STORY BY BOB WRIGHT
CONROE – The A&M Consolidated Tigers clinched a Division 2 first seed for playoff purposes Friday night at Conroe’s Buddy Moorhead Stadium by bumping off the previously unbeaten Oak Ridge War Eagles 41-23 in a pivotal District 14-5A game.
The victory lifted A&M Consolidated to a 6-2 season mark with a 4-1 district record. Oak Ridge is now 3-1 in district, but came into the contest with a 7-0 mark.
Consol now prepares to close out the regular season next Friday night at 7:30 in the friendly confines of Tigerland Stadium, hosting the Conroe Tigers. The following week, Consol enjoys its bye week; in the vernacular – the old open date before heading into the playoffs.
Friday night’s win was accomplished with some defensive heroics and with an offense that enjoyed an evening with more than a passing fancy. While the running game enjoyed some fine moments behind a crisp-blocking line, quarterback Kobe Miller threaded the needle through the air lanes, accounting for five touchdowns. Four of the payoff strikes went to Derrick Dick, while the other two scoring aerials went to Kerry Thomas. The latter made some unbelievable catches in the passing assault.
The lone rushing TD was turned in by hard-running Brandon Jackson, and his were the first points of the evening, which came on the Tigers’ first possession. Consol scored the first two times they had the ball, the second coming after the Tiger D forced three-and-out and punts.
Brandon Jackson’s score came when he showed his quickness and running savvy after heading to his right, saw an opening and cut right down the gut of the War Eagle defense for 29 yards, ending a seven-play, 75-yard march with 9:07 to go in the opening quarter. Ryan Anderson booted the point.
Consol made it 14-0 in a 65-yard drive that needed only three plays. In that drive, Jackson for 11 yards, Dick quick-stepped for 25, and the third and final play of the drive came on Miller’s 37-yard pass to Derrick Dick. Consol had eight first downs in those first two scoring drives, registering 26 firsts for the game.
Consol, which had 441 total yards of offense, led only 14-10 at halftime but came out in the third period to score 20 more points to lead 34-10. Oak Ridge had 384 total offensive yards.
After Consol went in front 14-0, Oak Ridge put together 10 points before the half, when Braden Letney scored from the Consol 27 on the first play after recovery of a fumble by the Tigers. Patrick Coale kicked the point. Coale then booted a 35-yard field goal. Both scores came in the second period after Consol led 14-0 after the first quarter.
The Tigers in the third period led 34-10 with 20 more points. Kobe Miller first connected with Derrick Dick on a 16-yarder at the 7:33 mark. Anderson’s kick made it 21-10.
It became 27-10 when Miller hit Kerry Thomas on a 32-yarder with 4:33 to go in the period. That completed an 87-yard drive. A kick snap which couldn’t be handled resulted in a run stacked shy on a two-point conversion attempt.
Consol then made it 34-10 on a pass from Miller to Thomas who hauled it in on a four-yard slant pattern, ending a 53-yard drive in only three plays with a minute and two seconds left in the third. Anderson kicked the extra point.
Consol closed out its scoring in the final period on a 13-yard pass from Miller to Derrick Dick with 7:52 left. The 58-yard drive took five plays. Anderson booted the extra point.
Justin Edwards scored for the War Eagles. Mac Presnal intercepted a pass on the two-point conversion try, leaving it 41-16. Oak Ridge scored again in the final period when Letney passed 33 yards for a score and Coales sliced through the extra point.
Riley Garner, K.J. Dukes, Corey Stoll, Tristan Batts, Quin Haynes, Sheman Wilder, Bryce Florence, Ryan Bevans all turned in some good defensive work. Garner got an interception with 9:11 to go in the game and returned it 10 yards to the Consol 42.
Consol had a turnover on a punt return attempt, which went down as a fumble. It was the very next play that Letney scored from the 27.