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San Antonio Express-News
By David King

Billies blow past Medina Valley

CASTROVILLE - Fredericksburg's Stanley Zwinggi had a hard time finding his footing Friday night against the Medina Valley Panthers. For about a quarter and a half, anyway.

Once the Billies' senior running back found his stride, it was all over for the Panthers, as Zwinggi rushed for 270 yards and scored four touchdowns to lead Fredericksburg to a 36-0 win in the District 27-4A opener for both teams.

"It took a little patience with the mud," said Zwinggi (it rained Friday afternoon). "But once I got my stride, I got used to it."

Medina Valley's defense stopped the high-powered Billies, who were averaging 42 points a game coming in, through the first quarter and a half. But the Panthers' offense struggled, leaving the defense on the field much of the night. Medina Valley had just five first downs and 104 yards of offense.

"Our defense did a super job," said Zwinggi, who had to come in and play on that defense briefly when starting safety and quarterback Todd Dodds twisted a knee on the first play of the second half. Dodds did not return to the game, although he was walking along the sidelines.

But the Billies hardly needed him, as they rolled to 6-0 and handed the Panthers their first loss. "I coached at Hondo for five years, and every time we've come in here (with Fredericksburg) we've had a hard time," Billies coach Dean Herbort said. "The first half, we had a hard time getting started."

Herbort pointed to a key sequence in the last moments of the first quarter and the first minute of the second as one of the keys to the game. Medina Valley's L.B. McGrath blocked a punt by the Billies' Dodds and the Panthers recovered at the Fredericksburg 10. But they couldn't move the ball, and then Cole Eckert blocked a field-goal try, a play that turned out to be the Panthers' closest shot at scoring.

Two series later, the Billies went 56 yards to take the lead, with Zwinggi popping through the line and shedding three tacklers on a 32-yard scoring run. Cole Smilth added the extra point with 3:16 left in the half.

Herbort praised the entire team for Zwinggi's 270-yard night, which pushed him over 1,100 for the season.