Superior Cats

Tigers trounce Leopards in offensive battle


Running back Chris Sutton extends the ball as he crosses the goal line in the Texas High Tigers win against the Liberty Eylau Leopards September 14, 2018. The Tigers improved their record to 2-1 with the win against their cross–town rival.

Story by Joseph Rodgers, Anna Grace Jones and John Morgan

The Tigers spoiled homecoming as they knocked off the Liberty Eylau Leopards 47-35 on a rainy Friday night at Harris Field.

The Leopards took the ball first and failed to gain the first down, giving the Tigers an opportunity to put points on the board early after punching their way to the 5-yard line. Kicker Diego Chavez successfully made a 22-yard field goal, a stark contrast to last week’s Battle of the Axe where the kicker was injured and the Tigers suffered due to missed field goals and PATs.

Both teams exchanged punts after quarterback Coltin Clack threw three incomplete passes. The next Leopard punt was blocked by linebacker Trestin Whitehead at the Leopard’s 18-yard line giving way for the Tigers to make their first touchdown after Clack made a complete pass to wide receiver Mason Jones in the endzone, making the score 10-0 after a successful PAT.

The Leopards then punched their way through the Tiger defense after Liberty Eylau quarterback Isaiah Cross made a complete pass to running back Marzavin Riles who ran into the endzone, cutting into the Tigers’ lead 10-7 with just over four minutes left in the first quarter.

After a punt by wide receiver Rian Cellers all the way to the 2-yard line, the Tigers brought down the Leopard runner in the endzone for a safety. The Tigers capitalized on the next drive as Clack made a complete pass to wide receiver Kobe Webster for a touchdown with a minute left in the first quarter, allowing the Tigers to widen their lead 19-7.

Leopard running back Korbyn White made a 73-yard run allowing the Leopards to sneak in another touchdown with 38 seconds left in the first quarter, closing in on the Tigers 19-14.

Both teams were slow to counter the opponent’s defenses as the rain stopped, but the Tigers broke through after a long offensive drive. At the Leopard’s 1-yard line, Clack went for the keeper and made the touchdown on second down, making the score 26-14 with three and a half minutes left in the second quarter.

The Leopards picked up the Tigers’ momentum after Cross made a 25-yard pass to Shayne Porche narrowing the Tigers’ lead 26-21 with just over two minutes left in the first half.

The Tigers scored a touchdown with five seconds on the clock after a short Leopard punt and a complete pass from Clack to Jones, making the score 33-21 for the first half.

On the Tigers’ first play of the second half, running back Chris Sutton ran 14 yards to the Tigers’ 47-yard line. However, after several mishaps, the Tigers were forced to punt. The Leopards followed suit, and the Tigers capitalized after Clack threw a complete pass to wide receiver Miles Washington, making the score 40-21.

The Liberty Eylau’s Cross made a 70-yard pass to Riles who scored a touchdown. However, the Leopards failed to kick a successful PAT, making the score 40-27.

The combination of the Leopard defense and two false start penalties kept the Tigers from making another touchdown before the end of the third quarter. The Leopards continued their offensive drive into the fourth quarter, but despite gaining an advantage over the Tigers after they suffered a false start penalty, the Leopards were forced to punt.

Both teams once again traded punts, but the Tigers made yet another touchdown after Sutton made an 11-yard run making the score 47-27 with six minutes remaining in the fourth quarter.

Photo by Kaitlyn Gordon
Texas High’s Deandre Brown (88) and Chris Lyles (3) converge on Liberty Eylau’s running back.

The Leopards scored another touchdown before the end of the game after Cross ran into the end zone. The Leopards then took a timeout and then made a successful two-point conversion after Cross made a complete pass to running back Shannon Roy. Both teams then traded punts before the clock ran out, finishing out the score at 47-35.

Clack completed seven of 18 passes for 145 yards and four touchdowns. Sutton had 28 carries for 112 yards and a touchdown while Jones had four catches for 48 yards and two touchdowns.

Cross completed 11 of 23 passes for 237 yards three touchdowns while also adding 11 rushes for 107 yards and a rushing touchdown. Rules had three catches for 145 yards and two touchdowns.

“We had a lot of missed tackles in the open field and a lot of people acting hurt,” wide receiver Chris Lyles said. “But we acted tough the second half and got through it. We made mistakes but we can learn from them and get better.”

The Leopards admit that Tigers’ quick start and their own simple mistakes cost them the game.

“I am proud of my boys. We never quit fighting [even though] we dug ourselves into a hole early,” Leopard head coach Steve Wells said. “We didn’t have very good field position early in the game, we had the blocked punt which gave [the Tigers] a short field to score on. We have to eliminate those kind of mistakes.”

The Tigers hold their Senior Night against the Kilgore Bulldogs next Friday at home at 7 p.m.