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Nov. 4, 1998

A CHAMPIONSHIP OPPORTUNITY - Solid Tivy Team Roadblock To Sole Possession Of District Crown

      A chance to claim their school's fourth straight district championship awaits members of the Fredericksburg High School varsity football team this Friday, Nov. 6, when they travel to Kerrville for a 7:30 p.m. kickoff with the Tivy Antlers.
      At 4-0 in 28-AAAA competition, the Billies have clinched at least a tie for first place in the district, while breathing down their necks is second-place Alamo Heights at 3-1.
      Locked up in third place at 2-2 are Kerrville and Boerne, and Friday's battle at Antler Stadium is a "must-win" situation for Kerrville's playoff hopes.
      "It would be nice to win over there on Friday and be the true district champs," said FHS head coach Jerald Klett. "But this is a big rivalry, and so our kids should be up for the game anyway."
      But defeating Kerrville is expected to be tougher than the Antler's record might indicate.
      "They are a very solid team with a lot of good size and speed," the Billie coach said. "It's just that they've had some bad luck this season with untimely turnovers and penalties."
      Going into the regular season's 10th and final week, the Antlers actually have outscored Fredericksburg in district action, 112-92, and rate second in league scoring just behind Alamo Heights' 124 points.
      One the entire year, Kerrville also is second in points scored at 193 points, ranking behind Heights (292) but ahead of Billies (180).
      "Kerrville is one of the better teams in our district and can line up to play with anybody," said Klett of a team that "can be dangerous if they get it all together."
      Both Tivy losses in district were close, having been determined by a difference of just nine points. Medina Valley slipped by the Antlers two weeks ago, 28-25, and then last weekend Kerrville lost a heartbreaker in triple-overtime to Heights, 26-20.
      Beforehand, the Antlers easily rolled over their first two league opponents. Uvalde lost by 31 points (39-8), while Boerne was a 16-point victim (28-12).
      Kerrville had prepared for 1998 district campaign by scheduling a tough series of pre-loop games that saw them fall in four of five contests to playoff contenders Hays (49-20), Marble Falls (21-7), New Braunfels Canyon (42-17) and San Angelo Lakeview (22-15).
      The Antlers' lone win in pre-district action came against Class AAAAA Del Rio (21-0).
      By comparison, after posting a 3-2 record in non-district play, the Billies encountered a big challenge in their first three 28-AAAA games and won by a combined total of just 20 points.
      Boerne fell in FHS' league opener by only three points (15-12), and then Fredericksburg slipped by Medina Valley (21-14) and Alamo Heights (27-21) before having an easier time of it last week against last-place Uvalde (27-7).
      Kerrville's potentially explosive offense is led by sophomore running back Marty Jefferson (190) and senior quarterback Matt Carraway (160).
      "Jefferson really can move and also has good cuts and can find the seams when he's running the ball," said Klett who added that Carraway is a threat both running and throwing the ball on sprint patterns.
      Both of Tivy's offensive and defensive lines are big, with right tackle Logan Attaway (6-4, 283), left tackle Jonathan Garza (265) and right guard George Garza (235) anchoring the offensive forward wall.
      Out of the offset-I, Kerrville relies on the run, although the Antlers have shown they can also move the ball effectively through the air, the FHS coach said.
      On defense, where the Antlers basically offer a five-man front although they occasionally give a split look with three deep in the secondary, the mainstays are left tackle Jay Silvers (6-4, 300), right tackle Jonathan Garza (265) and nosegurad Jason Gilbreath (190).
      "Their linebackers -- Curtis Tyler (205) and Nelson Tumlinson (190) -- are real quick," said Klett.
      The Billie coach added that Kerrville also is adept in the kicking department. "They like to bring eight people at you," he said, adding that Jefferson is good at returning punts and kickoffs.
      Kerrville's kicker -- senior Escar Rivera -- is back after proving himself last year when the Antlers placed second in district play with a 4-1 record under first-year head coach Neal LaHue whose 1997 club went 7-4 on the season.
      Klett said everyone on the FHS varsity roster should be ready to play in Kerrville on Friday, including senior defensive back Luis Lopez who sustained a broken finger in last week's win over Uvalde.
      "If we can keep our kids motivated and keep our eyes on winning that title outright, it ought to be a good game for us," Klett said Tuesday.
      Going into Friday's game, the Billies have given up the fewest points (128) in nine games among league's members, with Heights ranking second (138) ahead of Boerne (159) and Kerrville (208).
      In district play alone, however, FHS is second in points allowed (54) to Boerne (52), while Kerrville is third (74) and Heights fourth (81).
      The top three teams in final 28-AAAA standings after Friday night will next go up against leaders from 27-AAAA in bi-district playoff action that will follow in two weeks.
      At present, Hays Consolidated leads that six-school district with a 4-0 record, while four teams -- Smithson Valley, Bastrop, San Marcos and New Braunfels Canyon -- are tied for second at 2-2 ahead of last-place Lockhart (0-4).
      Friday's battle in Kerrville will be the fifth since two schools resumed playing each other in 1994.
      After Tivy won the latest series' first meeting in 1994 by 27-0, Fredericksburg has taken the last three contests (in order) by 31-14, 31-24 and 19-18 margins.
      A loss to Kerrville on Friday would find the Billies ending the regular season tied for first place with Alamo Heights, assuming the Mules can defeat Boerne this weekend.
      As for Kerrville, a win would assure the Antlers a playoff berth as the league's third-place team, while a loss to Fredericksburg could find Tivy out of the playoffs altogether, especially if Boerne upsets Heights.
      In the district's other season-finale game Friday, Uvalde (0-4) will host fifth-place Medina Valley (1-3).


      It started out in doubt but ended up on a positive note as the Fredericksburg varsity football team defeated Uvalde, 27-7, here Friday to clinch at least a tie for first place in 28-AAAA.
      The win sets up a regular-season finale in Kerrville this weekend when the Billies can win their school's fourth straight district championship outright.
      But winning that title did not seem so close during the first few minutes of Friday's game at FHS Stadium which was the Billies' last home game of the 1998 season.
      After seeing their first possession fizzle at the Uvalde 18 when a field goal try failed to split the uprights, the Billies soon found themselves trailing as the Coyotes drove the length of the field on Uvalde's first possession for a touchdown.
      Capping the 80-yard drive was a 27-yard touchdown pass from junior Brad Moore to sophomore Tyler Collier with 1:54 left in the first period. Ricky Navarro, another Uvalde sophomore, kicked the extra point, and the Pack was up, 7-0.
      "It was a good thing that they scored first," said FHS head coach Jerald Klett at Monday night's Billie Booster Club meeting, "because it woke us up, and we came back to play well."
      From there, the young Coyote club with 10 sophomores and only 11 seniors was able to venture into Fredericksburg territory just once in their next nine possessions.
      Meanwhile, the Billie offense was denied access across the 50 just twice in nine possessions.
      On their next possession after the Uvalde score, the Billies evened up the score, the Billies march which ended when junior quarterback T.J. Theis connected in the end zone with senior Luis Lopez on a 10-yard toss. Junior place kicker Charles Klein booted the PAT at 9:51 to go in the half for a 7-7 score.
      Not long afterward, Fredericksburg went ahead when junior defensive back Drew Woerner picked off a Moore pass at the Uvalde 34 and returned it for a touchdown. However, the point-after kick failed for a 13-7 Billie lead with 3:26 left before intermission.
      Fredericksburg recorded touchdown No. 3 late in the third period when senior running back Freddy Cantu got loose down the sideline for a 53-yard scoring run. However, the Billies' ensuing PAT running try for two points failed, holding the score to 19-7 with 4:52 remaining in the third quarter.
      On its next possession, the Billie offense iced the win with another scoring march, this one for 58 yards as Theis hit senior Grant Gold with a 46-yard TD bomb with 56 seconds left in the third. Again going for two, Cantu this time successfully converted the PAT try to end game scoring at 27-7.
      In the end, the Billies had their bast night of the season running the football as they rolled up 225 yards on the ground while on defense holding the Coyotes to an FHS season-best of only 77 yards rushing.
      Instrumental in keeping the Coyotes from coming back was a ground-stingy Billie defense that allowed Friday's visitors only 54 yards in total offense after the break.
      For Fredericksburg's offense, Friday's game was a big one in that it marked the first time in nine games that Billies did not commit a turnover.
      Cantu was the game's top ground-gainer with 186 yards on 24 carries, while in the air Gold caught two passes for 60 yards.
      Defensively for FHS, junior Manuel Gonzales led the FHS tackle-assisted tackle attack at 6-3, while junior Jamie Reeh was next at 6-2 just ahead of junior Chris Weirich (4-3) and senior Eric Peters (4-0).
      For Uvalde, Moore was his team's top rusher with 44 yards on 10 tries, while leading pass receivers were Collier and sophomore Marcos Caballero, each with 39 yards on three catches.
      The loss hands Fredericksburg the best record (4-0) in 28-AAAA action and ties the Billies (7-2) with Alamo Heights on the entire season.
      Uvalde meanwhile dropped to 0-4 in league play and 2-7 on the year.
      Friday's game marked the third straight year that Fredericksburg has defeated the Coyotes.

(To see all the stats go to the schedule section and click on the game)-Sorry not available yet!

(Click on pictures to enlarge)

GO-AHEAD RUNBACK--Too fast for Uvalde's Zach Gugliotti (44) to catch him, Fredericksburg varsity defensive back Drew Woerner (88) races upfield here Friday night on the way to scoring on a 34-yard interception return. The second quarter score put the Billies ahead for good and helped FHS record a 27-7 victory that clinched at least a share of first place in District 28-AAAA.

-Standard-Radio Post Photo by Barry Smith

GANG-TACKLING--The going was very tough for Uvalde running back Tyson Griffin (45) here on Friday when he was corralled by Fredericksburg varsity defenders Barrett Durst (top left), Heath Holloway (top right) and Kyle Treibs. The Billies won the game -- their fifth straight -- by a 27-7 count to improve to 7-2 on the season.

-Standard-Radio Post Photo by Barry Smith

A TOUGH CHALLENGE faced Uvalde varsity defenders in FHS Stadium Friday in trying to stop Fredericksburg running back Freddy Cantu (25). Here, on the way to rolling up 186 yards, Cantu dashes to the outside behind the block of a Billie offensive lineman. FHS won the game, 27-7, and improved to 4-0 in league standings by recording a single-game rushing high for the 1998 season of 225 yards.

-Standard-Radio Post Photo by Barry Smith