(Seguin) - A rash of penalties, turnovers, and breakdowns in pass protection proved too much for a valiant defensive effort to overcome in Seguin's 25-22 loss to Antonian Prep on the opening Friday of the 2018 football season at Matador Stadium.
The Matadors fought back from early 13-0 deficit to take a 14-13 lead early in the third quarter, but Antonian used a 23-yard touchdown pass from Kalil Warfield to Matthew Brooks later in the period and a 35-yard fumble return for a score by Locke Lynd with 5:30 left in the fourth to open up a 25-14 cushion.
Seguin fought to the end, using a one-yard touchdown run by Darian Shannon and a two-point conversion pass from Jhalen Mickles to Dillion Gutierrez at the end of an 84-yard drive to pull within three, 25-22, with 21 seconds to play.
Antonian recovered a well-executed onside kick by Seguin's Luke DeLeon and ran out the clock to dash the Matadors' hopes of a miracle comeback.
"Hats off to Antonian," Seguin head coach Travis Bush said after an outcome few pundits predicted last week. "They played their tails off tonight, they dominated the line of scrimmage, I thought, on both sides of the football, but early on in the ballgame, our defense was on the field too much. The offense couldn't get in a rhythm, we couldn't get some things going offensively, the defense was out there a lot, and we started having some guys cramp up in the second quarter, but they did a job at one point to kind of let us get back in the game, but then we kind of gave them some big plays there, and let them go down and score."
Warfield hit Lynd with a deep pass for a 74-yard gain, then scampered into the end zone from six yards out on the next play to put Antonian in front 7-0 with 7:55 left in the first period.
Lynd intercepted a Mickles pass and returned it to the Seguin 29 later in the period, and Warfield powered in from the one for his second touchdown seven plays later. A missed PAT kick left the margin at 13-0.
Seguin scored its first touchdown with 8:26 left in the second period when Mickles launched a deep spiral down the right sideline and Haas sprinted under it for a 50-yard snag. Luke DeLeon's kick pulled Seguin within six, 13-7.
The Matadors came out sharp after halftime, taking the opening drive of the third quarter 61 yards in seven plays, including a 41-yard completion from Mickles to Jordan Parker. The final snap of the possession from the five almost resulted in disaster when a defender forced a Mickles fumble, but Parker recovered the loose ball near the goal line and made it into the end zone. Another successful PAT by DeLeon gave Seguin its only lead, 14-13, a little more than two minutes into the second half.
Seguin's offensive momentum was short lived. Antonian continued to pressure Mickles, and penalties continued to put the Mats behind the chains and derail possessions.
Bush indicated that his team's effort wasn't an issue so much as its mindset.
"We played tight," the coach said. "Guys have been excited, we've been talking about this for a long time, they've been working their tails off, and you can see that we're capable of making plays, but we kept shooting ourselves in the foot. Penalties, and we've got a lot of new o-linemen up front. They were big up front, big d-linemen. But it's just shooting ourselves in the foot. Get a drive going, fumble, throw and interception, missing balls, just killing ourselves."
Haas finished with 116 receiving yards on six catches, and Tavawn Williams paced the rushing attack with 92 yards on seven carries. Jacob Berkley added 66 yards on 11 carries. Mickles finished 12-25 passing for 185 yards an an interception.
Seguin (0-1) looks to clean up the miscues quickly, with rival New Braunfels looming in the 106th Guadalupe River Bowl, slated for 7:30 p.m. Friday at Unicorn Stadium. The game will air live on KWED 1580 AM and Seguintoday.com. Pre-game coverage starts at 6:30 with the Navarro, Marion, and Lifegate coaches' shows.