Tigers dominate the Leopards

Blowout 62-13 victory over Liberty Eylau

Story by TJ Wall and Doug Kyles

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The Tigers left Grim Stadium after a blowout victory against crosstown rivals, the Liberty-Eylau Leopards. There were flashbacks to last week’s game, as again, a powerful start and a strong defense gave the Tigers a 62-13 win.

The Leopards got off to a rough start by going three and out on their first drive followed by a muffed punt, leaving the Tiger offense with possession at the LE 24-yard line. Shortly after, running back Tracy Cooper ran up the gut and brushed a defender off of him for a 14-yard touchdown, making the score 7-0 early in the first quarter. 

The Leopard’s early struggles didn’t stop there. Going three and out again, their offense was forced to punt. The Tiger offense came out with a boom with quarterback Rian Cellers throwing a deep pass down the right side of the field on busted coverage to wide open receiver Conner Allen. A few plays later, receiver Kobe Webster caught a pass from Cellers for an 11-yard touchdown, raising the score to 14-0.

The Tiger defense continued to dominate the Leopards with a fumbled kickoff recovered by the Tigers at the LE 37-yard line. Cellers then proceeded to run in a 7-yard touchdown on a read option, making the score 21-0 with the Tigers in the lead.

The Tigers then gave the ball back to the Leopards and took it right back to the house on a 43-yard fumble recovery for a touchdown by defensive lineman Jaylen Green. A highlight of the night, this defensive touchdown strengthened an already strong lead set early in the game. 

Going into the second quarter, the Leopards saw no end to a string of successful offensive drives as the Tigers continued to roar down the field for multiple scoring possessions. About halfway through the second quarter, the Tigers’ second team got a significant amount of playing time. The score was 48-13 at the half with Texas High dominating in every facet of the game.

The second half continued where the first half left off with Cooper running up the middle for a 56 yard touchdown, adding to the blowout.

After another failed offensive drive by the Leopards, Texas High regained possession and tight end Jayden Kelly caught a touchdown pass to make the score 62-13 with Texas High in the lead midway through the third quarter.

For the rest of the game, backup quarterback Zane Dodson got to take over the offense. Even with the Texas High starters off the field, Liberty-Eylau stayed stagnant with their two touchdowns.

While this performance was a major success for the entire team, there were a few standout players. Cooper ran for 130 yards and two touchdowns, Webster had six receptions for 172 yards and two touchdowns and Cellers completed 11 of 15 pass attempts for three passing touchdowns while also notching two rushing touchdowns of his own.

“There’s no one player, we’re a whole team,” Webster said. “We all grind the same, we all put in the same work, so we won this as a team. We don’t point out one player, that’s not us. We [are] humble about it, we [are] just one team.”

A powerful start and endurance gave the Tigers their decisive win. The Leopards’ offense couldn’t consistently get past the Tiger defense who, in this game and previous ones, showed tremendous capability.

“We talked all week about starting fast and not waiting around,” coach Gerry Stanford said. “I think we got going early. I think we started off and then we never let up.”

Next Friday the Tigers will head to Kilgore to face the Bulldogs at 7:00. After back to back wins, the team has hopes that their recent success will carry over and they will continue to steamroll through their upcoming competition. 

“[We’ve got to] maintain. Maintain and keep the energy,” defensive end Clayton Smith said. “That’s all we got to do, just keep the momentum going from this win and the win against Arkansas.”

 

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