Tigers defeat Wildcats in district opener

Texas High surpasses Sulphur Springs 55-21


Emily Meinzer

Junior Quan Hampton struggles to break free from a tackle. Tigers defeated the Wildcats 55-21 to open conference play.

It’s good to play at home, and it was a good win for the the Tigers Friday at Grim Stadium where they defeated the Sulphur Springs Wildcats 55-21 in the home opener.

The Tigers struck early in the first quarter with quarterback Cade Pearson and wide receiver Quan Hampton connecting on two consecutive passes for a total of 38 yards.

“I thought we did a tremendous job,” Pearson said. “We did our offense very well and did our defense just as well.”

Hampton received the pass from Pearson for a 23-yard touchdown three minutes into the game. Both teams were battling it out to score until cornerback Michael Kendricks recovered a bad snap from the Wildcats, leaving the Tigers ahead 13-0 for the remainder of the quarter.

In the second quarter, Wildcat quarterback Tanner Ramirez threw a 16-yard pass to wide receiver Ryan Humphries. The Wildcats advanced the field with short yardage gains and penalties leading to a complete pass from Ramirez to Wildcat running back Scott Galarza for a 12-yard touchdown cutting the lead 13-7.

Within 30 seconds running back J’kardi Witcher gained 49 yards switching the field. Pearson passes to tight end Kip Williams for a 14-yard pass; Witcher punched in a 3-yard touchdown putting the score at 20-7.

Five minutes left to go in the quarter, the Wildcats were aided by penalties, but failed to capitalize the drive when defensive tackle Marquis Alexander blocked the punt at the Wildcat 16-yard line. Pearson passed to wide receiver Jaylon Rhone for a 19-yard touchdown furthering the Tigers score 27-7.

“We missed some opportunities early and could have been up bigger at halftime,” Coach Barry Norton said. “We grinded it out pretty good.”

Tiger wide receiver Jacoby Block received Pearson’s pass, opening the third quarter with a 44-yard touchdown while the Wildcats remained behind 34-7. Witcher claimed 26 yards moving the Tigers down the field. Pearson’s 42-yard pass was completed to Witcher, resulting in another touchdown for the Tigers closing the quarter 41-7.

“We were very physical offensively, and defensively, we attached the ball and kept them from scoring,” James Murphy said.

Sulphur Springs attempted to take the lead in the fourth quarter with a 29-yard touchdown from Ramirez to wide receiver Cain Cody, advancing the Wildcats 41-14. The Tigers responded quickly in the next minute when Witcher received the kickoff and ran the ball 52 yards. Running back Deshen Villa scored a 7-yard touchdown for the Tigers who then led 48-14.

The Wildcats found their footing with the help of penalties. Humphries received a handoff from Ramirez to score a touchdown from the second yard line making the score 48-21. Tiger quarterback JT Morgan picked up the game for the Tigers and connected with a 33-yard pass to wide receiver Tevailance Hunt. Hunt finished off the game with an 18-yard touchdown resulting in a 55-21 Tiger victory.

“It’s a good home win. It’s good to be at home the first time in the year,” Norton said. “We try to win; that’s one of our goals–to win every home ball game.”

The victory follows a tough 17-21 loss last week against Kilgore but showed0 improvement in blocking and overall execution.

“I thought the offensive line did better than we did in the last game,” senior Tray Clark said. “There weren’t as many sacks this game.”

Currently first place in district, Norton said the team has some work to do when they go back on Monday to prepare for next Friday’s away game against Hallsville.

“They’re a pretty good team,” senior Jordan Jacobs said. “They like to run the ball, so we got to prepare for that run game.”

As for now, this win feels good.

“We played good but we could have played better,” senior Jacoryon Larry said. “We got the win; that’s all that matters.”


Alex Heo contributed to this story.