No. 10 Jourdanton stifles Natalia

Jarel Lilly scampers upfield in Jourdanton’s win over Natalia to open the 2020 season. J GARCIA | PLEASANTON EXPRESS

The no. 10-ranked Jourdanton Indians finally had some sense of normalcy when the football team hit the field.

The Indians crushed the visiting Natalia Mustangs 49-24 on Friday night in their 2020 season opener.

“I’m really happy with the way we played together, How we work together and I’m really proud of all my teammates. They played great,” said quarterback Cole Andrus.

With the uncertainty of COVID-19, Andrus was happy to be back under the stadium lights.

“We just prayed everyday. It kept us strong and together,” Andrus said. “It definitely went well. Plenty of things to work on.” 

Even after the lopsided win, Andrus is ready to get back to work. He said the week begins tomorrow for next week’s game.

Cole Andrus tries to evade a Natalia tackler in Jourdanton’s season-opening win of 2020. J GARCIA | PLEASANTON EXPRESS

“We definitely need to get more conditioned. We gotta be strong and gotta get conditioned, though. We’ve got to hydrate,” Andrus said. “We’ve got plenty of guys sweating like crazy tonight. We had plenty of cramps.”

Andrus said the pandemic kept the team close.

“We have this brotherhood that no one can break. We’re all there for each other picking each other up when we are down and we just push each other to our best limits,” Andrus said.

Head Coach Darrell Andrus agreed with his quarterback’s thoughts on conditioning.

“We didn’t look like we’re in the best shape, in my opinion, at times and I get it, it was hot sucker,” coach Andrus said. “I don’t know what we’re going to look like on film, but we need to find our conditioning.”

The Indians found the endzone early and often against the Mustangs. On their first play of the game, Andrus threw a pass from midfield to his receiver.

“That’s what we do. You know, we try to score quick and put points up, obviously, you know it’s a different matchup each and every night, but you know that’s been a good trick play. It’s been in the old offensive playbook for years,” coach Andrus said.

After the first quarter, the Indians led Natalia, 14-6. In the second quarter, Payton Gonzales ran past multiple Mustangs to the endzone for a 21-12 lead going to the half.

After halftime, the Indians kept their foot on the gas and Andrus scored a one-yard touchdown run.

The defense for Jourdanton pulled down three interceptions on the night and two led to scores.

Nick Cordova had a touchdown catch after Andrus escaped the pass rush.

Wide receiver Jarel Lilly pulled down a pass that looked just out of reach inside the 10 yard line. The next play Lilly grabbed the ball just inside of the pile-on for the score.

“It just looked like it was going to be over my reach, but I stuck my hand out and it just stuck to my glove,” Lilly said.

He said making adjustments was key to the two big plays to start the third quarter.

Jourdanton finished the third quarter with 49 points and held Natalia to 18 points.

The defense stalled Natalia’s offense, which kept the ball in Andrus’ hands.

“This win is huge,” said Colton Schuchart. “We’ve been working so hard. Ever since we’ve been able to come back from all the hardships that we’ve been having to go through, I mean I feel like this team has really stayed together and stayed focused.”

He said the defense was making stops.

“I mean everybody was doing their job today and they were doing great,” Schuchart added. “They caused the quarterback to scramble and roll out and cause a disturbance back there and defensive backs were doing great.”

They were just trying to stay back and not let the ball get behind him, Schuchart said.

“We’re just trying to do our jobs and then knowing that the offense can put points on the board like that it’s like a weight off our shoulders knowing that we can have trust,” Schuchart said.

The game ended with Natalia scoring on a run play. The final score was 49-24.

“This win tonight, it’s great. I mean, there’s nothing else like South Texas high school football,” Schuchart said.

The Indians (1-0) will welcome Class 4A, Division I no. 4 Calallen (0-1) to Indian Stadium for an early marquee matchup at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 4.

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