STORY BY: TIM SCHNETTLER
NAVASOTA — The Navasota Rattlers were able to overcome their own mistakes and a hard-nosed Lexington Eagle football team Friday night to come away with a 45-13 victory at Rattler Stadium.
The Rattlers (4-0), playing for the first time as the top-ranked team in Class 3A, were at times, their own worst enemy. Navasota was flagged for eight penalties in the first half for 71 yards. Three of those penalties wiped out touchdowns.
Additionally, they fumbled away a punt and muffed a kickoff, both of which were recovered by the Eagles (2-2). Still, the Rattlers pulled it all together and got the victory.
“Those mistakes are things that an average team is going to hold their heads down,” Navasota head coach Lee Fedora said. “I challenged them at the half and we came out in the second half and played Navasota football.”
The Rattlers managed to take a 21-6 lead into the half thanks to three big touchdown passes, two of them to Solomon McGinty who finished the night with eight catches for 277 yards and two touchdowns.
The defense also was huge once again, thwarting the Lexington offense twice in the end zone, once with a fumble recovery and once by stopping a fourth-down attempt.
The only real downside on the night was an injury to senior linebacker Will Imhoff, who had to be taken off the field on a cart early in the first quarter with a leg injury.
It looked like the Rattlers were on their way to a big night when Kadarius Baker (15-of-28, 407 yards and 4 TDs) threw the first of his three first-half touchdowns, connecting with McGinty on a 53-yard strike.
Michael Martinez added the extra point to stake the Rattlers to a 7-0 less than a minute into the game.
Navasota’s defense followed by forcing a three-and-out, but the ensuing punt bounced off a Rattler and was recovered by Lexington at the Navasota 16.
Three plays later Lexington quarterback Kogan Garrett hit London Jacob for an 18-yard score. The extra point was wide, however, allowing the Rattlers to keep the lead.
The Rattlers muffed the ensuing kickoff and the Eagles looked to be in business again when they recovered in Navasota territory. The Eagles got into the red zone, but Navasota’s defense forced and recovered a fumble to turn them away.
Neither offense could find the end zone again until Navasota got there twice in the span of 2 minutes and 37 seconds.
The first was a 48 yard pass to Austin Collins, and the second was McGinty’s second scoring catch of the half, this one covering 50 yards.
After Lexington went three-and-out to start the second half, Navasota went 47 yards in six plays to up its lead on a 25-yard pass from Baker to Keyone Johnson.
The defense got in on the action when Jaylyin Minor jarred the ball loose from Cash Floth and Jake Bauer picked it up and outraced everyone for a 73-yard touchdown to make it 35-6 heading into the final 12 minutes.
Martinez connected on his first field goal attempt of the season from 24-yards out to make it 38-6 and then Collins capped a six-play 76-yard drive with a 9-yard scoring run to make it 45-6.
Lexington added a late score when Jacob found Garrett for his second touchdown of the night, this one from 19-yards out.
The Rattlers travel to Fairfield next week to take on the Eagles. The game can be heard on Navasota News 1550. Pregame starts at 7 p.m.