MESQUITE — It took a while to put the game on ice, but Sulphur Springs scored 17-second half points to take a 32-13 win over Mesquite Poteet here Friday night.Sulphur Springs, ranked No. 6 in the state, were slow getting in gear despite being 31-point favorites on the road at Mesquite’s Memorial Stadium.
Quarterback Colton Lee completed 12 of 22 passes for 129 yards, he also scored a touchdown rushing and had 46 yards on the ground. Senior running back Devion “Thrill” Hill ran 17 times for 116 yards, scoring once.
Kedrick Dial paced the defense with a four sack game. Poteet was held to just 106 total yards.
Wildcat head coach Greg Owens admitted that he team was a little flat at times and should have scored 50 points in the win over the Pirates.
While the offense was sluggish at times, the continued fine play of the defense sparked the win. That along with a 52-yard punt return for a score by Bryant “Day Day” Jackson.
The Pirates were still within striking distance, with the Wildcats just lead 15-6 halfway through the third period.
Then the Sulphur Springs defense flexed their muscles allowing just three yards for Poteet forcing a punt. The boot off the foot of Stewart MacDonnell sailed high and deep down the middle of the field. University of Texas pledge Jackson fielded the ball, cut up the middle, then waited for blockers and tip-toed quickly through traffic for a special teams touchdown at the 7:55 mark. Fernando Arellano’s extra point was true and the Wildcats went up 22-6.
Jackson said, “Coach told me to catch it and run and that’s what I tried to do. All the blockers picked up somebody and it made it easy. This was the first punt I’d scored on so it was my best return of the season.”
Another factor which got the Wildcats rolling was the harassment of Beau Novell by defensive end Dial and a host of friends. Dial was chasing the QB all night long.
“We wanted to use a speed rush for the edge and that’s what I did,” said the 6-5 Dial who will be playing football next year for Texas Tech. “I had a tackle trying to cut me, I blocked the cut went around the back and that was it. I My quickness paid off. The quarterback ran out and stopped and I made the tackle.”
The remainder of the third period belonged to the defenses with neither team able to get drives going. Twice Poteet had to punt after just three downs.
Sulphur Springs quarterback Lee was through for the night when he reinjured his right shoulder which had cost him a start last week. Lee’s injury was ruled not to be serious, but the Wildcats finished the game with sophomore QB Justin Owens at the controls of the NASCAR attack.
Arellano hit a 29-yard field goal at the 3:23 mark in the third quarter. The Widcats had driven 33 yards on six plays. Sulphur Springs up by a 25-6 score.
In the final frame, the Wildcats drove for a score with powered by strong blocking at the line and a fierce running attack. Hill ran for a tough nine yards, then got a first down with a 10-yard dash. Hill took the pigskin up the gut for seven more yards. Hill moved the chains again this time on an 12 yards gain. Hill capped the possession with an 8-yard scoring run with a nice cut back through Poteet defenders. The extra points at the 10:35 mark gave the Wildcats a commanding 32-6 lead.
A holding call hampered the next drive by the Wildcats and the Pirates got the ball back at their own 45-yard line with 7:26 left. Running back Jonathan Coleman took off for a 12-yard gain. Nowell found Geldmeier open for a 14-yard scoring play at the 5:44 mark. The kick by MacDonell was good. The Pirates had reduced the lead to 32-13.
But it was too little too late as Sulphur Springs took the 19-point win.
In the early going neither team was burning up the fake grass. The Sulphur Springs defense forced a three and out by the Pirates. The Wildcats were their own worst enemy dropping several passes causing their drive to end on downs at the Poteet 27-yard line.
Sulphur Springs drove from their 37 to deep into Pirate territory. Five runs by Hill teamed with Lee passes to Sharard Timmons and Shane McQueen sparked the drive. McQueen’s catch for 46 yards was a beauty as he was covered, but still went up and snatched the ball out of the night sky. The drive resulted in the first tally of the game - a 36-yard field goal by Arellano with 4:21 left in the first frame.
The Pirates again were forced to walk the plank and punt after their next drive managed just four yards on three plays.
The short punt gave Sulphur Springs good field position at their 40. Lee threw to McQueen for a 41-yard gain on a screen pass. The “Tubow” formation featuring center/QB Colby Suggs covered the remaining three yards on two runs. The 220-pound Suggs walked through Poteet defenders like Godzilla terrorizing Tokyo for a 1-yard scoring burst with just 54 seconds left in the opening period. The two for a two point conversion run failed, but the Wildcats had a 9-0 lead.
The Pirates then drove from their own 38 into Wildcat territory. The key play in the drive a 38-yard pass from Nowell to Geldmeier. The score came when Nowell had the Wildcats thinking pass as he cut through the rush and evaded tacklers for a 21-yard touchdown cut back run. The kick failed, but the Pirates were feeling good having sliced the Sulphur Springs’ advantage to 9-6 with six minutes left in the opening half.
Sulphur Springs answered back with a drive of powerful proportions as they picked up yardage in huge hunks. Hill took off for the seven yards, then Lee ran 14 yards. Hill had the next turn and followed beefy linemen for a 14-yard gain. Hill wasn’t finished and raced 21 yards up the middle on his next carry. Lee capped the drive with a 5-yard scoring run. The try for two failed, but with 4:50 left in the first half, the Wildcats had a 15-6 lead.
The only other action of the first half came in the form of a turnover by Sulphur Springs. The Wildcats had marched from near midfield when a Lee pass was intercepted by Courtland Crumby as he picked the ball from in front of a waiting Sulphur Springs receiver.
The first half ended with Sulphur Springs up 15-6. The second half was dominated by the Wildcat defense as the visitors took the 32-13 decision.
“We made too many little mistakes that we have been talking about for weeks. We had dropped balls, penalties and didn’t take care of some small details,” Owens said. “Defensively we played very well. I was pleased with our aggressiveness. Kedrick did a great job coming off the edge. Day Day’s punt return got us going and energized. We have to score to get going.”
Owens said, “Then we started leaning on our line. We got things going in our running game and we were able to pull ahead. We were running the ball right at them and we did. We got nasty and got with it.”
The Wildcats, now 4-0, open District 13-4A play at home Friday against Pine Tree.
“We’re excited, now the games are counting for real. We had to be focused and bring our ‘A’ game now. These are the games that really matter,” Owens added.
In District 13-4A action, the foe next week, Pine Tree scored a 10-7 win at North Lamar for their first win of the year.
Other scores reveal that No. 1 Longview went down to rival Lufkin, 28-14. Also it was Henderson 35, Hallsville 16; Monroe Neville (La.) 17, Marshall 8 and
Mount Pleasant 36, Royse City 17 while Texas High was open.
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