|Como-Pickton drops season opener to Grand Saline|
|Joseph Elerson | News-Telegram Sports Writer|
Sept. 24, 2005 - COMO - The Como-Pickton Eagles opened District 17-2A play on the wrong side of the scoreboard against the Grand Saline Indians Friday night at Ron Heflin Field.
The Indians used a consistent running game to ground out 274 yards on 55 carries in a 34-13 win to improve to 1-4 overall and 1-0 in district play.
CPHS is now 2-3 overall and 0-1 in district and will travel to Quitman (2-3, 1-0) next Friday night for a matchup with the Bulldogs. Kickoff for the contest is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.
"First and foremost, we need to come out ready to play the first half and then second eliminate our turnovers and that is a good start right there for Quitman next week," said CPHS coach Joe Ryzman.
The Eagles used everything from trickery to shotgun formations to their simple smash-mouth running game, but in the end senior running back Ray Hayden was involved in all of the 152 total yards that Como-Pickton generated.
Hayden rushed for 149 yards on 26 carries and two touchdowns and threw a 3-yard pass to Garold Pierce during the contest.
He now has 1,157 yards on 114 carries and 18 touchdowns on the season and is 3-of-7 passing for eight yards.
The Indians relied on pounding the ball with running back Austin Fisher and quarterback Corey Fowler as the duo combined for 225 yards rushing. Fisher ended the night with 106 yards on 31 carries and one touchdown, while Fowler had 119 yards on 11 carries.
Fowler had four of the Indians five touchdowns on the night and opened the scoring with a 1-yard run on their opening drive. Stephan Fugate nailed the PAT good for the early 7-0 lead. Fowler scored on runs of 1, 44 and 4 yards during the game.
The Indians dominated the first half as Como-Pickton rarely had possession of the ball and was down 28-0 after the first 24 minutes of the game.
Two plays that hurt the Eagles in the first half came on the defensive side as with four minutes remaining in the second quarter, the Eagles had Grand Saline in a third down-and-20 situation before Troy Carroll connected with Matt Johnson for a 16-yard pass completion and then on fourth-and-4, Carroll converted on a quarterback sneak to keep the drive alive.
The other play came in the second quarter as Grand Saline was facing a fourth-and-6 from their own 41-yard line when Fowler sprinted for 26 yards and then Como-Pickton was penalized for unsportsmanlike conduct, setting up Fowler's second touchdown of the game.
Grand Saline had 238 yards of offense in the first half while the Eagles had 31 yards, 29 of them by Hayden.
In the second half, Hayden cut into the Grand Saline lead on a 15-yard scamper as Noe Tellez booted the PAT good to make the score 28-7 with 1:25 remaining in the third quarter.
On the final play of the game, Hayden rumbled in from 2 yards out to record his 18th touchdown of the season but the two-point conversion failed for the 34-13 finale.
Garold Pierce was the leading receiver for the Eagles with one catch for three yards.
Matt Johnson was the leading receiver for the Indians with 16 yards, while teammate Cody Herring had one catch for nine yards. Fowler went 2-of-11 for 25 yards passing in the game.
In the other District 17-2A openers, the Quitman Bulldogs thumped Alba-Golden, 52-20, and the Caddo Mills Foxes took down the Edgewood Bulldogs, 41-20. Lone Oak had a bye and will play at Edgewood next Friday night.