STORY BY: TIM SCHNETTLER
– NAVASOTA – It is hard to call a nondistrict game in the second week of the season a huge contest, but Friday’s game between the Navasota Rattlers and the Coldspring Trojans is pretty big.
When the teams clash at Rattler Stadium, it will be a battle between the second and third ranked teams in Class 3A, setting up an early-season showdown that has the town of Navasota buzzing in anticipation of the 7:30 kickoff.
“What an impressive game to be so early [in the season],” Navasota head coach Lee Fedora said. “It is going to be a neat game and a neat atmosphere. We are excited about getting to play them at home.”
Coldspring and Navasota were ranked fourth and fifth, respectively, in the preseason polls. But after the top two teams lost their openers, the Trojans and Rattlers each jumped up two spots in the latest poll.
“When I set this schedule back in the spring I was really concerned that we could be 0-1 getting ready to play Coldspring,” Fedora said. “Fortunately we came out and played great against Willis. We are about to see where we are at as a team. We are going against a good opponent so we will see how we handle it.”
Coldspring is coming off a 21-13 victory over C.E. King, a game in which the Trojans had to score in the final three minutes to pull off the victory. The Trojans offense was all ground oriented, as they threw just three passes, completing none.
The ground attack was strong, however, accounting for all of the Trojans’ 321 yards. Senior running back Trey Cooper shoulder the bulk of the running load, finishing with 158 yards and two touchdowns on just 18 carries.
“Their running game is salty,” Fedora said. “The toughest challenge for our defense is their tempo. When you think of a Wing-T, Slot-T team, tempo wouldn’t be in your mindset. We have to be keyed in every snap.”
While the running game was the story for the Trojans, the focus for the Rattlers can’t be solely on it. Coldspring has a quarterback in senior Alfred Scott who threw for 1,100 yards and 11 touchdowns last season, leading the Trojans to the Division II semifinals.
The Rattlers are coming off a convincing 42-0 victory over the Class 4A Willis WildKats, a team that handed Navasota its only regular-season loss last year.
Navasota scored on its opening possession and never looked back. The offense rolled up 453 yards, while the defense held Willis to 123 total yards.
“We have short-term goals,” Fedora said. “On offense our goal is to score on the opening possession of either half and the defensive goal is to get a stop on the first possession and we accomplished that. We started out outstanding and we finished outstanding.
“What has impressed me most about my defense is how we fly around, there are not any guys taking breaks. It is a full four quarters of flying around, wrapping up and making tackles. You can see they are having a lot of fun on he field.”
Quarterback Kadarius Baker looked as solid as he did last season, completing 22 of his 28 pass attempts for 312 yards and a touchdown, while also rushing for a touchdown.
Austin Collins and Solomon McGinty combined to catch 18 passes — nine each — with Collins scoring twice and McGinty once. McGinty finished with 138 receiving yards while Collins was right behind with 137. Collins also had a defensive score, returning an interception 79 yards for a touchdown.