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Lake Arthur falls in big upset

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Lake Arthur freshman defensive end Valdemar Diaz tracks down a Longhorn runner on Friday in Lake Arthur. Diaz had numerous tackles from his defensive end position. (Paul Lessard Photo)

LAKE ARTHUR – The Lake Arthur Panthers played one of their poorest games in many years while the Roy Longhorns played one of their better ones and that led to a shocking 39-33 victory for the visitors on the Panthers’ homecoming.

The hosts fought back from an early 18-7 hole and then traded scores throughout but came up five yards short at the final horn as the Longhorns celebrated their first victory since the 2015 season. The Longhorns suited out only seven but came up with numerous big plays as they recovered two fumbles, two interceptions, two on-sides kicks, and converted five 4th downs in the stunning win.

Coach Jose Porras was visibly disappointed in the effort from his young squad. “We came out flat and we didn’t play like we can. It’s heart-breaking because you know exactly who you have and what talent you have and what they are capable of, and they come out and play, probably, one of the flattest halves that we have ever played.”

The Longhorns (1-3) used lengthy drives on their first three possessions to score on each and lead early 18-7 early in the second quarter. The Panthers came out flat and took a while to catch up. The Panthers’ first score came from senior Luis Tarango who caught two passes from freshman Adrian Guillen – the last from 24 yards out for the score.

Guillen would toss another score to Armando Rey to cut the lead to 18-14 and then Panthers would go into half up 20-18 following a fumble recovery in the end zone by Kyle Palmer.

The second half saw the Panthers and Longhorns trade shots as neither could score on their first two possessions. Valdemar Diaz would barrel into the end zone from a yard out to give the Panthers a 27-18 lead late in the third quarter. He set up his own score with 31 yard fumble return on the Longhorns’ previous possession.

The Longhorns would answer with a quick 65 yard scamper and a 2 yard run to lead 31-27 early in the fourth.

Rey would bust lose for a 42 yard sprint to give Lake Arthur the lead at 33-31 with 8:58 to go. Rey would finish with 173 yards on 29 carries.

Both teams would trade interceptions to give the Longhorns one last shot at the end zone – and they did, driving 64 yards in 10 plays to score with 2:18 to go. The Longhorns would score on 30 yard pass on a 4th-and-15 situation.

The Panthers (1-3) would drive from their own 13 to the Longhorn 5 in the final 2:08 – on 8 straight run plays from Rey – but time would run out at the five and the Longhorns could celebrate a rare win.

“It was back and forth, back and forth, but then on defense, we take a play off and it’s one of those things where we put ourselves in a poor position,” stated Porras.

He explained that, despite the team playing four freshman, that he was expecting more of a fight from his squad. “This is our fourth game and, after looking at the first half, we are thinking ‘what happened’. We should have all of this stuff ironed out. We came out flat. That was the story of the game.”

The Panthers have a week off before traveling to San Jon on Oct 6th. The game will be a rematch of last year’s state title game – won by the Coyotes by one point.