up. A 10-plus play drive, including some hard running behind the sturdy legs of RB Josh Torres, saw Lake View score their first points of the night. Albert Rodriguez finished the long drive with a 1-yard touchdown via a quarterback keeper. Chiefs trailed, 14-7.
The Lake View defense still had no answer for the rushing attack from Fort Stockton on the Panthers following drive. Big plays made by the Panther running back duo Jaylee Ibarra and Pedro Vazquez quickly moved the ball down the field. A 2-yard pass from QB Dominic Aguilar to Ibarra put the Panthers up at the end of the first quarter by a score of 20-7.
The game did not get any better for the Chiefs at the beginning of the second quarter. An errant snap over the Lake View punter’s head gave Fort Stockton the ball on the Lake View 2 yard line. Jaylee Ibarra scored a play later. A missed two-point conversion saw the Panthers extend their lead, 26-7.
Refusing to give up the fight, Austin Bandy had his second explosive kick return of the night, giving the Chiefs the ball to start the drive at the Fort Stockton 34-yard line. A brutal run by Josh Torres, a run where he broke three different tackles on his way to the goal line, set up a 2-yard touchdown pass from Albert Rodriguez to WR Tristan Franklin. The Chiefs pulled a bit closer, trailing 26-14.
Mental mistakes by the Chiefs saw them struggle for the rest of the first half on both sides of the ball, surrendering multiple scores. First, moving the ball down the field with relative ease, Fort Stockton’s Aguilar threw an 18-yard strike to Jaylee Ibarra to put the Panthers on the board again. The next score, another turnover on a broken play that saw Albert Rodriguez and three different Panther players chasing a fumble 40 yards down the field. Fort Stockton recovered the ball in the endzone for a touchdown. Lastly, on the next drive, yet another errant snap on 4th down saw the Panthers recover another Lake View fumble in the end zone. The Chiefs limped into the locker room, down 50-14.
Desperately looking for anything positive in the second half, Lake View set up shop with the ball first at their own 35-yard line. Tough running, again, by Josh Torres set up a deep touchdown pass from Albert Rodriguez to WR Brandon Herrera. The daunting deficit remained, but the Chiefs cut the lead down, 50-21.
A shut out from the Lake View defense handed the ball right back to the offense at the Chiefs’ 15-yard line. After pushing the ball to midfield, a failed 4th down attempt ended Lake View’s hopes of a quick two-turn around. The defense had to prove that they could stop the Panther offense. The Chiefs’ defense delivered, handing the ball back to the offense after another three and out. A 45-yard reception by Tristan Franklin jump started the Chiefs on the way to Lake View’s second touchdown score of the half. Another 22-yard touchdown pass and catch from Rodriguez to Herrera narrowed Fort Stockton’s lead again to 50-28.
Despite how well Lake View’s defense came out in the second half, the Panther’s offense inevitably started moving the ball again. On Fort Stockton’s next drive, it took Pedro Velasquez one play to run 48 yards and another score. The Panthers pulled further away, and virtually out of reach, 58-28.
Fort Stockton added another score in the 4th quarter, extending the lead to 65-28. The Chiefs could not get anything else going offensively as the game ended in a blowout. Lake View lost 65-28.
On paper, Lake View matched up well with Fort Stockton. Tonight proved that mental mistakes and turnovers could tip the scale heavily in one direction or the other. Defensively, Lake View’s inability to stop Fort Stockton’s rushing attack allowed any mistake made by the Chiefs’ offense to be magnified by forcing the defense back out on the field, tiring the players. Then, on multiple occasions, a turnover by the offense was then immediately capitalized by Fort Stockton. It is hard enough to win a football game while playing perfectly, but adding multiple turnovers to the mix makes it virtually impossible.
This is Lake View’s learning experience for the rest of the season. They have talented players on both sides of the ball. This offense has shown that it can be incredibly explosive behind the legs of Josh Torres and the arm of Albert Rodriguez.
When asked after the game, Head Coach Hector Guevara added, “This is just one ball game. Unfortunately it did not work out the way we wanted it to, but we have to gather ourselves for next week and push for a better outcome...If this is one of the worst things in life that happens to these young men, then we will be ok.”
The Lake View Chiefs (4-4, 0-1) continue their district campaign next week against the Andrews Mustangs, October 23, at 7 p.m., at San Angelo Stadium.