This past week, the Robstown Cotton Pickers clinched a playoff spot with a 17-6 victory over the Orange Grove Bulldogs.
The win gives the Pickers a 6-2 record on the year and a perfect 3-0 record for district play. Although Orange Grove remains at the bottom of the district standings, they gave the Pickers a strong fight.
The entire first half was dominated by both defenses. The Picker defense kept a tight lid on the Bulldogs forcing five first-half punts, including two three-and-outs.
The Bulldogs defense was not as dominant, but pulled off the "bend, don't break" strategy. Orange Grove forced two turnovers, a punt, and twice stopped the Pickers on downs deep in their own territory.
Late in the second quarter, Robstown finally put something on the scoreboard. Jacob Garcia broke through and blocked J. Michael Sullivan's punt. Two plays later, Picker quarterback Randy Flores scored on a three-yard touchdown run with 1:06 left in the half making the score 7-0.
"I thought Jacob did a great job on that blocked punt," said Head Coach Doug Wood. "We probably wouldn't have scored if it wasn't for that."
At the start of the third quarter, Orange Grove fumbled on their opening drive. Robstown would convert the turnover into points off a four-yard touchdown run by Marty Gutierrez. Jesus Guerrero knocked down the extra-point to make the score 14-0
The Bulldogs found new life after an exchange of fumbles, giving them the ball at the Robstown fifteen-yard line. Tough running up the middle put them down to the one, where Michael Stehle punched it in to get Orange Grove on the board, 14-6.
The Pickers answered by draining the clock and scoring off a 37-yard field goal by Guerrero. Orange Grove drove as far as mid-field before turning the ball over on downs.
With 1:06 in the game, Flores took a knee to put the game away, 17-6.
Friday night the Pickers will travel to take on fellow district leader, Raymondville.
The winner of the game will claim at least a share of the district championship.
"We're thinking about one thing, that's next week," said Wood. "We got a big one next week, and then we control our destiny for the district title."