SAN ANTONIO—Despite a couple of late scores, the Pleasanton football team remained undefeated Friday after building a big lead over San Antonio Lanier.
The Eagles (2-0) led by 25 points entering the fourth quarter en route to a 32-21 victory over the Voks at the San Antonio ISD Sports Complex. Lanier (0-2) scored two touchdowns in the final 4:26 to cut into the deficit.
“We showed a lot of good signs here tonight,” Pleasanton coach Stephen Liska said. “A lot of kids made plays.”
The Pleasanton offense had its best performance of the season and opened the scoring with an efficient first possession.
The Eagles went 58 yards on five plays after taking over following a three-and-out. Junior quarterback Johnny Zamora went 4-for-4 on the drive, including a 9-yard scoring pass to Gabriel Murillo less than four minutes into the game.
Murillo, who had six catches for 71 yards, was one of four receivers with at least 44 yards.
“That’s what we want to do,” Liska said. “We want to spread the ball around on offense…There’s one ball, and we’ve got multiple weapons to get it to.
“Last week, Gabriel Murillo didn’t catch one ball…What they’re giving us, we’re going to take. Next week it might be Isaac Mendiola or it might be another kid. Whoever’s open, we’re going to get the ball to.”
Pleasanton looked like it might be on its way to a blowout after senior defensive back Nick Ramos picked off a JD Boone pass on the ensuing drive. However, the Voks defense provided a big stop that sparked Lanier’s offense.
Boone capped an eight-play drive with a quarterback sneak into the end zone from 3 yards out to tie the game with 10:59 before halftime.
Victor Gutierrez’s 28-yard field goal and a touchdown run by sophomore Daniel Valadez put the Eagles in front 18-7 at the break. Valadez, who finished with 34 rushing yards on four carries, plunged 3 yards into the end zone to cap a drive that began with a 59-yard catch by Dalton Hobbs.
Like its opening drive, Pleasanton had a strong offensive possession to start the second half.
Hobbs brought in his second reception for a 23-yard touchdown after extending the ball past the goal line.
The Eagles’ final score came on Austin Renner’s 5-yard run. Gutierrez’s extra point put Pleasanton on top 32-7 with 35 seconds remaining before the fourth quarter.
The Renner touchdown was set up by Ramos’ second interception, which tied his season total from 2016 and also won him a pizza after a friendly wager with a coach.
“We had this gameplan executed the whole time,” Ramos said. “You just keep moving your feet and good things will happen. That’s the best I can say. It was a good, team win.”
It was another solid performance for the Eagles defense, which allowed 256 yards.
“We’re well put together,” Ramos said of the defense. “It’s all a family when it comes to this team. We execute together, and we communicate. That’s the best part. That’s the best thing I can ask for right now.”
The Voks gained 83 yards in their last two possessions after some Pleasanton reserves entered the game.
“We’re trying to stay healthy, get players in the game,” Liska said. “We’re there, it’s just we weren’t making plays.”
Lanier running back Christian Cervantes had 171 yards of offense, including 121 on 25 carries. His first score came on a sixth consecutve handoff.
Cervantes also scored on a 15-yard pass, one of his three receptions.
“He’s a scrappy kid,” Liska said of the Voks running back. “He’s a real good young man…He’s shifty. He’s got a lot of moves on him. He was the guy we were keying on. He’s very elusive. It was good to play a guy like that early in the season, because we’re going to see guys like that throughout the year.”
The Eagles will return home to face rival Jourdanton on Friday. Pleasanton topped the Indians 28-14 last season in the first game between the teams since 1961.
“I’ve got a lot of respect for that program over there,” Liska said. “Coach [Darrell] Andrus came home to get that program recognized again, and he’s doing a great job.
“It was a 55-year reunion last year, so it’s going to be a good ballgame. I’m glad we’ve got them at home this year in Eagle Country. We’ll just tee the ball up and see what happens.”
It is safe to say the Eagles are anxious to hit the field as well.
“You’re going to want to be there,” Ramos said. “It’s going to be a live