Bobcat beat down

Tigers blow out the Hallsville Bobcats 56-17

Junior Braylon Stewart stiff arms a Hallsville defender in attempt to gain yards for the Tigers. The Tigers won with a score of 56-17.

Story by Graci Henard and Caden Rainwater

Whether it be the Jason Voorhees ski mask senior Clayton Smith wore leading the team out of the tunnel or a devastating Tiger injury, the team seemed more motivated than ever. A mighty unanswered 39 points led to an embarrassing loss for the Hallsville Bobcats, ending the second district game with a Tiger win 56-17.

Texas High won the coin toss igniting a spark in the Tiger offense with Rian Cellars making a 15-yard reception to put the Tigers up on their first possession. Hallsville’s Brayden Walker followed suit in marching down-field and rushing for a 14-yard touchdown, putting the Bobcats on the board, tying the score at 7-7. Quickly Brayson McHenry proceeded in making a name for himself sending a pass to senior Caden Miller ending the quarter with the Tigers up 14-7.

“A lot of running there at the beginning opened up our passing game for the receivers,” junior Braylon Stewart said. “We run the ball hard, and we feel like there’s no one that can really stop our run game.”

With approximately seven minutes left in the second quarter, momentum was lost when senior receiver Gavon Smith was unable to rise to his feet following a wheel-route pass play. Immediately after seeing this injury, Assistant Trainer Hannah Fitch waved quickly for a stretcher. Smith was wheeled off the field supported by the standing ovation from both sides of the field.

“Snoop not being able to come back was a rough set-back,” Stewart said. “We have only love for him, and we’re ready to get back to work with him watching us.”

Witnessing their brother getting taken off the field was all the motivation the Tigers needed to close out the half on a positive note. With their mindset at Grim field, but their hearts with Smith, the game became personal and touchdowns suddenly became unanswered, sending the team to the locker room with a comfortable score of 28-17.

We knew we had to come into this game playing with our heart and soul

— Alex Hines

“It was a rough start, but we got it together and started working on the simple functions, like covering your man,” junior Alex Hines said.

After a dull start to the second half, momentum began to pick up when McHenry began to throw the ball. His completed pass downfield to senior Zane Dodson set the stage for an impressive 32-yard touchdown catch by Cellars making the score 35-17. The third quarter ended with back-to-back touchdowns accomplished by seniors Miller and Cellars taking the Tigers lead to 49-17.

Proving their senior status, the senior football players took to the field with passion in their heart. With nearly every score made by a senior, the Tigers dominated their senior night.

“We weren’t going to lose at home, especially with it being on senior night,” Cellars said. “We’ve talked about it all week and this win really means a lot to us.”

In an attempt to speed up the fourth quarter, head coach Gerry Stanford elected to bring in the second and third string players to work on the depth of the team’s skill in order to prepare for future games. Running out the clock, the team only had time to score once more until Dodson ended the night with a quarterback kneel to seal the deal, bringing the final score to 56-17.

The Tigers will begin practice focusing on the strength of the Marshall Maverick’s team, setting precedent for next Friday night at Maverick Stadium.

“The next two games are probably our biggest games of the season at this point,” Stanford said. “We’ve got a lot to accomplish and we’re gonna have to play a lot better to do it.”