STORY BY: TIM SCHNETTLER
CALDWELL — The Navasota Rattlers continued to flex their muscles Friday night and once again it was too much for their opponent to handle.
The top-ranked Rattlers scored on seven of eight first half possessions and rolled to a convincing 58-0 victory over the Caldwell Hornets in a District 18-3A contest at Hornet Stadium.
The victory improved Navasota’s record to 9-0 on the season and 3-0 in district play and assured the Rattlers of their sixth straight trip to the state playoffs. They will try to win the outright district title next week when they close out the regular season at home against Taylor.
“I want to win it outright,” Navasota head coach Lee Fedora said. “I don’t like to share. That would be three years in a row where we have won the district title.”
Navasota’s defense continued to flourish, holding the Hornets (1-7, 1-2) to a total of 81 yards and posting its third consecutive shutout. Navasota still has not allowed a point in district play and in three games has allowed a total of 259 yards.
The Rattlers forced four Caldwell turnovers — two fumbles and two interceptions — and each time the offense turned them into points. Xavier Creeks and Howard Horn each had an interception, while Jaylyin Minor and Desmond Calhoun each recovered a fumble.
“We are proud of what our defense has done all season,” Fedora said.
Offensively, the Rattlers put up 487 total yards, the majority in the first half. Quarterback Kadarius Baker threw for 198 yards and four touchdowns, despite sitting out the second half.
Receiver Solomon McGinty finished the night with 164 yards and three touchdowns on just seven receptions, all in the first half.
The Rattlers got on the board first when Baker threw the first of his four first-half touchdown passes, connecting with Terrance Creeks from 21 yards out less than four minutes into the game.
Baker then connected with Solmon McGinty for touchdowns on back-to-back possessions. The first came from 16 yards out, capping a two-play 43-yard drive and the second was a 9 yarder that capped a three-play 31-yard drive that was set up by Creeks’ interception.
The Rattlers added one more score before the end of the first quarter, and again it was set up by a turnover when Calhoun recovered a Brett Gilchrist fumble at the Caldwell 27-yard line. Derrion Randle, who had three touchdown runs in the first half, went in from 13 yards out to make it 28-0 with 23 seconds left in the quarter.
The Rattlers longest drive of the half — 80 yards — was capped when Baker found McGinty behind the defense for a 59-yard score. Randle added two more scoring runs — 20 yards and 1 yard — to round out the first half scoring, with both coming after Caldwell turnovers.
The second half saw the Rattler defense not allow a first down while holding Caldwell to 11 total yards. Additionally, with the game well in hand, the Rattlers were able to rest the majority of their starters, giving the backups plenty of playing time.
The only scoring in the half came on three field goals from Michael Martinez who connected from 18, 26 and 35 yards.
The Rattlers will wrap up the regular season next Friday when they play host to the Taylor Ducks. The game can be heard live on Navasota News 1550 KWBC beginning with the pregame show at 7 p.m.