By JOHN BLACK
FREEPORT (Sp) - What's the best remedy for a loss? A win. And the bigger the better.
The La Porte Bulldogs, under the direction of head coach Jeff LaReau, found the cure for at least a portion of their previous ailments here Friday night as they bounced back from their only loss of the season last week to bulldoze past the Brazoswood Buccaneers, 52-14.
The victory moved the Bulldogs to 3-1 on the season, and they get their first taste of District 21-5A action at 7 p.m. this coming Friday when they host the Baytown Sterling Rangers. It will be Homecoming for the Bulldogs, as they begin defense of their 2011 league championship - a blitz that saw them run the table in district play, on their way to a 12-2 season record.
Against the Bucs Friday, the Bulldogs scored early and they scored often. La Porte had its starting quarterback in action once again, after he had to sit out the majority of the game last week in the loss to Clear Springs. But while signal caller Jordan Jackson was back in the lineup, there were still key players missing on both the offensive and defensive sides of the ball.
Offensive linemen Tony Briones and Maurice Morris were still hobbled by injuries and not even suited out Friday, but regular starters and stalwarts Justin King and Jose Garcia and Michael Leagan and tight end Michael Rodriguez were in action, and they were joined by Tyler Davis and Logan Jackson up front offensively. And on the defensive side, linebacker Hoza Scott was unable to play due to an injury he suffered last week, and defensive back Malik Graves was on the sidelines as well.
But each of the Bulldogs stepped to the plate Friday, and the Bucs were left reeling.
The Dogs went three-and-out to open the game, but the defense - led by Alex Jones and Jesse Hickman and Lane Albertson and John Nelson on that first series - shut down Brazoswood and forced a punt. La Porte set up on the Brazoswood 40, and moved steadily to its first touchdown of the game.
Britt Grant started the scoring drive with a run of nine yards wide left, and Keith Whitely followed with a spinning run up the middle for six more yards and a first down at the 25. Whitely went off tackle for eight more yards, with Johnathan Lewis getting in the act next as he went wide left for 10 more and a first down at the seven. An offsides flag against the Bucs moved the ball inside the four, and after Whitely got two yards, he started right on second and goal from the two, made a cut toward the middle and dove over the Buc defenders, into the end zone for the score. Eric Medina booted the extra point and with 7:00 left in the first period, the Bulldogs had a 7-0 lead. '
After Corey Lee and Victor Holmes both made stops on the next Buc drive, it looked like the D was going to force another punt - but Brazoswood hit a home run on third down. A pitch to the left saw their halfback break it all the way down the sidelines for the score, and with 5:29 still left in the first quarter, the game was knotted at 7-7.
No problem, however, because the La Porte offense was still on a roll. Starting at their own 31, the Dogs got a big run from Whitely, who went off right tackle, broke free, and scampered 39 yards to the Brazoswood 30. And on third and 10, Jackson found Whitely in the middle of the field on a screen and the play covered 16 yards in all for a first down at the Buc 14.
After Keith got two yards, Jackson rolled right and found Jaron Dykstra behind everyone in the right corner of the end zone. Jordan put it on the mark and Dykstra gathered it in for the score, with Medina making it 14-0 with 3:02 still left in that active first period. The Bucs had a big return of the ensuing kickoff as Medina was going against the wind and pooched his first two boots of the night. But Garrett Green made a pair of excellent defensive plays and the Dogs stuffed the run on a fourth-down attempt, taking over at their own 28.
A three-and-out followed, but again the defense was up to the task, this time Trevor Mouton and Holmes and Rodriguez and Chase Smith making key plays and forcing another punt. The Dogs got the ball back on their own nine, and the scoring drive did not last long.
Grant got it rolling with a spinning run of nine yards, followed by a first-down run by Whitely to the 20. From that point Jackson rolled right and while still on the run lofted a perfect pass to Johnathan Lewis, racing down the right sidelines. Johnathan caught it in stride and outran everyone to the end zone. The play covered 80 yards, and the drive covered 91 in all in three plays. Medina made it 21-7 with 9:23 remaining before halftime.
After Travis Hudson made a fine open-field tackle on the ensuing kickoff to put the Bucs in a big hole at their own 11, Corey Lee and Ellis Hutchinson led the Dog D, forcing another Brazoswood punt.
The scoring drive started at the Buc 32 and ended with a Medina field goal. Actually, Eric lined up for a 42-yarder and it was barely wide left, but he got a mulligan when the Bucs were flagged for offsides. The super kicker was on the money with the second one, from 37 yards, and the Dogs had a 24-7 lead with 4:42 left before halftime.
So here comes the Big D again. Credit Medina first, as he booted the ensuing kickoff out of the end zone. Then Mouton and Green combined for a tackle; Alex Jones had a tackle as well; and Lee, Smith and Albertson combined for a stop to force another punt.
This drive to paydirt took two plays. Moving from the La Porte 45, the first was a 28-yard run by Lewis as he followed a convoy of blockers down the left sidelines to the Buc 27. Whitely went left as well on the next snap, breaking a tackle, moving even more to the left, and sprinting into the end zone for the fourth La Porte touchdown of the first half. It came with 2:27 left before halftime, and Medina's boot made it 31-7.
We will tell you as well that before the half ended, Holmes and Albertson and Hutchinson and Nelson had fine defensive plays to thwart the Bucs.
Let's pause here momentarily to say "Job Well Done" to both the Chatos Drill Team and the Mighty Bulldog Marching Band. Both produced impressive halftime performances.
Getting back to the football action, the Bulldogs wasted little time in extending their lead. After the defense - led this time by Joshua Marrujo's fine tackle on the kickoff and strong hits by Lee and Mark Guzman and Holmes and Green and Mouton - forced a punt, the Dogs set up on their own 44. Whitely went eight yards on first down, and followed that run with a 28-yarder and a first down at the Brazoswood 20. Lewis was next, and he took a pitch left and had an excellent run of 18 yards to the two, before Trevor Nelson bulled his way into the end zone for TD No. 5. It came with 7:25 left in the third period, and the Dogs had a 38-7 lead.
Holmes and Hutchinson combined to stop a pass on the next Buc possession, and Guzman, Albertson and Jones combined for a stop of no gain, while Smith made the final tackle that forced yet another punt.
The Bulldogs had a little trouble offensively on their next two tries, as Jackson was picked off twice - once due to a big hit as he was throwing the ball. And the Bucs tried to make it interesting as they hit a long pass for a TD with four seconds remaining in the third period to make it 38-14. But that was it for them offensively, while the Bulldogs still had two TDs remaining.
The first scoring drive from that point started at the Brazoswood 48 after a failed Buccaneer onside kick. Whitely ran for 12 yards to the 36; Keith stepped off 16 more to the 20 as the offensive line kept producing holes; and on third and eight, Clifton Figaro ran hard and had a nice spin for a total of eight and a first down at the 10. Lewis then followed a convoy of blockers wide left and put on a burst of speed to get into the end zone. Medina's kick made it 45-14 with 9:34 remaining in the game.
The Bucs tried to get something going but Jones had a tackle and Justin Pickett had a tackle and Guzman had a tackle for a loss and Hickman had a sack and Holmes picked off a pass and returned it to the Buc 35.
The final touchdown run was from two yards out as David Terrebonne got the TD after Albertson had set up the offense with a fumble recovery. That made it 52-14, and it was all over when Hudson recorded a sack on the final play of the game.
It was a dominating performance by La Porte, and it got the Dogs back on a winning track. Now comes the first of two league games - after Sterling comes a road trip to Beaumont West Brook, then an off ween, and then a little non-district event against the Deer Park Deer Oct. 20. Perhaps by that time all the walking wounded will be back in the fold, but for now, it seems safe to say that their replacements are starting to fill in quite nicely.