STORY BY: BOB WRIGHT
COLLEGE STATION – It was billed Friday night as the 25th annual Crosstown Showdown at Kyle Field before some 18,000 fans, pitting the Bryan Vikings against the A&M Consolidated Tigers.
The Vikings opened up proceedings and got to the Tiger eight before a QB pitch intended for Bobby Johnson went awry and the ball wound up back on the 22.
That turn of fortunes somehow epitomized what the season has been like for first-year coach Ross Rogers. However, make no mistake about it. Friday night’s 54-7 Consolidated victory was not due to turnovers, but to the swarming Tiger defense and an offense which can put up the points.. The Vikings suffered two interceptions and lost a fumble to the Tigers.
Starting Tiger quarterback Jaylan Cheshire received a break in his left ankle, and had to be removed from the field with 2:26 left in the first half. An air cast was positioned on his leg. Following a lengthy injury timeout, Cheshire left the field while giving the thumbs-up victory sign, which elicited loud applause.
Weston Garner, who had not played a down in a game this year, came in and provided further leadership. Garner was injured during a pre-season scrimmage against Round Rock Stony Point. While Garner quarterbacked part of the first half and most of the last half, nearly all of the club saw action as Coach David Raffield emptied the bench. A third quarterback, junior Gus Miller, came in with eight minutes to go.
Bryan’s overall team speed couldn’t overcome the Tiger D, which included fine secondary work. That secondary picked off two of Chris Johnson’s passes, included an interception by Eric Yates, who returned it for a 30-yard score in the third period.. Nor could the Vikes negate great play by the Consolidated offensive line, which again gave just enough creases to allow Xavier Jones and Brandon Jackson to gouge out key yardage.
A&M Consolidated had 422 yards of total offense, while the Tiger defense held the Vikings to 243 total yards.
Once the domination set in, it was brutal. The Tigers held a 13-0 lead after one period, stretched it to 19-0 by halftime, then exploded for 21 points for a 40-7 lead at conclusion of the third quarter.
Nearing the final few seconds, Ryan Kreider gouged out several yards to the Bryan 10. That’s when Gus Miller, the third QB of the evening for Coach David Raffield, took a knee in trying to run down the clock. That was on a fourth-down play. Then Bryan quarterback Chris Johnson, a Baylor commit, also knelt to run out the clock.
After receiving to start the game, the Vikings got to the eight, principally due to a 60-yard pass and run play from Johnson to Cooper Powell.
Bryan was not alone in shooting itself in the proverbial foot with missed opportunities. Consol did a little bit of that, too. It was mainly by penalties – seven for 70 yards.
The game was a bit sloppy at times, but in the final analysis, it was simply too much Tiger uncaged. Once the Tiger scoring machine got to rolling, the game was placed pretty much in the books by the third quarter against the scrappy Vikings. Seemingly, Consol wore down the Viking defense with passes and with a pretty consistent ground game.
The victory pushed the Consolidated season record to 5-2 and 2-1 in District 14-5A warfare. Bryan falls to 2-5, 1-2 in district action.
Cheshire, Garner and Miller had a combined 17 completions in 27 tosses, and one interception. Chris Johnson for Bryan completed nine of 26 with two interceptions.
The win was the eighth in a row for Consolidated, and 12 in the last 13 games between these crosstown rivals.
Making some key defensive sticks for the Tigers were Randy Whited, Jimmie Gilbert, Eric Yates, Quinn Haynes (tough on Special Teams), Danny Ochoa, Kyle Chism, Michael Clauston and Tanner Gregory.
In assessing the outcome, a pleased Coach Raffield says the Tigers are “getting better each week.”
Bryan’s lone touchdown came with 18 seconds remaining in the third quarter when running back Bobby Johnson zipped in over his left tackle, capping an 83-yard drive in five plays. Ryan Way booted the extra point. At that juncture, Consol led 40-7.
Consolidated’s initial possession resulted in a punt, a 52-yarder by Jaylan Cheshire.
On the second possession, set up by a fumble at the Bryan 10, the Tigers went in front 6-0 on a seven-yard run by Brandon Jackson at the 8:08 mark of the opening period. Dillon Moore missed the extra point, one of two which he was to misfire on for the evening.
The first quarter saw another Consol TD, another seven-yarder, but this time by Cheshire with three minutes left in the period. It was a 47-yard march that needed a dozen plays. Moore booted the point, making it 13-0.
The second-quarter Tiger touchdown was a 30-yard strike from Cheshire to Josh Stewart, who just keeps on making those spectacular catches. That ended a 68-yard drive in nine plays. Moore’s kick went wide, leaving the halftime score at 19-0.
The Tigers, which stopped the Vikings on three of their fourth-down plays, again put their scoring machine into high gear with 21 points in the third period. It started with Xavier Jones’ three-yard run who started left, then smartly cut up the middle. Moore’s kick hiked the lead to 26-0. It had been a 52-yard drive on eight plays.
Consol stretched the lead to 33-0 on Yates’ 30-yard interception return and Moore’s extra point kick.
Final score of the period came with 2:29 remaining when Brandon Jackson sped 67 yards, completing a 91-yard “drive” in just two plays. That opportunity was set up when Consol held the Vikings on a fourth-down play. Moore booted the extra point, lifting the Tigers to a 40-0 lead.
After Bryan’s lone touchdown, the Tigers went ahead 47-7 when Jones ran left for 15 yards, followed by a 60-yard pass and run play from Garner to Justin Miller. Moore kick the point.
Consol closed out scoring after an errant snap to the would-be Bryan punter, caused the kicker to be downed at the Bryan 12. Consol overcame a 15-yard stepoff for a chop block, drove in nearer before Andrew Hansen crossed the goal line from the two with 6:31 to go in the game. Moore kick the extra point.
Next Thursday night at 7:30, A&M Consolidated plays College Park with a 7 o’clock kickoff at Woodforest Bank Stadium in The Woodlands. Bryan High hosts the Lufkin Panthers at Merrill Green Stadium with a 7:30 kickoff scheduled for Friday night.