BY BOB WRIGHT
COLLEGE STATION – The A&M Consolidated Tigers, after fashioning a 3-1 record and 1-0 in District 24-5A, met a determined Highlanders’ defense from the Woodlands Friday night before a virtual full house on Homecoming at Tigerland. However, things didn’t go according to script so far as the Tigers were concerned.
The Tigers had their offensive juggernaut clicking a week ago in the big district game at Lufkin, outscoring the Panthers 42-41. Last night, big-time consistency was somehow missing as the Tigers sputtered at opportune times while dropping a 24-7 decision to the visiting Highlanders.
Two fourth-quarter interceptions by The Woodlands didn’t help matters for Coach David Raffield’s Tigers, who seemed out of kilter for much of the night. A&M Consolidated had its defensive moments, stopping the Highlanders twice on fourth-down plays, but in the final analysis, big chunks of yardage by Patrick Carr and Sterling Scott, and hard-running, quick quarterback Chris Andritsos kept The Woodlands’ drives alive time and again.
Things started out fine for the home-standing club as the defense was holding a high-scoring Woodlands team which thrashed Conroe 56-2 a week earlier. The Tigers bolted in front 7-0 on its second possession when Koby Miller threaded the needle to wide receiver Kerry Thomas on a 13-yard score with 7:11 remaining in the opening period and Daniel Zivney drilled the extra point. The scoring drive of 73 yards needed only five plays. Nobody thought that was the only score the Tigers would get all night.
The Highlanders narrowed the gap with a 32-yard field goal, leaving it 7-3, a minute and 51 seconds deep into the second period.
The Woodlands took the lead later in the period on a one-yard run by QB Chris Andritsos, and held the halftime lead of 10-7 with 12 seconds left before the half. The scoring drive covered 80 yards in 10 plays.
After a scoreless third quarter, The Woodlands put the final icing on the football cake with a 13-0 run in the closing period. Those two touchdowns, coupled with the two interceptions, left little time for a Tiger comeback, thus sealing a disappointing loss.
The final Highlanders touchdown sealed the deal after The Woodlands’ second interception. The score came on a 26-yard pass from Andritsos to Chris Bell with 3:29 to go. Rhett Pruitt booted the extra point.
The Woodlanders had put in a “Nickel Package” defense in an effort to shut down the wide-open Tiger offensive machine. After halftime, the strategy worked, while keeping Consolidated’s offensive machine a bit off plumb. One such occasion came on the Tigers’ initial possession when they went on a fourth-and-one situation. Nearly everybody in the stadium felt as if there was a bad spot on the measurement. Derrick Dick had set the Tigers up in good field position – at the 49 on a 49-yard kickoff return. Then came that ill-fated fourth-down try.
Consol even got some good mileage from its third possession of the ball when Miller hit Brandon Jackson for a 10-yarder then hitting Kerry Thomas for 24 yards on a down-and-out pattern. However, the drive was not sustained, forcing a Tiger punt in the first period.
The Tigers had some good defensive moments with some notable stops made by K.J. Dukes, D.J. Jackson, Dustin Harris, Clint Hollis, Ryan Bevans and Tristan Batts.
Consol is now 3-2 for the season with four more games to go. The Tigers are 1-1 in district play. The Woodlands improve to 4-2 with a 2-0 mark in district.
Koby (Gus) Miller lofted 35 passes and completed 26, but the two interceptions hurt. The Woodlands completed eight passes in 20 attempts, but its punishing ground game moved the chains 22 times for first downs. Consol registered 17 firsts. Each team lost a fumble.
The Tigers get ready for a date at Kyle Field next Friday night in the annual big crosstown shootout with the Bryan Vikings.