STORY BY BOB WRIGHT
TIGERLAND – A&M Consolidated could lay claim that “the real Tigers” reside in College Station, and judging from what happened Friday night at Tigerland, they would be right.
Consolidated’s Tigers left no doubt in validating their claim as a playoff team here Friday evening in the season finale for the regular season. It was nothing more than a tuneup for Consol which had its Tiger in the tank as the high-octane offense rolled to a 63-7 victory over the Conroe Tigers who finished up with a 4-5 record, wrapped around a 1-4 District 14-5A mark. The Tigers of Consolidated ended the regular season with a 7-2 record, while racing to an impressive 5-1 district mark.
Coach David Raffield’s Tigers amassed a total offense of 563 yards, while the swarming and hard-hitting Tiger defense kept the visitors from springing an upset. Consol held a 19-14 edge in first downs, while the Tiger D met ‘em headon for most of the evening at the line of scrimmage. The secondary did its thing, limiting Conroe to only five completions, as quarterback Stedman Bell lofted 20 aerials into the unfriendly skies of Consolidated.
Only turnover of the evening resulted in leading to a Consol touchdown. That came at the 6:38 mark of the second period at the Conroe 25.
So dominating was Consolidated’s offensive machine that it effortlessly overcame nine penalties for 75 yards. Closest Conroe to get was a 7-7 tie in the first quarter although the local Tigers held a 14-7 advantage after that period.
The dikes opened as Consolidated scored 35 unanswered points in the second quarter to enjoy a 49-7 halftime advantage then went in front 63-7 after three quarters.
Senior Kobe (Gus) Miller again provided some top field generalship before turning it over to backup sophomore QB Mason Hickman late in the second quarter. The fleet-footed Hickman did his part in keeping the Tiger machine churning out the yards. Senior Brandon Jackson also provided quality running prowess, as did junior Ben Thornton, RB/WR Derrick Dick, senior David Taylor and sophomore Tyri Merchant. The latter put on some entertaining moves while gobbling up some prime real estate. Dick and the other receivers continued their fine work, including Daniel Zivney and Kerry Thomas.
Kicking specialist Ryan Anderson was perfect for the night, booting through every extra point following the touchdown avalanche.
The name of defensive back Riley Garner continues to be called a whole lot. And why not?! He again was in on a passel of plays in helping to stymie the Conroe offense from inflicting major damage. Other defensive standouts for the Tigers were Sherman Wilder, another DB; linebacker Ryan Bevans, DB Mac Presnal, defensive end Logan Foust and lineman Tristan Batts, a senior who seems to have consistently good outings.
Consol received and wasted little time in setting the tone for the night. Only three plays were needed – First, Ben Thornton ripped off nine yards before Miller connected with Derrick Dick for a first down. The stage was set. On the next play, Miller drilled a pass in to Kerry Thomas, who ran for the touchdown covering 77 yards with 8:58 remaining in the quarter. Ryan Anderson booted the point.
Conroe scored to deadlock at 7-7 when Darrian Dock, a hard runner, took it over. Cordell Vogel kicked the extra point. The score came with 4:53 left in the period.
Consolidated quickly got that score back on its third possession in the same period. It came via the outstanding run of Tyri Merchant, who jumped one would-be tackler, spun away from another an showed his knack of choosing right running routes to complete the 45-yard scoring run with a minute and 40 seconds left. Anderson again drilled through the extra point.
In the second period, Tiger offensive lightning struck again. After Miller hit Zivney on a 30-yarder, Miller kept an hit the middle to score from the one with 9:52 left. It completed an 80-yard drive that needed seven plays. Anderson nailed the point.
The parade of touchdowns was on. After Brandon Jackson gained 18 yards on a run, he rolled left for a nine-yard touchdown at the 7:56 mark in the second quarter, finishing off a 51-yard, five-play march. Anderson kicked the point.
The ensuing onside kick took Conroe by surprise, and suddenly the local Tigers were set up for another score. Miller hit Zivney for 21 yards on a slant pattern over the middle, after a brilliant fake to Jackson which froze the Conroe defense. The score had come 35 seconds after the previous score. Anderson kicked the point.
Consol wasn’t through in that 35-point outburst in the second. Next one came after Conroe’s lone fumble. Miller passed for the score with 6:02 before the half. Anderson nailed another extra point.
Closing out first-half scoring, Mason Hickman at quarterback zipped for 11 yards and a first. As time expired in the half, Hickman zipped the ball in to Brandon Jackson, whose great catch and run lifted the score to 48-7. Anderson hit the point. The score had come on a screen pass as time expired.
Consol’s final two scores came in the third period, the final of which saw Hickman score from the one with 3:43 left. That closed out a 73-yard drive in 13 plays, as Consol chewed up quite a bit of clock on that downfield trip.
Everybody saw action for the Consol club. As Raffield emptied the bench, Conroe’s big moment of glory came in the fourth period with two touchdowns. The first was a 98-yard drive in 20 plays and came with 8:11 to go when Stedman Bell ran it in from the seven. A pass fell incomplete on the two-point conversion attempt, leaving it 63-13.
Conroe got its final TD when Bell scored on a four-yard run with 55 seconds remaining. It ended a 79-yard drive in 11 plays.
A&M Consolidated will have an open date next week, while preparing for its Bi-District match, probably to be played on Friday night of the following week.