STORY BY: TIM SCHNETTLER
The Navasota Rattlers survived their first test as the state’s top-ranked team in Class 3A, handling the upset-minded Lexington Eagles, and Friday night they will be in the crosshairs of another team of Eagles.
This time it will be the Fairfield Eagles (3-1) as the Rattlers travel to Eagle Stadium for a non-district contest. Kickoff is slated for 7:30 p.m., and the game can be heard live on Navasota News 1550 KWBC.
The Rattlers (4-0) are coming off a 45-13 victory over Lexington, which was ranked No. 7 in Class 2A. The Rattlers struck quick, scoring on their first possession, but troubles on special teams and a bogged down offensive attack allowed Lexington to hang around until Navasota 38 straight points to pull away.
“We probably couldn’t have played a sloppier first quarter,” Rattler head coach Lee Fedora said. “And when I say sloppy, it was only special teams sloppiness. I was so proud of our kids because they never bowed their heads, they kept going after it and kept fighting.”
As has been the case in previous games, the Rattler passing game allowed them to take control. Quarterback Kadarius Baker finished with 407 passing yards and threw for four more touchdowns, brining his season total to 17.
Receiver Solomon McGinty averaged more than 34 yards per reception finishing with 8 catches for 277 yards and two touchdowns.
Navasota’s defense had another outstanding game, holding another prolific passer well under his average, and forcing three turnovers, including a fumble recovery that was returned 73 yards by Jake Bauer for a touchdown.
The Fairfield Eagles won the first three games of the season, but are coming off a 26-23 loss to Center.
The running game, as it has all season, was the strength for Fairfield as the Eagles rushed 62 times for 270 yards. Senior running back Andre Welch (6-foot, 215 pounds) carried the bulk of the load rushing 45 times for 188 yards.
For the season Welch, who rushed for 1,208 yards and 12 touchdowns last season, has gained 435 yards on 85 carries this season and has four touchdowns.
“They are big and they are physical, they are a power-running game, they want to run it down your throat,” Fedora said. “I think you are going to see some old-style football.”
When the running game is bottled up, the Eagle turn to senior quarterback Aaron Cain who threw for 902 yards and eight touchdowns last season. So far this year he has thrown only 74 passes, completing 33 for 435 yards and 3 TDs. He has also thrown 3 interceptions.
Defensively, the Eagles are led by Alex Ward. The senior linebacker has 26 tackles including three sacks. He also has two interceptions, which is tied for the team lead with safety Cooper Cole who is Texas Football’s preseason defensive MVP for District 19-3A.