STORY BY: BOB WRIGHT
THE WOODLANDS – The A&M Consolidated Tigers came back from a four-overtime loss to Lufkin less than a week ago to even their District 14-5A mark with a 21-14 victory Thursday night over The Woodlands Highlanders at Woodforest Bank Stadium.
This game, listed by the Harris Rating System as one of its five “High Headliners” of Texas this weekend; was televised by Comcast for fans throughout the Houston area. The game lived up to its billing since both clubs are rated as two of the premier Class AAAAA clubs in the Lone Star State.
Consolidated’s win lifted the Tigers to 4-2 for the year and evened the district mark at 1-1 since the 70-63 4 OT loss last week. In contrast to that home outing, Thursday night’s road game was a big contrast, with Consol’s defense “showing up” at opportunistic moments to hold off the Highlanders from mounting a successful comeback.
Smash-mouth football was the name of the game down in the trenches for A&M Consolidated, both with some prime blocking by the line and some defensive heroics on key plays. The Tigers in the fourth quarter controlled the football on one drive, which didn’t cover a lot of real estate, but held possession for five minutes and 18 seconds to chew up valuable time while keeping the pigskin away from The Woodlands’ dangerous offense.
That stretch was part of Consol’s holding the ball for 25 minutes and 24 seconds, compared with the Highlanders’ possession time of 22 minutes and 36 seconds.
The real clincher came with 5:49 remaining in the final period on the Tigers’ ninth possession when they scored on a quarterback Jaylan Cheshire pass to wide receiver speedster Derrick Dick to break a 14-14 deadlock. Dillon Moore’s extra-point kick made it 21-14 to seal the deal, although there was more work to be done by the Tigers, who were up to the task. The winning drive covered 55 yards and took nine plays. Enroute to the winning score, the Tigers converted on a couple of fourth-and-one situations.
Then with 4:14 left, the Tigers had forced the Highlanders to punt and took over on the Consol 19. In those final frantic moments, Cheshire put on a fake that would have made Houdini happy, then rolled for 15 yards to the 31. That was followed by tailback Xavier Jones’ run of seven yards, then one, and it was Cheshire’s time again, gouging out half a dozen more yards for another first at the 44.
The Woodlands expended its final two timesout, in an attempt to preserve some time. Brandon Jackson slid free for five yards, weaving to his right. After letting the time clock run down, the Tigers were assessed a five-yard stepoff for delay of game while facing fourth-and-four at midfield. Cheshire kicked away with 37 seconds remaining, but kept the ball when an unsportsmanlike penalty moved the ball to the Highlanders 40 with 26 seconds left. Cheshire had only to kneel one time and the victory was preserved.
The Consol defense showed up, allowing The Woodlands 299 yards of total offense. Conversely, the Tigers had 321 yards of total offense. Senior quarterback Jayme Taylor, Northwestern-bound, was particularly dogged by the Tiger D. Linebacker Jimmie Gilbert sacked Taylor three times in the first half, while the Highlander signal caller was pressured on several other occasions by Gilbert and Company. Danny Ochoa, Cory Harris and Josh Hailey. Corey Stoll, Eric Yates, Randy Whited and Alex Lamp also had some key defensive plays throughout. Also playing top-notch defense were Coleman Dennis, KJ Dukes, Tanner Gregory, Kyle Chism, Eri Flores, Michael Clouston, DJ Jackson, Quin Haynes, Aaron Levastis, Garret Carstens, Riley Garner, and the Williamses – Jalyn and Cody.
The Tigers registered 17 first downs to 13 for The Woodlands. Neither team lost a fumble, with the only turnover in the game, an interception by Stoll, who returned it 30 yards to the Consol 45. However, the Tigers couldn’t convert that pick into a score and eventually had to punt. Stoll and Lampo both played stellar roles in Consolidated’s pass defense.
Cheshire, who had some early trouble in locating receivers, finally began connecting to Josh Stewart, Daniel Hulse, Derrick Dick, Kerry Thomas, Josch Motley and Kohl Anderson. Cheshire hit 16 of 23 aerials without a pick. Taylor completed 12 of 23 with that lone interception by Stoll.
Cheshire kicked four times for a 41.3 average. Alex Garcia booted six times for a 42.7 average.
Woodlands held a 7-0 lead at conclusion of one quarter, and the score was tied 7-7 at halftime. Consol went ahead 14-7 after three periods, but didn’t score again as the Tigers were scoring 14 points to clinch it.
That Tiger offensive line earned its spurs in grand style. Among the hosses up front, opening up those running lanes and protecting Cheshire, who was sacked only once, included Kyle Cavanaugh, Dan Havens, Shane Rae, Stephen King, Luke Bush and Cooper Svajda.
The Woodlands scored first on its third possession in the opening quarter. It came on the first play of that possession when fleet running back Patrick Carr burst through on a dive play, untouched and was long gone enroute to a 72-yard TD with just 13 seconds left in the quarter. Alex Garcia’s kick made it 7-0.
Consolidated tied it 7-7 early in the second quarter on a 53-yard run by Xavier Jones, who scrambled to his left and sped the distance on the Tigers’ fourth possession of the football. Dillon Moore kicked the point.
Cheshire, on the first play of Consol’s sixth possession, in the third period, broke free for 62 yards at the 8:13 mark. Moore nailed the extra point, putting the Tigers up 14-7.
The Woodlands tied it 14-14 when Carr sped 14 yards into the end zone and Garcia kick the point. Thatcompleted a 65-yard drive that needed just three plays and culminated two minutes deep into the fourth quarter.
Back came Consol for the clincher on its ninth possession, ending with the Cheshire-to-Dick pass and Moore’s kick.
Consolidated’s next game is the “big annual event” pitting the Tigers against the crosstown Bryan Vikings at Kyle Field. That District 14-5A classic will come next Friday night at 7:30.