It was a tough pill for Tuloso-Midway to swallow. While it was their fourth loss of the season, this one was a little different.
“I'd rather get beat 60-0,” Head Coach Jose Sendejar said. “We had the kids play their hearts out. Two mistakes cost us this game. This one hurts.”
The Warrior fell to the Miller Buccaneers Friday, 28-20. The loss drops them to an overall record of 0-4 as they head into district season week.
“The good thing about it is I see the hurt in their eyes,” Sendejar said. “Earlier in the year, it didn't bother them to lose. This one bothered them tonight.”
It was big plays that ultimately did in the Warriors, as three of Miller's four touchdowns came on plays longer than 40 yards. Statistically, T-M matched up well with the Bucaneers, producing 283 yards of total offense to Miller's 292.
The Bucs struck first, taking advantage of a blown coverage assignment, as quarterback Julian Firo connected with Jesse Franco from 46 yards out. The score gave them a 7-0 lead in the first quarter.
Following a power outage at the stadium, the Warriors built a head of steam with back-to-back touchdowns from Alberto Vega and Tyler Smith, giving them a 13-7 lead at halftime.
T-M's offense had to stick to their ground game, as starting quarterback Jonathan Iglesias left the game early with a shoulder injury.
“Our kids did a great job of pulling together after that,” Sendejar said. “Maclovio (Reyes) knew he had to step up and play that position. The guys rallied around him offensively and defensively.”
Reyes had a rough outing passing, as he threw two interceptions on only seven pass attempts. However, the ground game kept things moving as Smith finished with 104 yards on 12 carries.
The Bucs reclaimed the lead on the first play of the second half when Lio Cruz returned the opening kickoff 99 yards for the 14-13 lead. After another touchdown by Maquis Lewis, Firo put things out of reach with a 70-yard touchdown on a quarterback draw late in the fourth quarter, making the score 28-13.
T-M's Michael Gonzalez gave the Warriors a window of hope, returning a fumble 56 yards for a score. But the ensuing kickoff rolled out of bounds, allowing the Bucs to run out the clock.
The Warriors will begin district play this Friday when they travel to play Alice. The Coyotes won their district opener last week against Moody, 36-7.
“It's going to be tough,” Sendejar said. “(Alice) has all that tradition. But we don't care. For us it's the beginning of a brand new season. Those other games don't count. They start counting next week.”