Hall did it all.
Zach Hall accounted for six touchdowns and over 400 yards with his feet amd right arm, leading Class 5A Robert E. Lee to 55-20 season-opening win over Sulphur Springs Friday.
The grid debut for both teams went the way of the speedy visitors as the Red Raiders scored early and often, avenging the 35-34 overtime
loss to the Wildcats a year ago.
The home fans at Gerald Prim Stadium went home mumbling, some leaving early in the second half as Lee dominated the contest. Not only did Lee put 55 points on the board, but the Red Raider defense held the Wildcats scoreless in the final half.
"Speed kills. It does on the highway and certainly does on the football field. Lee has some speed, guys can score pretty quickly and they got big plays on us," said Greg Owens, Sulphur Springs head football coach.
In the game the Wildcats had several players go down with injuries and cramps. But Owens did not blame that on the lost.
"Sure we had guys out. We had some cramp up, others got hurt. But bottom line we did not execute well enough to win," Owens said. "Lee is a good 5A team. But we did not pick up key plays to keep a drive going. We made mistakes with players looking in the backfield and not being covered."
Owens said, "I think the game turned when we had a chance to score late in the second period and didn't. Then Lee punched in a quick one and it deflated us. We were playing catchup after that. I know the big picture is that this is the first game. This does not hurt us in district, but we did not play well and we have to what it takes to correct our mistakes."
The Wildcats pulled out surprises early, opening the game with an onside kick. Lee was ready and recovered the squibbing pigskin. The Red Raiders took over at their 43, but soon were forced to punt. Hits by Derick Ingram and Garret Hood on defense led the way and soon the Wildcats had the ball.
Sulphur Springs got a first down run by quarterback Larry Pryor in their first series. The drive fizzled and Ryan Watson booted a 28-yard punt on his first effort as a varsity punter.
Lee scored with 4:49 left in the first period on a two-play, 59-yard drive. Hall cashed in the touchdown on a 31-yard scoring run. The sophomore signal caller was just getting warmed up. The extra point by Chris Blas put the visitors up 7-0.
Willy Ivery got the next drive started with a 17-yard kickoff return. Ivery then took of for four more yards. Pryor threw to Mitchell DeYong on back-to-back plays totaling 12 yards. Offsides on Lee gave the Wildcats five free yards. Two plays later Ivery showed off his speed, taking a handoff up the middle, cutting behind blocking and turning on the jets for a 54-yard touchdown scamper. It was the first of the game and the year for the Wildcats. The PAT try by Watson was no good. The Wildcats had to be content, cutting the lead to 7-6 with 3:20 left in the opening stanza.
Lee again did not take long to score. Tavon Wesley ran for five yards for Lee. Then Hall dropped back and found Bryce Wilkerson open over the middle for a 71-yard scoring connection. Blas booted the point after and the home team was trailing 14-6 with 2:12 left in the first frame.
Ivery had what looked like a 94-yard scoring run on the kickoff, but an illegal block ruined the play.
Sulphur Springs did not back down and soon had a scoring drive of their own. On the third play of the possession, Pryor scrambled away from tacklers and took off for a 48-yard scoring run. Pryor, a junior quarterback in his first varsity start at the controls, used all of his 6-2, 200-pound frame to maneuver through the Lee defense. Watson's kick was good and the Lee lead was a lone point, 14-13.
Lee answered with an 80-yard scoring drive in three plays. Hall threw to Marquiston Williams for a 69-yard scoring bomb, out-running Wildcat defenders to the end zone. The extra point by Blas gave Lee a 21-13 lead as the first period ended.
The Wildcats took a deep breath, and responded with an 80-yard scoring drive of their own. Pryor threw to Isaiah Lacy for 21 yards. He then went back to Lacy, this time for eight yards. Pryor was flushed out and scrambled for a 17-yard gain and a first down at the 32 of Lee. Two plays late the drive was capped when Pryor released a pass, just before he got hit, the ball found Alex Burney. Burney slipped free for a 30-yard scoring reception. Watson's boot was perfect. Fans were in for a barn-burner with Lee ahead, 21-20 and both teams scoring like a video game.
Lee had their next drive halted by an impressive stand by the Wildcats.
Sulphur Springs took over and drove from their own 36 to Lee's 21. The Red Raiders held with Pryor unable to complete a fourth and six pass.
Lee took over with 6:09 left in the first half. Wesley had a big running gain, bolting for 36-yards. On a third and three from the 21 of Sulphur Springs, Hall went back to the air, tossing a strike to Wilkerson for another tally.
Lee's lead ballooned to 35-20 when Hall scoring on a 64-yard run. The speedy sophomore cut through a hole in the line and bolted for the touchdown run.
The first half ended with Sulphur Springs trailing by 15-points.
The Wildcats were held scoreless in the final half.
Sulphur Springs went to Parker Aguilar at quarterback for a time, but Lee did not give in.
The Red Raiders went back to the air with Hall throwing to his good pal, Wilkerson, for another score, this one from 55-yards out. The try for a two point conversion failed. But Lee was up 41-20.
Sulphur Springs soon gave the ball back, this time on a turnover to Lee.
The Red Raiders capped a 60-yard drive when Marquian Jones showed off his speed, scoring from 37-yards out.
The final score came on a short scoring pass to Averi Clewis from Trevor Carr. Lee's extra point by Blas made the score 55-20 which turned out to be the final.
Owens said, "We got beat and Lee had athletes who could run by us. The Lee quarterback is electric. We’ve got to learn to win. We are frustrated, we got to do better. Mistakes are killing us. We’ve got to overcome it, that's why you play non-district."
The Wildcats are on the road, Sept 6 facing Sherman in their second game for the year.
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