Deer Park rolls to rare rout of Bulldogs 49-14
Over the last 22 years, Deer Park’s football teams have lived almost entirely on a diet of nailbiters in defeating their rivals from La Porte.
In 11 wins over the Bulldogs, eight have been by single digits. Even with the three double-digit victories thrown in, Deer Park’s average margin of victory in those 11 wins has been by just 9.0 points.
But Friday night, Deer Park blew that average out of the water by historic proportions.
In a complete performance from all three phases of the game, Deer Park enjoyed its first double-digit win over the Bulldogs in a decade, following a 49-14 District 21-6A thrashing at Clyde Abshier Stadium Friday night.
With La Porte turning the ball over four times and committing almost 100 yards in penalties, Deer Park’s 49 points is the most against La Porte in decades.
The 35-point margin of victory is the largest one-sided victory for the maroon and gold over the Bulldogs since a 38-0 win in 2002 or about the time Deer Park head coach Austin Flynn, the former Iowa State quarterback, was getting acclimated to Iowa’s cornfields.
Before another strong crowd, Deer Park completed three of its four first-half possessions with touchdowns, while another electrifying play by special teams provided a fourth touchdown.
When Tylan Love motored 77 yards to the end zone for a kickoff return, it halted some new-found La Porte momentum in its tracks. The Bulldogs had just tied the game on a 10-play drive with 2:24 remaining in the first quarter.
“Honestly, what really caused it was the blocking, Dylan Heim and Marcus (Molina), everyone came through with blocks. I hit the hole and I was gone. I didn’t have anyone close to me,” Love said.
“Huge. We’re 7-7 at the time. We get a good scoring drive and they did a great job in answering. Right away, we get the momentum back. Great job for that unit. That’s two games in a row we’ve gotten a kickoff return for a touchdown. Those are such huge plays, especially in a game like this,” Flynn said.
Deer Park flipped the script by accumulating more yardage from the ground game than from the passing attack. The Deer came in as the district’s top-rated passing team, but by game’s end, the Deer rushed for 217 yards and passed for 115 for 332 total yards.
There were no 100-yard rushers on this night but Tyrek Saylor, Broc Weidner, Molina, Sebastian Pulido and even seldom-used Nathan Deleon all had double-digit scampers or close to one.
However, the team started out with quarterback Broc Weidner completing 6-of-8 passes for 57 yards as the team used their first possession to travel 83 yards in 13 plays for a quick 7-0 lead.
“I just kept finding the holes to get the receivers their yards,” Weidner said.
“The kids are kind of tired of losing, especially with this week being La Porte. They really strapped it on this week and I think we turned a corner. We had great practices all week. Tylan Love, (Marcus) Molina, (Michael) Banda, (Clyde) Bellow all those guys busted their tails all week and you see the results,” wide receivers coach Justin Garney said.
What pleased Flynn to no end about that drive was the success on third-down plays. Three times, the chains were moved on third-down pass plays.
“There were a lot of third-down conversions on that 6-of-8 accuracy. I’m proud of Broc and the offensive line. They’ve got a really good defensive line. It’s better than what I saw on tape. I’m very proud of the offensive line, coming together on that and getting the job done,” Flynn said.
Sandwiched around two Molina touchdowns, one a 51-yard touchdown scamper and the other a 19-yard pass from Weidner, were interceptions by Jesus Solano and Robert Bonar.
The Bulldogs were threatening to trim the deficit to a manageable 14 points for halftime when Bonar picked off La Porte quarterback River Thompson at the goal line.
“Number two (Makai Hisatake) is like a big-time player and I saw him line up like a right tackle or tight end. But I read the quarterback’s eyes and the ball came right to me,” said Bonar, coming up with his second pick in as many weeks.
Tyrek Saylor’s nine-yard touchdown run, Sebastian Pulido’s 13-yard scamper and quarterback Caleb Spencer’s touchdown toss to Logan Zweibel capped the scoring.
La Porte sophomore Albert Regis played a strong game in the losing cause. He collected 135 all-purpose yards. At first, he was a running threat. Then when Bonar tackled him for a three-yard loss late in the first quarter, Regis hobbled off. But he returned and when he did, he was catching passes for 31, 26 and 28 yards, setting up the team’s second TD, a short run by Hisatake.
The second half was peppered with penalties. At one point in the third quarter, the Bulldogs were slapped with three 15-yarders. The Deer weren’t exactly angels either over the course of the game, but the infractions didn’t haunt the Deer like it did La Porte.
“You knew it was a highly emotional game and you talk about it all week, about the rivalry, the intensity, the emotions that come with it. I was proud of our guys for the most part. I felt like we were a heck more composed based on unsportsman-likes and anything along those lines,” Flynn said.
GAME NOTES: Coupled with last year’s 16-14 win, Deer Park has now won back-to-back games against the Bulldogs for the first time since the 2007 and 2008 games. …The hit of the game belonged to Deer Park’s Kaleb Huerta, who leveled Hisatake on a kickoff after Deer Park’s fourth TD. …La Porte finished with 409 yards of offense, 226 yards rushing and 183 passing.