STORY BY: TIM SCHNETTLER
CAMERON — The Navasota Rattlers got a bit of a scare Friday night in Cameron, but a pair of late touchdowns helped propel Navasota to a 42-21 non-district victory over the Cameron Yoemen at Yoe Field.
After going up by three scores early in the third quarter, the Rattlers saw the Yoe chip away at the lead, eventually getting within seven points with 6 minutes and 30 seconds left in the game.
But a 51-yard scoring run by Jacob Malek and a 16-yard touchdown run by Xavier Creeks following a fumble recovery by Jake Bauer helped the Rattlers improve to 3-1 on the season heading into next week’s open date.
“I told our kids it was going to be a tough battle,” Navasota head coach Lee Fedora said. “We had a great week of practice and I thought it showed tonight when the game got tight.”
Navasota’s defense provided much of the storyline for the Rattlers, forcing five turnovers — three interceptions and two fumble recoveries — while also taking Cameron’s big play threat Decrick Westbrook out of the game.
Linebacker Will Imhoff had a great night, collecting two interceptions, one late in the first half that helped turn back a Cameron venture into Navasota territory, and one late in the game that helped close out the victory.
“I am very proud of the defense,” Fedora said. “Anytime your defense gets turnovers you’ve got to be proud. What a great night by will Imhoff getting two picks. The biggest one was right before the half when they were going down to score.”
Navasota’s offense put up 372 yards of total offense — 222 passing and 150 rushing — while the defense limited the Yoe to 286.
Quarterback Kadarius Baker had another solid outing, completing 15-of-21 with three touchdowns and no interceptions. He also added a 1-yard scoring run. Jamison Coles was on the receiving end of two of the touchdown passes and finished the night with three receptions for 99 yards.
After only 13 points were put up in the first half, the offensive fireworks were touched off in the second half, with the teams combining for 50 points.
Navasota scored first after recovering a fumble by Westbrook at the Cameron 41-yard line. It took nine plays to cover the distance, with Baker scoring from the 1. A two-point pass from Jacob Malek to Solomon McGinty made it 21-0.
The teams traded scores — Cameron getting a 1-yard run from Keaton Denio and Navasota a 57-yard pass from Baker to Coles — before Cameron scored two straight to pull within a touchdown, pumping life into its crowd.
But almost as quickly as they got their fans into the game, the Rattlers took them out, when Malek took a handoff and outraced the defense for his 51-yard score to make it 35-21.
On the ensuing possession, Bauer knocked the ball out of the hands of Cameron quarterback Jason Kopriva, then recovered it at the Cameron 22 to set up Creeks’ run. Imhoff added his second interception of the night on the Yoe’s next possession to seal the victory.
In addition to Imhoff’s two picks, Coles added one and Trevor Savensky added a fumble recovery.
Navasota will be off next week, then return to the field on Sept. 30 when it plays host to the Wharton Tigers for Homecoming.