STORY BY: BOB WRIGHT
AUSTIN – For the third week in a row, the Tigers failed to produce a victory.
Without starting quarterback Jacob Bronowski, sitting out a week to nurse an injury, A&M Consolidated came out snortin’ fire and brimstone to bolt ahead 14-0 at Chaparral Stadium over the homestanding Westlake Chaps.
The Chaparrals, behind the running of super-quick Brice Dolezel and field generalship of Brandon Box, the Westlake offense roared back like a runaway train to score five unanswered touchdowns to take away the Tiger edge, sending Consol reeling to a 0-3 start in the 2011 season. The Tigers are now strapped with a 39-29 defeat.
Westlake, now 2-1 following the Friday night victory in Austin, sends Consol into Week 4 with an open date, something which Coach David Raffield’s club sorely needs to allow Bronowski to properly heal, and perhaps moreso to allow the Tigers time to re-trench in preparation for the District 12-5A opener two weeks from now at Tigerland when the Temple Wildcats come to town.
Weston Garner filled in admirably for Bronowski, guiding the Tigers to that two-touchdown lead in the opening period, but later ran into some snags including two interceptions, one of which resulted directly into a five-yard touchdown run by cornerback Noah Thompson.
To be sure, the Tigers had enough total offense (460 yards) to win, but Consol simply could not contain the runs of Dolezel and the passing of Box when the chips were down. Consol came to within three points late, but heartbreak came for the Tigers as Westlake continued to puncture the defense for key yards that registered first downs, keeping the drive alive. Westlake amassed 431 total offensive yards, but made those yards pay in points while dousing hopes of a Consolidated comeback.
The Tigers always have a defense gem to come to the forefront. Last night it was Fredrick Goodman, who proved to be the chief tormentor of Westlake. Jimmie Gilbert, Josue Ordonez, Brett Mahnke and J.J. Bynum also manifested their defensive talents.
Garner pulled the trigger on 37 occasions and completed 23, but suffered those two interceptions, which considerably slowed the Consol offensive machine, still in the throes of trying to find its comfort zone with Coach Raffield’s wide-open style of attack. The Consol team registered 20 first downs to 17 for the Chaps. Box went to the airlanes 24 times and completed 10, while also being picked twice – by Ordonez at the 5:22 mark of the second quarter and by Mahnke at the Tiger six to stave off what could have been another Chaparral TD. However, on the very next play, Thompson scored by picking Garner for the score.
About midway of the third period, Anthony Catino stripped a Consol runner of the football and scored on a short-yardage situation, adding insult to injury.
Quinton White, taking over punting duties for Bronowski, did well in this department, booting six for a 47-yard average, including a 53-yard boomer.
Consol got the scoring underway when Garner pulled his Houdini act, producing a great fake then bolting right down the gut of the Chaparral defense enroute to a 64-yard scoring run just 22 seconds deep into the game. That run came on the game’s third play from scrimmage and followed a Garner strike to Quinton White, a guy with some quick, good moves of his own. Justin Zimmerman booted the extra point.
White zipped left and scored from the Chaparral 20 at the 5:36 mark of the opening period to cap an 83-yard drive. At that juncture, it appeared the Tigers were off to the races, although it was to be short lived. Zimmerman again nailed the extra point.
Westlake began answering in a big way in the second quarter when running back Dolezel zipped 45 yards on a counter play. The extra point was blocked, leaving it 14-6
Then came Thompson’s pick, returned for a touchdown, closing the gap to 14-12. Again, Westlake experienced difficulty with the conversion when a pass fell incomplete on a two-point try.
Box connected with Lewis Guilbeau on a five-yard score, putting Westlake up 18-14, and the Chaps never trailed from that point. Another pass conversion fell incomplete, but the Chaps proved they could indeed move the football, having driven 95 yards for the score. Another pass from Box to Guilbeau, this one for 19 yards, propelled the Chaps into a 25-14 advantage. Kick was good. The eight-play drive covered 61 yards.
The stripping of the ball took place moments later, resulting in the Catino score from the Consol nine. Kick again good, and suddenly the Chaps owned a 32-14 lead.
Consol tried to chip away at the lead. Garner hit Daniel Hulse on a 45-yard bomb, moving into scoring territory, setting the stage for White’s six-yard scoring run at the 4:10 mark of the third quarter. Zimmerman booted the extra point, making it 32-21.
The Tigers scored again after getting the ball at their 10. On the first play, Durasis Nutall headed left, shook one tackler and ran 90 yards for a touchdown. Garner hit Justin Binden for the two-point conversion, closing the gap to 32-29.
But, the Tigers couldn’t contain Dolezel, who ran for a 45-yard touchdown, closing out a 75-yard drive with 3:51 left. That closed out scoring.