STORY BY: TIM SCHNETTLER
NAVASOTA — The way the Navasota Rattlers are playing, it is hard to imagine anything that can slow them down. Friday night the Taylor Ducks took their shot, but the Rattlers raced past them like they were standing still.
Navasota, the No. 1 team in Class 3A, again dominated from start to finish, posting a 52-0 victory over the Ducks at Rattler Stadium.
The victory ended a perfect regular season for Navasota (10-0, 4-0) and gave the Rattlers the outright District 18-3A title, their third consecutive district crown. It was also the fourth consecutive shutout for the Navasota defense that did not allow a single point in district play.
“I am proud of the way our kids played,” Navasota head coach Lee Fedora said. “I loved how our kids stayed focused all week long. It is something special to say you went 10-0.”
Taylor, which surprised most this season by making the playoffs, ended the regular season at 4-6 and 2-2.
The Rattlers will open the Class 3A Division II playoffs on Thursday at Bryan’s Merrill Green Stadium against China Spring Cougars at 7 p.m. The game can be heard live on Navasota News 1550 KWBC.
The Rattlers set the tone early, both offensively and defensively, behind the play of seniors Kadarius Baker, Solomon McGinty and Austin Collins.
Baker finished the night 17 of 26 for 274 yards and five touchdowns. McGinty and Collins each had seven receptions with McGinty accounting for 107 yards and three touchdowns and Collins getting 125 yards and two touchdowns.
Collins also had two interceptions, one of which he returned 66 yards for a touchdown. As a unit, the Navasota defense only allowed a total of 84 yards en route to its fifth shutout of the season.
“It makes you feel real good as an offensive coach,” Fedora said. “It has been great.”
Four of Baker’s five touchdown passes on the night came in the first half as the Rattlers raced to a 38-0 lead at halftime.
Collins set up the first score of the night when he intercepted Taylor quarterback Jeremy Snyder at the Taylor 49-yard line. Six plays later Baker hit McGinty for a 6-yard score and a 7-0 lead.
Collins collected his second interception of the night the next time the Ducks got the ball and this time he returned it 66 yards for a score making it 14-0 with 7:41 left in the first quarter.
Collins got into the scoring on the offensive side the next time the Rattlers got the ball when he hauled in an 18-yard pass from Baker to stretch the lead.
Back-to-back one play drives upped the Navasota lead to 35-0. The first was a 47-yard strike from Baker to McGinty and the second was a 51-yard pass to Collins.
Michael Martinez capped the first half scoring with a 28-yard field goal with no time on the clock. Martinez, who is 8-for-8 on field goals this season, had his first attempt blocked, but Taylor was called for holding giving him another shot. His second attempt split the uprights sending the Rattlers into the half up 38-0.
The Rattlers added two more scores in the fourth quarter. McGinty caught his third touchdown pass of the night, a 26-yarder, and then Derrion Randle recovered a Keyshawn Philio fumble in the end zone to close out the scoring.