By JOHN BLACK
PASADENA (Sp) - Now that's more like it.
Last week the La Porte Bulldogs struggled against what was supposed to be - but wasn't - an outmanned Clear Brook team in an overtime win. Friday, against a South Houston team that was definitely outmanned, the Bulldogs had their way early, racking up a 34-7 halftime lead on their way to a convincing 55-21 victory. It was their second win of 2012 in as many tries.
And now they come back home, for another non-district tilt -- a 7 p.m. Friday contest in Bulldog Stadium against Clear Springs.
Against the Trojans Friday, the Bulldogs asserted their dominance with a nice combination of running and passing. They scored on four of their first five possessions offensively, and while the defense struggled at times against the pass, you could say that the D bent but rarely broke.
The Bulldogs had the wind to start the game, and after senior kicker Eric Medina booted the first of five straight kickoffs out of the end zone, the defense wasted little time getting the ball, as defensive back Malik Graves recorded an interception on the first Trojan offensive attempt of the game.
With the ball at the South Houston 32, the offensive line of Jose Garcia and Michael Leagan and Tony Briones and Justin King and Michael Rodriguez and Jared Howard (in for the injured Maurice Morris) took control. Keith Whitely stepped off three yards, then sophomore running back Britt Grant went wide right for 10 yards and a first down at the 19.
Johnathan Lewis then took a handoff from quarterback Jordan Jackson and covered seven yards wide left to the 12, and on second and three Grant took a pitch wide right and followed blocker Whitely into the right corner of the end zone for the score. It came with 10:47 still left in the initial period, and Medina was true for the 7-0 lead.
After the Trojans managed one first down, Corey Lee clogged up the middle on a run and Alex Jones had a big hit for the tackle and a loss of two; Victor Holmes was in the right spot to stop a pass try; and Chase Smith, while in the South Houston backfield on a rush, tipped a pass attempt and it fell to the ground, forcing a punt.
This drive did not last long. It started with Whitely taking a handoff up the middle, cutting right, and racing 51 yards to a first down at the Trojan 17. Holmes, in at quarterback, kept for a first down to the seven, and he then kept against for what appeared to be another TD - except that the Dogs were flagged for holding. So move it back to the Trojan 17.
No problem, however, because Jackson came back in at quarterback, rolled right, and while still on the run fired a perfect strike to Michael Rodriguez, who was wide open in the end zone. This second TD came with 8:19 left in the first period, and Medina made it 14-0.
The next possession did not start well for the Trojans as Jesse Hickman put on a big rush of the quarterback and Corey Lee and Alex Jones got the sack; and soon thereafter, someone in the defensive line managed to strip a runner of the ball and Trevor Mouton recovered, setting up La Porte at the South Houston 41.
The "drive" covered all 41 yards in one play - Jackson handed the ball off, got it back, went right and fired a long bullet to Jahvey Mark, who was streaking down the field and had gotten behind everyone. Jahvey hauled it in, Medina kicked true again, and the Dogs had a 21-0 lead with over half the first quarter still left.
South Houston did manage a fairly impressive drive, and in fact overcame a holding penalty that wiped out a TD, to eventually find the end zone with just over four minutes left in the first quarter. That made it 21-7, but 14 points was as close as the Trojans could get.
The fourth La Porte touchdown drive covered 67 yards. It started with a burst - literally - as Lewis took a handoff right, turned the corner and turned on the jets. He actually got to the South Houston 20, but stepped out of bound at the 36. That only delayed the inevitable. Jackson hit Grant on a quick strike left and Brett had a nice run after the catch for a gain of 12; Whitely went right for seven yards on third and 10; and Jackson found a streaking Lewis in the end zone for TD No. 4. Medina's kick made it 28-7 with 3:01 still left in that very eventful first period.
South Houston had to punt soon thereafter and Graves made the most of a bad snap as he made a fine open-field tackle in the backfield to give the Dogs the ball on the Trojan 45. On third and 15, Jackson threw to Bryson Rogers, who made a very nice catch for a first down and a gain of 15.
Lewis was next and he ran through a huge hole up the middle for a 20-yard gain, and Johnathan then tried the middle again and got five yards to the 10. But the drive stalled and Medina never had a chance to try the 37-yard field goal as there were problems on the snap and hold.
That, however, only delayed the inevitable. Justin Pickell and Ellis Hutchinson had nice defensive plays on the next Trojan possession, and the Dogs got the ball back on their own 39.
Clifton Figaro was now in a running back and he got five yards, before he went wide left for 12 and a first down at the Trojan 44. Lewis stepped off seven yards, before Grant went wide right to the 29 - and tack on half-the-distance for a facemask call. That gave the Dogs a first down just inside the South Houston 15.
An interference call against the Trojans in the end zone on third and long gave the Dogs the break they needed to get TD No. 5. It came when Lewis went the final three yards for the score with 7:06 remaining before halftime. The kick failed, so La Porte carried a 34-7 lead into the halftime dressing room.
Let's stop for a moment to compliment both the Mighty Bulldog Marching Band and the Chatos Drill Team for fine halftime performances. Both appear to already be in mid-season form.
Getting back to the football action, the Bulldogs took the second half kickoff and set up offensively on their own 25. They were not there long. Lewis went left, cut, put on a burst, got into the open field and covered the entire 75 yards to the end zone very quickly. Medina made it 41-7, and only a few seconds had ticked off the Memorial Stadium clock.
That lead was soon extended to 48-7 as the Bulldogs again started on their own 25. Grant got 14 yards, before Holmes kept for nine. Victor then added five and a first down, and a couple of carries by Lewis got the ball to the South Houston 30. Grant had a fine run of 20 to the 10, before fullback Joshua Marrujo bulled to the three. And on third and three Lewis took a pitch left and was not to be denied, getting the TD with 4:58 still left in the third period. Medina made it 48-7.
As a host of Bulldogs began to see action, the Trojans got a couple of touchdowns - but sandwiched in between those two scores was a 78-yard sprint down the right sidelines by Holmes on a keeper. Medina's kick made it 55-14 with 5:14 remaining in the game. A long pass after a Bulldog defensive back slipped to the turf made it 55-21 12 seconds later, but obviously, this one was long ago tucked into the win column.