STORY BY: TIM SCHNETTLER
– CALDWELL – Last week the Navasota Rattlers found themselves locked in a thriller against a team they were expected to dominate. This week, the Rattlers did what was expected of them, dominating a struggling Caldwell Hornet football team.
Navasota scored on its first offensive play of the game and never looked back as the Rattlers rolled to a 52-14 District 23-3A victory at Hornet Stadium. The victory improved Navasota’s record to 7-1 overall and 3-0 in district.
It also sets up a showdown next week with Smithville (7-0, 3-0) for sole possession of the district lead after Smithville beat Giddings, 24-21 on Friday night.
“You always want to play the best teams,” Navasota head coach Lee Fedora said. “The good thing for us is we get them at home. It is senior night and it is going to be an emotional night, but an exciting night.
“This is going to be a big game. Smithville, give them credit. I would hate to go to Smithville to play them.’
Before the Rattlers could turn their attention to Smithville, however, they had to deal with a Caldwell team that had just one victory on the season and had not one a district game.
It was a situation similar to last week when Navasota faced La Grange and needed a pass knock down by Xavier Creeks on a 2-point conversion attempt in overtime to pull out the victory.
This time, however, there were no late-game heroics needed the Rattlers dominated from start to finish.
“Our kids didn’t take anyone lightly and they went in knowing it was about Navasota,” Fedora said.
Navasota finished the night with 554 total yards of offense. Kadarius Baker threw for 293 yards and five touchdowns and Austin Collins had his best night of the season, catching nine passes for 175 yards and four touchdowns.
Jacob Malek led the rushing attack, picking up 110 yards on just eight carries and he opened the game with a 68-yard scoring run on the first offensive play of the game.
On the defensive side of the ball the Rattlers had a solid night as well, holding the Hornets to 197 total yards, and allowing only a late offensive touchdown on Caldwell’s final possession of the game. Caldwell’s only other score came on a 90-yard kickoff return.
The defense also got into the scoring act when Jaylyin Minor grabbed a pitch out of the air and returned it 56-yard for the Rattlers’ final score of the game.
“I thought our defense played outstanding,” Fedora said.
The Rattlers return to action next Friday against Smithville in the final regular season home game. Kickoff is slated for 7:30 p.m. and the broadcast can be heard on Navasota News 1550 AM.