Overall, the first football game for Sulphur Springs was a case of good news, bad news.
Good news was the game came off without a hitch. A huge home crowd was settled in the stands. Then the bad news.
The Wildcats made three turnovers which game the visiting No. 5-state ranked Denton Ryan team an edge as they went on to the 28-14 win.
SMOKE IN THE TUNNEL - the Wildcats did not have a sign as tall as Denton Ryan, but they did have their traditional tunnel spilling out smoke which opened the season with the team running out of it. Just like old times.
COINCIDENCE? - the Harris Ratings, which have been around for a long time, got the game exactly right. The service predicted the Denton Ryan team to win by 14 points, the exact point spread. I guess those guys are pretty good.
OFFENSE - the Sulphur Springs offensive line was learning on the run with several players getting their first action in the trenches. Considering the Wildcats were going up against a Denton Ryan defense with several Division I prospects - they made a good showing. Justin Owens, making his first home start, did well at quarterback, completing 12 of 22 for 186 and running for 35 addtional yards.
BIG D - Sharard Timmons, is known more for interceptions and his ability cover people, came up with 13 tackles for top honors. Tanner Gilbreath and Joe Scott played in the Denton Ryan backfield all night, getting 10 tackles each. Gilbreath had leg cramps late in the game, but was not injured. DC Matt Young did a good job of putting the right people in the right place against the Denton Ryan spread attack.
SCORING - the first SS touchdown of the year came at 9:03 p.m. and in the third quarter. The Wildcats missed scoring chances in the first half. Kicker Fernando Arellano must have had opening night jitters with one kick hitting the upright and the other kick, a 52-yarder, falling short. He did get one touchback and put two over kicks in or near the end zone.
Blake Macek did a good job punting, averaging 47.5 average some 18 yards better than the opponent.
LOSING NOT SWEET - Sulphur Springs has been on a run in recent years, especially in openers. It was the first opening night loss since 2006 for coach Greg Owens.
REUNION TIME - Kaylon Alexander met with his old Sulphur Springs mate early, he was a team captain for the pre-game coin flip. Alexander had 18 carries for 86 yards for Denton Ryan.
ANOTHER REUNION - Joey Florence, the head coach for the Denton Ryan Raiders, visited with friends before and after the game talking with educators like Vanessa Abron, Rusty Harden and assistant coach Kurt McCain. Florence began his coaching career in 1989 in Sulphur Springs under then coach James Cameron. Florence also had a successful run at Cooper going 53-16. At Denton Ryan he has 110 wins against 27 losses.
RARE THURSDAY game is coming up. The Wildcats play Thursday at 7 p.m. against Garland Lakeview Centennial at Williams Stadium.
ANOTHER NOTE- the JV and freshmen play home games TUESDAY at Gerald Prim Stadium.
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