Posted by : September 18, 2014| On :
By Darrell Johnston
The Monitor Corespondent
MABANK–In a showdown of two teams in search of their first victory, the Eustace Bulldogs reigned supreme over the Mabank Panthers. From the opening drive’s great defense, until the final second ticked off the clock, it was Eustace’s night.
Mabank got the ball first and had a quick three and out drive. This came after back-to-back sacks by James Crow and Zach Hughes, leading the way for the Bulldogs defense. The running attack of Eustace started with a bang on their opening drive. The duo of Lance Rogers and Keenan Hargest took over. A nice scamper by Hargest was good for 31 yards and set up an easy one-yard dive in the end zone, also by Hargest. Gannon Kirkhart added the extra point and Eustace had an early 7-0 lead, midway through the first quarter. More of the same on the next Mabank drive, another three and out. The defense shut down Panthers running back Clay Carson and also would benefit from a dropped pass by Dalton Reeder.
It looked as if the Panthers defense would prevail on the next drive, though. The Bulldogs took a gamble, going for it on fourth and two from their own 33-yard line. It worked out for them as Lance Rogers dashed up the middle for 11 yards, brought down by Colt Conway, probably saving a touchdown. On the very next play, Micah Stone bulldozed his way for a 44-yard gain. With just under two minutes left in the quarter, Rogers scored from four yards out to give the ’Dogs a 13-0 lead. The extra point was blocked as Mabank blew by the offensive line. The ensuing drive saw Mabank keep on with the running game, but getting nothing. Carson started with two runs of just a yard a piece. Then, they opened up the passing attack, led by quarterback Cody Thompson. He tossed a swing pass out to Carson that gained 11. He followed that up with connections of 13 and 10 yards, to Reeder and Peyton Lee, to finish the first quarter.
The second began with an unsuccessful run by Carson, then Thompson got taken down to the turf for a loss of six, a sack from Quentin Parks. Rogers dropped a would-be interception that set up a fourth and 16 for the hometown Panthers. On an incredible play, Thompson looked as if he would get sacked for a big loss, but instead got away and fired a 20-yard pass down the sideline, caught by Conway for a big first down. The Mabank faithful roared in approval at the great effort, which set up a five-yard touchdown for Carson. After the extra point, the Panthers had clawed their way back in the contest, trailing 13-7. The drive took thirteen plays and almost five minutes. Mabank needed its defense to step up in a big way, but the ground and pound style of the Bulldogs wore them down. They matched the previous drive, taking thirteen plays and ending with another run to pay dirt by Hargest, this was from six yards out. Hargest then plowed his way in the end zone again, for the two-point conversion. The score stood at 21-7. Mabank shot themselves in the foot on the next drive as Thompson’s pass was deflected into the arms of C.J. Daniels for an interception, a crucial turnover. This led to Hargest scoring his third touchdown of the first half, this one of the nine-yard variety. After a failed conversion, the half time score was 27-7 in favor of the Bulldogs.
The beginning of the second half started, looking like the Lance Rogers show. He ran for 62 yards on the opening drive, including a 48-yard touchdown sprint down the sideline that bamboozled the Panthers defense. Conway came in and blocked the kick from Kirkhart, but the Panthers were down, 33-7. On a cold and windy evening, the Mabank offense needed to warm up. The next drive, however, saw the good, the bad, and the ugly from the Panthers. Thompson completed five passes for fifty yards, with great blocks from Carson and Lee. Carson also had a nice run of 16 yards and a Mabank first down. But, the bad came in the form of two penalties, one for a false start, the other was for unsportsmanlike conduct. The latter proved to be the downfall of the drive and set up the ugly outcome. On fourth and goal, from the 2-yard line, on the seventeenth play, Carson got stopped for no gain. The Panthers took 6:05 off the clock and got nothing to show for it.
The fourth quarter began, already out of reach for the Panthers, as they trailed 33-7. But, that did not stop them from putting up a valiant effort. In fact, just 10 seconds into the quarter, they tricked the Bulldogs with a nice reverse run, handled by Reeder, for a 20-yard score. The added extra point would be the final point of the game for Mabank. The visiting Bulldogs would put 12 more points on the board, two rushing touchdowns by James East. The final would be 45-14, as the Bulldogs secured their first victory of the season. Eustace’s running game was relentless. They ran the ball 55 times for 419 yards and and seven touchdowns. Lance Rogers was the leading rusher, with 18 carries for 147 yards and two scores. This was the first time this year that Hargest had less than 200 yards rushing, but was still tremendous. He also ran 18 times, gaining 127 yards, with three trips to the end zone, his home away from home. East added seven touches for 61 yards and two touchdowns. Their defense was led by C.J. Daniels, who picked off two passes. As a unit, the Bulldogs had three sacks as well, pummeling the offensive line of the Panthers.
On the Mabank side, Thompson completed 12 of 23 passes for 128 yards. Reeder was the top rusher, with five attempts for 52 yards and a nice touchdown. He also added three receptions for 36 yards. Conway led all receivers with 53 yards on four catches. Nathan Henderson was the defensive specialist of the day, with key tackles and even a nice block at the line of scrimmage. Next week will be a tough challenge for the Bulldogs, as they face the Scurry-Rosser Wildcats, a team that was (12-1) last season. Also, the Mabank Panthers will look to avoid the sting from the Yellowjackets of Kemp, each still searching for their first win of the young season. What better way than to beat your rival? Last year when the two met, Mabank came out on top by a score of 24-17. Kemp has not forgotten and will be seeking revenge on their home turf.
Posted by : September 14, 2014| On :
Monitor Staff Reports
TYLER–The Eustace girls cross country team won the Tyler Lee Classic Sept.6 in Tyler, as the Lady Bulldogs crossed the finish line in first, second and fifth place. The boys team finished the meet in second place.
The girls team dominated the 4A and under division winning the meet with a total of 31 points. The next best team 69 points. Among the competitors were 17 teams and 116 individuals. Leading the pack for the Lady Bulldogs was overall champion Chanda Westbrook, who completed the course in 12:23 minutes. Finishing closely behind her in second place was Skye Burns (12:26), and Shelby White (12:41) in fifth. Chloe Moore (13:02) placed ninth, Molly McAtee 14th (13:25), and Cara Henson 17th (13:37).
The boys team competed in the 5A/6A division and finished with an overall second place with 96 points. Top finisher Longview Pine Tree scored 92 points. A total of 19 teams and 157 individuals competed. The boys were lead by Mark Zimmerer, placing third overall with a time of 17:04. Finishing next for the Bulldogs was Preston Schwartz 17th, Ericsen Gudjohnsen 19th, Zane Arambula 34th, Ayden Reed 35th, Cade Yates 44th, Hunter Rose 47th, Brandon Richardson 49th, Hunter Norris 78th, Andrew Page 86th, Temple Hendrickson 104th, Bucky Womble 108th, and Gabe Purselley 119th.
The JV boys also ran in the 1A-6A combined race and placed 10th out of 20 teams among 210 individuals. They were lead by Elijah Rogers and Thomas Henderson who placed 20th and 21st, freshman Cameron Carpenter who placed 41st, Mathew Melton 122nd, Micah Zimmerer 131st, and Collin Rogers 176th.
The JV girls ran with the combined 1A-6A, taking first place among 17 teams and 153 individuals. Top finishers were Breanna Ragan (second), Harley Kile (third), and Samantha Phillips (fourth), finishing next were Arian McDonald (eighth), Jacey Warner (14th) and Brooke Caldwell (39th).
Posted by : September 11, 2014| On :
By Darrell Johnston
EUSTACE–In a high scoring affair at the Boneyard in Eustace, Sunnyvale prevailed with a load of offense. As a matter fact, Eustace showed their share as well. Defense was definitely at a minimum. Most of the good defensive plays took place early on in the contest.
Eustace running back Keenan Hargest fumbled the ball for a crucial turnover on the second play of the game. On Sunnyvale’s first offensive play, quarterback Caleb McDill tossed a 19-yard touchdown to Lawson Ayo, then Corey Crenshaw added the extra point to make it 7-0 on an eight second drive.
The turnover bug continued to bite the Bulldogs as quarterback Brandon Morgan tossed an interception to Sunnyvale’s Matthew Pettway, who proceeded to run it back 41 yards for another Raiders touchdown. It was already 14-0 with 9:02 left in the first quarter. Sunnyvale had only had the ball for eight seconds and had two scores. Eustace almost lost the ball again on the ensuing kickoff, but caught a break as Daniel Hester’s fumble went out of bounds at the 17.
Then, the Bulldogs offense got them started with a nice 83-yard drive, finalized by a Lance Rogers 4-yard rushing touchdown. Substitute kicker Gannon Kirkhart added the extra point to cut the lead in half, 14-7.
Sunnyvale had not one, but two very good quarterbacks, and used them both equally. McDill and Patrick Spera rotated drives, with Spera starting off with a bang, throwing a 50-yard pass to Ayo. But, the Bulldogs defense stepped up in a big way. The 290-pound lineman Thomas Hyde smothered running back Abdul Khalaf for a two-yard loss. Then, linebacker Zach Hughes got into the mix, with two stifling tackles. On fourth and goal from the 7-yard line, Eustace forced Khalaf to fumble, a great defensive effort from the entire crew.
What came next was the longest drive of the day. Eustace traveled 96 yards on 17 plays and sucked up over eight minutes of the clock. It ended with a Hargest 1-yard touchdown plunge on a drive highlighted by a 31-yard run by Quentin Parks. Kirkhart’s low kick was blocked and Eustace still trailed, 14-13 with just under five minutes left in the first half.
Not to be outdone, the Raiders use only 39 seconds and scored on a 28- yard scamper by Khalaf. But, Eustace mimiced the Sunnyvale defense, blocking Crenshaw’s kick. So, the score was 20-13 in favor of the Raiders. The lack of defense on both sides really started to show as Eustace only used 1:04 off the clock and Lance Rogers juked and jived for a 69-yard touchdown, the best play of the half. The kick connected and knotted the score up at 20.
Unbelievably enough, the Raiders came marching right back. Spera fired a missile to Colton Troutman for a 44-yard completion and another super quick touchdown for Sunnyvale, a 41-second drive. The half ended at 27-20, in favor of the visiting Raiders.
Sunnyvale began the second half right where they left off. A 51-second drive saw Spera connect with Ayo for yet another score, a 38-yard touchdown. The kick was added for a 34-20 lead. John Settle, head coach for Sunnyvale, saw his defense settle down in the third quarter. Big plays by Conner Mears and Baldwin Nweke forced consecutive Eustace punts, as the Bulldogs continued to chase their tails. Eustace desperately needed to make a stop and slow down the pace of the game.
But, Khalaf had other ideas. He took off for a 58-yard sprint into field goal territory. That’s all the Raiders could get on the drive as Crenshaw nailed a 21-yard field goal to give the visitors a 37-20 lead. The Raiders quickly got the ball right back. If they scored on the next drive it was all but over. That’s exactly what they did.
Spera found Cash Goodhart down the field and they cashed in for 57 yards. That set up a 16-yard breakaway touchdown for Khalaf, a 43 second drive, making it 44-20. Hargest and Khalaf traded off touchdowns to bring the score to 51-26.
Eustace scored twice late, but too late for it to matter. They dropped this one by a final of 51-40.
The teams combined for 1,053 yards. Crazily enough, Sunnyvale scored 51 and only had the ball for a whopping thirteen minutes. The offensive onslaught from the Raiders was led by Khalaf, who ran 12 times for 188 yards and 3 touchdowns. Ayo added two receiving scores, giving him five in just two games. Their defensive specialist was Pettway with two interceptions and a touchdown.
For the second week in a row, Hargest rushed for over 200 yards in a loss. He had 32 carries for 233 yards and 3 touchdowns. Lance Rogers put in two more on 180 yards rushing. Next week, in a battle of winless teams, Eustace goes to Mabank to face the Panthers.
“Sunnyvale was a dangerous offensive team,” Head Coach Heath Ragle said. “They will be one of the most offensively dynamic teams we play all year..”
“If we had avoided the turnovers, the entire game could have been different,” he said. “The boys battled hard and never gave up. I’m proud of our offensive line, they dominated their defense all game long.”