STORY BY: BOB WRIGHT
COLLEGE STATION – Nothing is taken for granted in these days of high-octane offenses and often overworked defenses.
Deja vous ya’all! Remember last week’s 44-41 come from behind win at Copperas Cove a week ago when the Cove was favored by seven over the A&M Consolidated Tigers? The ending of Friday night’s game in the home opener at Tigerland might not have been quite as exciting and unbelievable as last week’s kickoff return, but the results were the same – 44-41, the Tigers in front of the Midway Panthers, who were favored by seven points by the Harris Rating System.
A&M Consolidated’s offense came out of the chutes, snortin’ fire and brimstone to fashion an almost unbelievable lead, 28-7, at the end of the first quarter, then added to the Panthers’ misery early in the second period by bolting in front 34-7.
Midway, which belted Bryan High 34-7 a week earlier to start the season, began a comeback at Tigerland, as the Tigers’ offense for quite awhile couldn’t generate scoring offense, while the defense began to develop a few cracks and didn’t appear to be as crisp as it was early on.
However, the result in the final analysis proved to again be highly satisfactory to a “full audience” of Tiger fans who had every right to get a bit edgy when Midway pulled ahead by four points (41-37) with 6:38 to go in the game. Moments earlier, the Tigers, even with its momentary defensive lapses, seemed to be in control, but had fallen victim to that big Midway comeback, most of which occurred from the second quarter until Consol was able to hold on, made a comeback of its own, then had a pivotal defensive stand on Midway’s final possession.
Safety Corey Stoll, who went out with an injury in the Cove game a week earlier, was missed. But, sophomore Will Raffield filled in admirably for Stoll, and joined a cast of defensive characters which came up with defensive gems when the game was on the line during that final Midway possession. Among those turning in good defensive work when it mattered most were K.J. Dukes, Quin Haynes and Sherman Wilder in the secondary, linebacker Ryan Bevans, D.J. Jackson in the line, and defensive back Riley Garner, who zipped in for a first-quarter touchdown after scooping up a fumble. Derrick Dick, who scored the winning TD last week at the Cove, went out in the third period last night. He was found to have had cramping, but returned to the lineup a little later.
The Tigers scored on its first five possessions, including a Daniel Zivney 30-yard field goal. Zivney connected on all but one of his extra-point attempts.
Quarterback Kobe (sometime known as Gus) Miller gouged out a yard through the middle of the Panther defense to score the go-ahead score with 2:16 remaining. Zivney’s kick made it 44-41, allowing Tiger fans to temporarily breathe easier.
However, it didn’t seem all that easy due to the way Midway had been moving the football. The defense rose to the occasion, holding off the heretofore successful Panther passing attack. It was on a fourth-and-10 in Midway territory when Quin Haynes batted down a pass, giving Consolidated possession at the opponent’s 44 with a minute and 39 seconds left. Consol sustained some setbacks, principally due to penalties, forcing Zivney to punt. He got off his best kick, a 46-yarder, killed at the Midway three, with 14 seconds still to run off the clock. A muffed snap to Midway QB Ben Hicks, forced him to make an inaccurate pass as the final seconds ticked off.
A&M Consolidated wasted little time in getting its offense untracked and on the scoreboard. After receiving to begin the game, Consol was ahead 7-0 just a minute and 55 seconds deep. Kobe Miller, after faking to Brandon Jackson, hit Derrick Dick 15 yards downfield. Dick did the rest, outracing the Panther secondary the remaining 50 yards. Zivney’s kick made it 7-0.
Midway came back to deadlock it 7-7 at the 8:00 mark when Ben Hicks connected for 31 yards to wide receiver Cayson Buchle. Leo Peralta booted the extra point.
Consol scored four more times before Midway could strike again. Miller again drilled a payoff pass to Dick for 42 yards at 5:24 of the opening period. On that abbreviated drive, it took the Tigers 2:26 to score. Zivney kicked the point.
The defense scored when Garner picked up the fumble then zipped in on a 22-yard run. Zivney’s kick lifted the Tigers to a 21-7 advantage.
Brandon Jackson’s two-yard punch up the middle put Consol up 27-7. Zivney again hit the extra point with 53 seconds left in the first quarter.
The early-game woes continued for the visitors when Miller again found the mark, this one a 13-yard toss to Zivney. The score remained 34-7 when Zivney missed the extra-point kick when the Panthers blocked it.
Speedster Xavier Hailey raced 65 yards for Midway’s next score with 5:31 remaining in the half. The kick was good, leaving the score 34-14.
Then came Zivney’s 30-yard field goal; the score was 37-14.
Midway cut it to 37-20 on a 37-yard pass to Devontre Stricklin. Kick was no good.
In the third period, the Panthers continued to whittle away at the Tiger lead when Hailey scored again. Kick was good, leaving the score 37-27. After Consol missed a field goal, Midway came to within 37-34 on a 48-yard pass reception by Buchle. Peralta booted the point.
Hicks’ 68-yard pass-and-run to Hailey proved to be the catalyst for yet another Midway score which put the Panthers in the lead. The touchdown came on a 13-yarder from Hicks to Raydell Watley. Peralta’s kick made it 41-37.
Consol then began a drive which put the Tigers into the lead for good. Miller drilled an aerial to Brandon Jackson for 14 yards then hit Zivney for 24 to the two. Miller scored from the one and Zivney’s kick made it 44-41.
Then came those final frantic seconds and the defensive heroics which preserved the victory.
Derrick Dick’s great return yardage, both on punts and kickoffs, helped to set up the Consol offense with good field positions throughout the game.
Consol goes 2-0 with the victory over Terry Gambill’s Panthers, who now are 1-1 on the season. Midway plays North Crowley next week, while Coach David Raffield’s Tigers will prepare for another road trip, this one to Austin and a date with the Westlake Chaparrals.