For a football city like Mercedes, every win is special.

But Friday night’s 41-34 Class 5A Division II bi-district playoff victory over Floresville was like a script out of a movie for the Tigers.

Mercedes has battled adversity every step of the way this season. The COVID-19 pandemic has hit close to home for some on the team, but the outlet for many — players and community alike — has been football.

That’s why in 2020, every win means that much more for Mercedes. And they not only picked up a playoff win, they did it at home at Tigers Stadium in front of family, friends and community.

“We couldn’t have written this any better for this community. A lot of our boys that are playing right now have gone through some difficult times with their families, some have lost some loved ones, so for some them to continue playing football at a high level, you could feel the energy from the home crowd,” Mercedes head coach Roger Adame Jr. said. “It (the win) was something that got this town going. Our community is driven by football, they came out and showed us support and our kids fed off that energy.”

During the first round against Floresville, the Tigers showed the fight they have all season.

Late during the third quarter, Mercedes recovered a Floresville fumble deep in Tigers territory. On the ensuing play, Mercedes gave it right back as Miguel Jimenez was stripped of the ball and saw Floresville return it down to the Mercedes 2-yard line.

Foresville scored on the next play, and just like that, Mercedes’ lead was gone heading into the final 12 minutes.

While that may have been a back-breaker for some, it wasn’t for the Tigers.

Mercedes responded as Jimenez went on to score the go-ahead and game-winning touchdowns after his earlier fumble, more than atoning for his mistake.

“We talk about it all the time, especially this year, it’s how do you respond to adversity? Do you put your head down and say bad luck, or do you get back up and fight every day?” Adame said. “Our guys wanted something more, and for them to respond like that, it goes to show what their character is and what they’re made of.”

The win moves Mercedes back in the area round for the first time since 2017.

On that Tigers team was Adame’s oldest son, Roger III, then a senior and the Tigers’ defensive leader. Also on that team were then freshmen Brandon Adame, Adame’s youngest son, and Josiah Cantu.

Three years later, Brandon Adame and Cantu are now senior captains and leaders on each side of the ball for Mercedes.

“I had a conversation with all the seniors earlier that day, and importantly with them two, telling them we got to bring this home. Not so much for yourself, but for the community, and you could see the determination in their eyes,” Adame said. “They’ve been our center points on offense and on defense and have sacrificed a lot. Seeing them celebrate, holding the trophy, taking pictures, it’s something you’ll never forget.”

Next up for Mercedes is a second-round playoff test against Leander Rouse (9-1, 7-0), the District 13-5A DII champions.

Rouse advanced to the area round by dismantling Austin East Early College 62-0 in round one and brings a balanced offensive attack to the table.

But if the Tigers have shown anything this year, it’s that Mercedes won’t go down without a fight.

Kickoff between Mercedes and Leander Rouse is slated for 7 p.m. Friday at Memorial Stadium in Victoria.

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