BY KEVIN NARRO
WESLACO — All season, Weslaco High quarterback Jacob Cavazos made big play after big play.
On Saturday night, the senior may have made one of the bigger plays of his career.
On fourth-and-2 and his team trailing, Cavazos stepped back and hit running back Peyton Knaub on a wheel route. Knaub did the rest, sprinting down the sideline for a 30-yard touchdown. The late score gave the Panthers the momentum as they held off a late rally from Los Fresnos to win 35-28 in a Class 6A Division I bi-district game.
“We figured Los Fresnos was going to load the box and stop Peyton (Knaub),” Weslaco High coach Marcus Stroman said. “Our coaches saved that play in their back pocket, and we had seen it on film. Lucky for us it was a good toss, and he caught it and scored. We just wanted a first down, but we will take it.
“(Jacob) just came over and winked at me after he threw that touchdown,” Stroman said.
Weslaco High next meets McAllen Memorial at 7:30 p.m. next Friday at Bobby Lackey Stadium.
“Whenever you get a Weslaco-vs.-Los Fresnos matchup, this is what you are going to get,” Stroman said. “What we did as a team, there are so many highs and lows, and we didn’t press or panic. We stayed even-keeled. Hats off to Los Fresnos, they have a great football team.”
On the Falcons’ first pass attempt of the night, Adrian Longoria hit Nico Valencia for a 34-yard play that helped set up a Chris Resendiz touchdown, giving the Falcons a 21-20 lead with five minutes left in the game.
The Falcons had an opportunity for a game-tying drive and started at their own 32-yard line. On the first play from scrimmage and with 2:57 left, Los Fresnos fumbled the ball and Weslaco High’s Jesse Hernandez put the game on ice for the Panthers with a late touchdown.
On the next drive, Valencia found the end zone to cut the deficit to 35-28 during the final minute. Los Fresnos attempted an onside kick but did not recover.
“Our kids battled tonight, and if we take care of the ball a little better we have a chance there at the end,” Los Fresnos coach Patrick Brown said. “That is one me. Completely hats off to Weslaco. They did a great job tonight, and I think they will do a good job in the next round of the playoffs.”
The Panthers scored on their opening drive with a Jacob Cavazos rushing touchdown. The Falcons answered right back with a Adrian Longoria touchdown.
During the second half, the Panthers’ defense forced turnovers and came up with two key stops on fourth down.
“Our defensive coordinators did a good job on adjusting to what Los Fresnos was doing, and I’m proud of the way our boys trusted our plan and executed. Those stops were huge. We had to replace 11 guys on defense and they knew that, and they stepped up and forced those turnovers at a crucial time.” Stroman said.
The Falcons end their season with a 3-8 overall record and 2-3 district record.
“I think any of the last two or three teams we played will tell you the same thing,” Brown said of his squad’s play down the stretch. “We are starting to understand what we need to do in this offense, and our defense has been playing better. I’m just sad that our boys are not moving on for another game.”