STORY BY BOB WRIGHT
WACO – Amidst a rain, temperatures in the low 30s and a wind chill in the mid-20s, the A&M Consolidated defense, known affectionately as the “Tiger D,” was hot Friday night at Baylor’s Floyd Casey Stadium.
Revenge? How sweet it was as the Tigers avenged an early-season loss to Austin’s Westlake Chaparrals. And you might throw in last year’s embarrassment at the Waco ISD Stadium when the Chaps ushered Consol right out of the playoffs. So, call it double revenge, but throw the kudos to Consolidated’s defense which shut down the Chaparrals 41-16 in the Area playoffs.
The victory pushed Consol’s season record to 9-2, while the Chaparrals ended their season at 7-5. The 5-A Division II win punched yet another ticket for the Tigers, who are due to face the winner of today’s Longview-McKinney Boyd game in the Regional Quarterfinals round. The game is set for next Saturday afternoon at 2:30 in Midlothian Panther Stadium.
While the defense came through in flying colors, Coach David Raffield’s offense also shone well with 463 yards of total offense while registering 26 first downs. Kobe Miller connected on 22 passes while trying 32. Derrick Dick, out of the halfback pass scheme, failed to hit on two tries. Consol did not suffer an interception, although Quin Haynes picked a Westlake aerial at the 6:20 mark of the fourth quarter.
While Consolidated played errorless ball, Westlake sustained two turnovers. In addition to the pick, the Tigers’ Patrick Medlock recovered a Chaparral fumble at the Westlake 32 with 1:54 to go in the opening quarter.
Part of the Tigers’ usual high profile offense got its usual boost from wide receiver Kerry Thomas, who went over the 1,100 mark in reception yardage with eight catches for 110 yards and one touchdown. Miller hit Derrick Dick for another score, and quick, hard-running Brandon Thomas scored three touchdowns in the onslaught to bury the Chaps. The other points tacked onto the scoreboard were a couple of field goals by Ryan Anderson, who was perfect with five-for-five extra-point kicks.
Consol and Westlake traded field goals in the first quarter which ended at 3-3. Consolidated began to put some scoring distance between it and the Chaps with two touchdowns and another field goal to lead 20-3 by halftime. A couple of more TDs and Consol led 34-10 after three periods.
Forcing some 3-and-outs while the Chaparrals tried frantically to climb back into the battle, it was the Tiger D which turned up the heat on Waco’s cold night. Offensive Coordinator Dale Williams and his “students” flexed their muscles and quickness to stifle any hope the Austin club entertained toward making a comeback. While forcing the Chaps to punt more than they would like to have done, Westlake was stopped twice while trying to get a first on fourth downs. Linebackers Riley Garner and K.J. Dukes, defensive backs Corey Stoll, Quin Haynes and Sherman Wilder had some key sticks against the Chap offense. D.J. Jackson and Alex Arseneaux earned their spurs in the defensive line.
With time running out, the Tigers passed up another scoring opportunity with a show of sportsmanship at the Chaparral five. Mason Hickman had come in at quarterback, and pitched to Tyri Merchant, who ran for 37 yards to the five. Hickson took the old knee as the final second ticked off.
Another bouquet is chunked in the direction of Offensive Coordinator Brian Cope, who has the knack of dialing up the right number which gobbles up lots of real estate with some fast and savvy runners. Most of the time, the airlanes also prove friendly to the Tigers, providing quick an offensive blend to put up points.
Consolidated received to start the game, but in one of the Tigers’ rare moments, the opening possession produced nothing but a punt. Westlake took its only lead of the game in its initial possession with a 33-yard field goal by Dalen Nelson at the 5:11 mark of the opening period. Including the field goal, the Chaps had nine plays in the abbreviated drive set up by a long punt return to the Consol 30. In a way, the Tiger D strutted its stuff in holding the visitors to the three points.
Consol, on its second possession, deadlocked the score with a Ryan Anderson 32-yard field goal. It was the 10th play of the drive which started on the Consol 48.
In the second quarter, Consol, facing fourth and seven at the Tiger 46, had to earn respect for the Consol defense which stopped the Chaps on a fourth-down pass play.
Brandon Jackson scored his first of two second-period touchdowns with a nine-yard run five seconds deep into the quarter. Anderson’s kick made it 10-3. The score had been set up with Medlock’s fumble recovery at the Chaparral 32. The drive took seven plays.
On a fourth-and-five from the Consol 21, Westlake’s 38-yard field goal attempt was no good.
With 6:22 remaining in the half, Jackson scooted off right tackle to score from the two. The pivotal plays in the nine-play, 54-yard drive were Miller’s 10-yard pass to Thomas, his pass to Dick for nine, and Jackson’s 13-yard run to the two, from where he scored. Anderson again drilled the extra point, raising the margin to 17-3.
Closing out first-half scoring, Anderson’s 30-yard field goal with 20 seconds left, made it 20-3. Some key plays in that drive were Miller passes to Dick for 17 yards and two to Thomas – for 13 and 11 yards.
After halftime, Westlake closed the gap to 20-10 with its first touchdown at the 6:40 mark. It came on a 14-play, 75-yard march, culminated with an 11-yard pass from quarterback Jordan Chavert to Alex Chavez from the Consol 11. Dalen Nelson booted the extra point.
It didn’t require much time for A&M Consolidated to respond. With 5:46 remaining in the third quarter, Kobe Miller’s pass to Derrick Dick produced a touchdown covering 66 yards. Anderson kicked the point, raising the score to 27-10 after a four-play, 83-yard drive.
Consol went ahead 34-10 with 2:54 left in the period on a 10-yard pass from Miller to Daniel Zivney and another Anderson extra point. The score came on the fifth play of a 68-yard march.
Quin Haynes’ interception served as a catalyst for the final Consolidated score, a Brandon Jackson 55-yard run, his 21st touchdown of the season. Anderson nailed the extra point. The two-play drive of 64 yards came with five minutes to play, with the Tigers in front 41-10.
The Chaparrals had one last flutter which came with 2:30 to go, when Chavez scored from the three, ending a 70-yard drive on eight plays. A pass failed on the two-point conversion try.