STORY BY: BOB WRIGHT
– COLLEGE STATION – It’s about adaptablity, Baby, adaptability!!
Going into the 2012 football season Friday night at Tigerland Stadium, the A&M Consolidated Tigers seemed to many to perhaps be “an unknown quantity.”
Change that to what could well be a top-quality team as the season wears on.
The Tigers have adapted so well in their second season of Coach
David Raffield’s wide-open style of football, a factor so evident last night as Consol defeated the Copperas Cove Bulldawgs 31-20. Not just the score, but the fact that Consolidated won over the favored visitors was a shocker to many.
While the offense delighted a full-house side of Tiger faithful, it was the defense which held the vaunted ‘Dawgs at bay for most of the night. The defense had many shining stars under the “Blue Moon” which majestically hung over Tigerland, but none moreso than 6-6, 215-pound Jimmie Gilbert, who had moved this season from end to linebacker; linebacker Kyle Chisum, 212; defensive backs Tanner Gregory, credited with throwing kinks into the passing game with batted-down aerials; K.J. Dukes and Quin Haynes, and defensive lineman Randy Whited.
“We’re going to be all right,” a pleased Coach Raffield said after the game while amidst Tiger fans in the fieldhouse area. “We still have a ways to go,” Raffield reflected, but a smile ensued when he talked about the defense, which boasts speed, agility and conjures up pleasant thoughts when you consider that unit appeared to be in mid-season form.
Someone else brought smiles to Raffield. Quarterback Jaylan Cheshire got the starting call because the presumptive starter, Weston Garner, was hurt in the scrimmage with Round Rock Stony Point. Cheshire’s performance, which included some 200 yards passing with 14 completions in 19 tosses without an interception, also included some solid running after some super fakes to backs. However, when they got the ball, the Tiger tailback duo of Xavier Jones and Brandon Jackson chewed up some prime real estate. Jones zipped and darted for some 150 yards on this late August, high-humidity evening.
Opening up the running avenues while also providing plenty of pass protection for Cheshire, were some notable “hosses up front” in Raffield’s stable. This blocking crew included seniors Luke Bush, 6-2, 320-pounder; Kyle Kavanaugh, Dan Havens and Stephen King.
The kicking game, a vital component of any good team, also got high marks, including punting prowess by Cheshire, kicking five times for a 43.6-yard average including a 57-yarder which got a good roll, pinning Cove back on its one.
It was a fast-paced game with both clubs noted for their wide-open style. Consol for the most part, unveiled its no-huddle offense, which again resulted in the club’s running many more plays than is the case with “huddling up” after each play.
Each team registered 17 first downs. Consol turned over the ball once by a fumble which nipped a promising drive at the Bulldawg 37. Consolidated was penalized eight times for 73 yards, by the ‘Dawgs got five stepoffs for 45 yards. Copperas Cove lost two fumbles – at its 39 and at the Cove 11.
One of the Tigers’ favorite receivers was Josh Stewart, a 6-5 senior who made at least two incredible “how-did-he-do-that?!” catches.
The Tigers bolted in front 7-0 with 3:23 to go in the opening quarter. The score came on a 40-yard pass-and-run play from Cheshire to Derrick Dick, a real speedburner with some fancy moves to match. Dillon Moore took up where he left off last season by booting the extra point. Before the final whistle, Moore was to kick three more extra points and a 25-yard field goal, which came with 2:49 remaining in the first half. That made it 17-7 at halftime.
The Tigers’ second touchdown also came in the second period at the 9:38 mark, culminating a 70-yard drive that needed just five plays while taking just a minute and four seconds off the clock. That TD had made it 14-7 and just preceded Moore’s field goal. The touchdown came on a 55-yarder from Cheshire to Kerry Thomas.
One of the top attributes of this year’s Tiger team comes in the receiving corps. Friday night, Cheshire spread the football around to 14 difference players. That factor does have a tendency to diversify the aerial game and portends well for the offense in ensuing games.
Cove’s lone score in the opening half came early in the second period when QB Robbie Seybold gouged in from the two, completing a nine-play drive which had begun on Consol’s 37. Jason Stanley booted the extra point.
In the third quarter, Cheshire found a crease to slide over the goal from a yard out, ending a six-play, 39-yard drive with 3:46 left in the third quarter. That made it 24-7.
Cove closed to within 24-14 when speedster Valdarez King, Cove’s leading rusher, got loose for a 61-yard run with 3:09 to go in the third. Jason Stanley kicked the point
Consol went ahead 31-14 when Justin Miller hauled in a 67-yard pass from Cheshire with two minutes and 11 seconds left in the third quarter. Moore again kicked the point.
Chance Colbert got the final Cove score from the Consol two. The extra point was blocked.