STORY BY: BOB WRIGHT
College Station – The Temple Wildcats came into Tigerland Friday night for the District 12-5A opener, boasting the top offense among the district’s teams.
The Consolidated Tigers are no slouches either when it comes to producing offensive fireworks.
But, before a large crowd at Tigerland, it all came down to one last bit of heroics by the Consol defense to preserve a 33-30 victory by the Tigers. Thoughts might dub Adriel Grant the Homecoming Hero since he sealed the deal with the Tigers’ lone interception with 15 seconds to play. That pick made sure that Consol would pick up its first win of the season. The important thing here is that when it counted the most, Consol stands at 1-0 in the district race, sandwiched between a season mark of 1-3. Temple is 0-l in district, also with a 1-3 overall record.
Just how important was that interception? Highly, since Temple’s explosive offense is capable of scoring from anywhere on the field. Coach Mike Spradlin implemented his new offense in this, his first time to be head coach of the Wildcats. The combatants at Tigerland Friday evening are similar in many ways. First year head coach David Raffield also implemented his version of a wide-open attack this season, and also is capable of tacking up some impressive offensive numbers. Combined last night, the two teams didn’t miss the 1,000-yard mark by much.
While Consol has struggled this year once the Tigers entered the “red zone,” they picked the right time to push across enough points to come away with a victory. The scoring included a couple of field goals – a 31-yarder set up by a short Temple punt late in the third period and a 36-yarder set up by running back Quinton White’s 43-yard run in the fourth period. Dillon Moore booted both three-pointers.
While White made a couple of critical runs featuring some outstanding moves, Consol’s big hosses up front provided blocking prowess to give White just the necessary creases in the Wildcat defense, springing the Tulsa-bound back room to put his own brand of moves for yardage. That line includes Cameron Cermin, Trey Salas, Wyatt Smith, Ruben Pensado and Dillon Smith. That blocking held up while the Tigers registered 24 first downs to 18 for the visitors. Jacob Barnouski, returning to the lineup at quarterback, triggered 34 passes and completed 16, while Temple’s junior phenom QB Zach Allen passed on 23 occasions and connected on nine of ‘em.
Consol is still experiencing penalty woes, getting seven stepoffs for 80 yards.
White, who also handled punting chores, kicked five times for a 42-yard average.
The Consol defense showed they can still play, and do it well, stopping Temple on a couple of crucial fourth-down plays. Making some timely plays in the Tiger “D” were Demetrius Willingham, Grant, Brett Mahnke, David Levias, Marshall Strain, Jimmie Gilbert (spilled QB Allen for a couple of losses), Josue Ordonez, Fredrick Goodrum, Christian Laconture and J.J. Bynum.
Consol held a first quarter advantage when Bronowski hit wide receiver Justin Binden on a 37-yard scoring strike in getting the scoring underway in the first quarter at the 7:08 mark. That capped a 76-yard drive, followed by Dillon Moore’s extra point boot.
Temple’s Joseph Pickett brought the Wildcats to within 7-3 on a 24-yard field goal.
Consol later in the period parlayed a fumble recovery into another TD, after Durasis Nutall got the ball on a reverse for 22 yards, setting up Bronowski’s 14-yard scoring run. Moore’s kick made it 14-3.
In the second quarter, Gaylon Sanders used his speed and quick moves to explode right past the Consolidated defense for 36 yards, ending a 70-yard drive. Pickett’s kick drew the ‘Cats to within 14-10.
Later in the period, Zach Allen scored from 16 yards out, capping an 87-yard march. Pickett’s kick made it 17-14, Temple.
Dillon Moore’s 31-yard field goal tied it in the third, and put the Tigers ahead in the final quarter with his 36-yard field goal, set up by Quinton White’s 43-yard run, making it 20-17.
That lead lasted but a few seconds, when Keith Buhl returned the ensuing kickoff 95 yards, putting the Wildcats back in front, 23-20. Pickett’s kick sailed wide to the right.
Consol went ahead 27-23 late in the final quarter on some crisp blocking and some outstanding runs by White, who got 18 yards to the five, then four more to the one. Quinton apparently scored from there, but Consol was penalized back to the 11. With some more great running, including a couple of spin moves, White scored from the 11 to make it 26-23, followed by Moore’s kick, upping the lead to 27-23.
After Allen scored and the kick followed, Temple was up 30-27.
A 52-yard scoring run by White put the Tigers back up 33-30. Then came the game-saving interception by Grant.