STORY BY: BOB WRIGHT
– BELTON – A late field goal by the Belton Tigers, a missed field goal and extra point by A&M Consolidated, along with Consol’s inability to move the football in the waning seconds combined to send Consolidated to a 26-23 defeat Friday night at Belton.
It wasn’t the kind of tuneup for the playoffs which Coach David Raffield and his Tigers had hoped for, as Consol ended its regular-season schedule with a 5-5 record and a 5-2 District 12-5A mark. Belton, also headed for the playoffs, owns an identical 5-2 district record, and is 8-2 for the season.
Consol, which lost a “home-and-home” coin flip, must travel to Desoto next week for its bi-district match.
Consolidated fell behind 14-0 before closing the gap to 14-7 in the first quarter, then tied it 14-14 and trailed 20-17 by halftime. That came when Dillon Moore booted a 40-yard field goal as time expired. Durasis Nutall had ripped off a fine run to set it up, stepping out of bounds with 1.8 seconds left in the half as the field goal unit trotted onto the field.
Belton, led by smooth-operating quarterback Peter Shelburne and some fine runs by 1,000-plus running back Donovan Williams, scored on its second possession. It took just two plays to put the points on the board. The touchdown came on a 55-yard bomb from Shelburne to wide receiver Derick Bates. Carlo Mosnia booted the extra point.
Williams scored on a three-yard run with 3:31 remaining in the opening quarter, and Mosnia kicked the extra point, putting Belton up 14-0.
In that quarter, Consol scored on a beautifully-executed 26-yard screen pass from QB Jacob Bronowski to running back/receiver Nutall, who darted, dodged and eluded would-be tacklers on what might be the flashiest run of the evening. Dillon Moore kicked the point. The score had a catalyst of sorts, set up when Belton tried an onside kick, recovered by Consol to set up the Tigers with a short field.
A deadlock developed at the 8:19 mark of the second quarter when Quinton White jumped over one defender, spun away from another and scored on a nine-yard run. It might have equaled Nutall’s earlier run in entertainment value. Moore kicked the point. In that scoring drive, Nutall ripped off a 21-yard run.
Belton regained the lead with 3:38 to go in the half, with the drive needing seven plays, the payoff coming on a 50-yard pass-and-run from Shelburne to Durham Smythe, the tight end. Moania’s extra-point kick was wide to the left, leaving the score 20-14, Belton. Then came Moore’s 40-yard field goal, as Consol had closed the gap to 20-17 by halftime.
Consolidated took a 23-20 lead with 8:58 remaining in the game when Bronowski gouged out the final yard. Justin Zimmerman tried the extra point this time, but missed it.
Mosnia nailed a 21-yard field goal with 4:30 left, then put on what to be the clincher with a 33-yard field goal with a minute and 20 seconds left.
Consol had one final gasp, starting from its 28-yard line, but couldn’t get close enough to score a TD. The Tigers, however, had a field goal on their minds, which would have tied it and forced an overtime. In those final frantic moments, with the clock working against them, the Consol Tigers managed a first down on a Bronowski pass to Justin Benden. With the clock running, Bronowski spiked the ball to preserve what precious seconds remained – 17.8 seconds. Bronowski got another first on a run. With the clock stopped and owning 4.4 seconds, Zimmerman missed a final field goal attempt, a 44-yarder.
Despite the loss, several Consol defensive gems came to the forefront on plays by David Levias, Christian LaCouture, Marshall Strain, J.J. Bynum and Josue Ordonez,
Quinton White left the game in the second quarter. He was favoring an ankle and he never returned. It’s hopeful that White will be ready when the Tigers face Desoto.
The first downs were dead even at 17 apiece for Belton and Consol. Neither team lost a fumble. Only turnovers for the night came on two interceptions by Consolidated – the first by middle linebacker Joe Waithaka and the other by Jimmie Gilbert in the fourth period. Gilbert’s pick resulted in a 40-yard return to the Belton 30. Consol punting was outstanding, seven kicks for an average of 42.2.