By LARRY GAGE
Special to the PRESS
It was a beautiful spring evening for a football game and the Lady Tarpon players of the junior class of Port Isabel High took full advantage, coming from behind to defeat the Class of 2015 team, 18-8, in the third annual Powderpuff Football Game at Tarpon Stadium Wednesday night.
It was the first win in the annual series after two wins by the seniors, this one being arguably the most entertaining of the three games. The seniors took an 8-0 lead on a 15-yard touchdown pass from Kelcie Swink to Avery Colunga in the second quarter.
The juniors weren’t going to take that lying down as Karina Vela took the ensuing kickoff all the way back for the score with eight seconds to go in the half. The try for two on the conversion was no good and the seniors led 8-6 at the break.
“I was told to throw to Avery,” senior quarterback Kelcie Swink said afterwards. “I saw her open so I just threw the ball. Someone just came at me and pounded me into the ground. I had no idea what happened. All I know is that everyone was screaming.”
The juniors took a 12-8 lead in the third quarter when Alex Martinez turned on the jets and sped 50 yards to the end zone. Ana Martinez passed to Vela for a 41-yard touchdown play and an 18-8 third quarter lead, and that was a final.
“We played as a team, together, just like we practiced, all the way through,” Alex Martinez told the Press after the game. “It feels good.” Martinez described her TD run; “They gave me the ball and I was supposed to pass it, but the girl … wasn’t open, so I just took it.”
“At first our line was a little weak, but they got it together,” junior player Ipzel Hernandez said. “It was all the line, and we hit the holes. Yes, she’s (Alex) fast. Karina, Alex, Tanya (Barbarena) … we’ve got some fast girls. If it wasn’t for them – speed gets it done.”
English teacher and head coach for the seniors, Mike Hancock, said, “I thought we were completely prepared. Defensively, we weakened as we went on. We had a couple injuries that set us back, nothing serious. The juniors did great. They were in great condition.”
The two sides filled the air with footballs and sometimes paid the price. Senior defenders Avery Colunga and Hannah Wadell each got interceptions, and Alex Martinez had one pick with a nice return. Martinez later picked off another senior pass and made a big runback, but it was called back on a penalty.
Extra entertainment was provided by the all-male cheerleader squad, who threw themselves into it. Clearly they were prepared to put on a show and the 400 or so spectators in attendance loved it.
A couple of them even tried to get into the game. With a few minutes to play J.J. Gonzalez, disguised in a blond wig, tried an end run to the near sideline and was stopped for no gain. The seniors were flagged for illegal substitution on the play.
Graduating senior Gabby Torres went in for a few plays in the second half. She didn’t stay in long as she is still recovering from an injury to her right knee. “It was lots of fun. It’s (the knee) not fully healed, but it’s O.K. That’s why I wasn’t able to play.”
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