ROYSE CITY — What a difference a week makes.
After being held to just one score in Liberty-Eylau, Sulphur Springs exploded for nine touchdowns at Royse City Friday.
Sulphur Springs won the controlled scrimmage by a 4-0 count. The Wildcats then played well, scoring five more touchdowns in the timed 30 minute half and finished the scrimmage winning 32-20.
"It was a good night. We dominated the whole scrimmage expect for a couple of series," said Greg Owens, Sulphur Springs head football coach. "A couple of times we let down. It was kind of like coming out after the half. Royse City got some scores and our defense was lackluster at that point. But we came back and cranked it back up. We can’t afford to have those letdowns."
Owens said, "We are still making mistakes and missing tackles. We can't afford that many penalties, especially the personal fouls. But we are getting better. Some of the younger guys are getting used to the speed of Friday night football. Overall, it was a lot smoother scrimmage than we had against Liberty-Eylau."
After the sub-varsity action, lightning was spotted in the distance and teams were taken to the locker room. No rain fell, but cooler temperatures were experienced. After a short delay, the varsity action began under partly cloudy skies.
The action was hard to follow for some Sulphur Springs fans as the Wildcats switching out numbers of many starters and even used duplicate numbers. One thing for sure, No. 1 as in Willy Ivery was still No. 1.
The speedy senior back brokefree on the first play of the scrimmage for Sulphur Springs and glided into the middle, cut back to the outside and raced untouched 70-yards for a touchdown.
The Sulphur Springs offense was just getting warmed up. Ivery ran again for a 17-yard gain. Quarterback Larry Pryor found Dillon Carpenter open for a 13-yard pickup. Two penalties - an illegal block and a holding call slowed down the Wildcats.
On the second offensive series, Parker Aguilar came in at quarterback along with some other fresh players. Aguilar threw to Ben Brooks for a first down. Tim Monk had a nice short run and a play later broke free for a first-down gain. Pryor came back in at signal-caller and went back to work. Pryor threw to Alex Burney for a short gain. Then Pryor threw to Isaiah Lacy for a 23-yard scoring pass over the middle. That score put the Wildcats up 2-0 in the controlled scrimmage. Pryor led the team on another scoring drive, this time the possession was capped by a 5-yard scoring run by Tim Monk.
The offensive show continued for the Wildcats with Aguilar back at the helm. Aguilar threw for another first down. He later found Dustin Fields for a pass reception that netted a good gain. Aguilar drew the defense up with a short run. Then on the next call, threw a high pass to 6-3 Carpenter in the end zone for a touchdown, which he snagged out of the air. Royse City was called on the play for interfering, but the Wildcats had scored anyway and declined the flag. The Wildcats had a 4-0 scoring lead on the home team.
Royse City took over and had good gains on some short runs. B.J. Stribling made an acrobatic interception to give the Wildcats a turnover. The Bulldogs were hampered by the Wildcats defense with Derrick Ingram and a host of others making several tackles behind the line.
Action moved to the kicking part of the scrimmage. Sulphur Springs tried extra points and short field goal with Ryan Watson at kicker. Holders for the kicks were Burney and Ingram. Royse City then did the same kicking drills. Sulphur Springs also punted with Watson and Ivery booting two punts each. Royse City took their turn punting with Burney and Brennan Brock fielding the punts.
After a short water break, the scrimmage moved to the timed 30-minute half. Royse City found their second wind and moved down the field to score. With the extra point they were up 7-0 with 24:15 left.
Sulphur Springs drove from their own 25 to deep into Bulldog territory. Pryor pulling the trigger on several key passes. Sulphur Springs saw the drive stopped when a Pryor pass into traffic was picked off and Royse City took over. The Bulldogs had the ball with 20:59 left in half. Royse City started picking up yardage in chunks. Runs up the middle found big creases and the Bulldogs were moving down the gridiron. The Bulldogs scored on a quarterback keeper. The extra point try failed, but the Bulldogs had momentum and a 13-0 lead at home with 18:59 remaining.
Sulphur Springs destroyed the RC dream of winning the scrimmage with another big run by Ivery. Ivery raced for a 75-yard touchdown run, using his speed, he followed blockers and jetted clear of the RC pursuit. The kick by Watson was wide, but the RC lead was sliced to 13-6 with 18:46 on the game clock.
Royse City had their next drive end abruptly as Dallas Dannheim intercepted a pass to give the ball back to Sulphur Springs.
Pryor capped the short drive with a 23-yard scoring run, breaking tackles on the way to the end zone. The try for a two point conversion failed, the home team was clinging to a 13-12 lead with 18:04 remaining.
But Sulphur Springs had the momentum. The Wildcats got tough on defense and Royse City netted very little yardage on three plays and had to punt. The 16-yard boot gave the Wildcats good field position at the 41 of RC. A holding call on RC helped the Sulphur Springs cause as they moved closer to the goal. Aguilar threw to Mitchell DeYong for a 12-yard pickup. Jesse Ortiz got his number called and scored on a short run for the Wildcats. The kick by Watson was good and Sulphur Springs had their first lead of the timed half, going up 19-13 with 15:41 left.
Following a missed field goal try by the Bulldogs, the Wildcats got the ball back. Sulphur Springs drove for a score with Aguilar completing passes to move the chains. Aguilar went to Carpenter for a 32-yard scoring pass connection with 6:39 remaining.
Sulphur Springs scored their final touchdown on a 10-yard run by freshman Jaylon Hawkins.
Royse City got a tally on the last play of the game to make the final in the timed half, 32-20.
In the sub-varsity action Sulphur Springs ninth grade was outscored 4-2. Braylon Adams and Kyle Dodd scored on touchdown runs. Coach Chris Valdovinos said, "The team had a good effort. They played well and did a lot of things well. It was not a bad effort this early in the year."
The Sulphur Springs junior varsity got touchdown receptions from Derrick Lamb, Bubba Hall and Cole Cooper. Tyler Rosamond rushed for a touchdown.
The JV defense was sparked by good play by Colby Winchester at linebacker, according to coach Kurt McCain. John Hogan had an interception and fumbles were recovered by Scott Galarza and Brandon Foster.
McCain said, "The team played well, caused a lot of turnovers. They ran well to the ball. Galarza and Hall played 40 straight snaps. Devon Douglas had a touchdown saving tackle. We kept Royse City from scoring. We played a lot better this week."
Sulphur Springs now is gearing up for the start of the varsity regular season Aug. 30 at home against Robert E. Lee.
Owens added, “The mistakes were made are correctable. We are missing some tackles and playing with our pad level too high. We have players who are inexperienced and learning.”
Some others need to step up and make plays.”
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