STORY BY TIM SCHNETTLER
NAVASOTA — The Navasota Rattlers had no problem with the Caldwell Hornets on Friday night, scoring on all six first-half possessions en route to a 56-7 victory at Rattler Stadium on Senior Night.
Quarterback Shelton Eppler threw four touchdown passed and LaMarquis Jefferson rushed for three as Navasota assured itself of a berth in the state playoffs and at least a share of the District 18-3A championship.
A victory in the season finale next week at Taylor would give the Rattlers the outright district title, while a loss, combined with a Rockdale victory would throw the district into a three-way tie.
“We don’t want to share anything, it is our goal to be the outright champion,” Rattler head coach Lee Fedora said. “We have a goal in front of us to win the outright championship for four years in a row.
“Anytime you go on the road it is tough. We have a goal to go over there and take care of business.”
The Rattlers (8-1 overall, 3-0 in 18-3A) took care of their business against the Hornets (1-7, 0-3), never giving Caldwell, which was winless in district play, any hope of pulling off the upset.
Navasota scored less than two minutes into the game, and scored three times in the first quarter, needing just 11 offensive snaps to accomplish the fete.
Navasota’s offense rolled up 530 total yards (288 rushing, 242 passing), while its defense limited Caldwell to a total of 180 (85 rushing, 95 passing).
“I was proud of the way our kids came out and played,” Fedora said. “Our tempo was great.”
Derrion Randle started the scoring with a 4-yard run to cap a 4-play, 58-yard drive and the Eppler threw the first of his four touchdown passes on the night when he connected with Willie Creeks for a 31-yard score.
Eppler then hit Jerbrell Lipscomb on a 17-yard screen pass for a touchdown that made it 21-0 Rattlers with 3:45 left in the first quarter.
Jefferson scored the first of his three touchdowns at 11:11 mark of the second quarter when he went in from 8-yards out to cap an 8-play 48-yard drive that pushed the Rattlers’ lead to 28-0.
Lipscomb caught his second touchdown pass of the night, this one covering 33 yards and then Tren’Davion Dickson hauled in a 5-yard score from Eppler that made it 42-0 Rattlers heading into the half.
The third quarter belonged to Jefferson, who finished with 127 yards on 8 carries, as he posted touchdown runs of 18 and 78 yards to close out the scoring for the Rattlers.
Caldwell got its only points of the night with just under three minutes left in the game when the Hornets went on an 18-play, 66-yard drive that was capped by a 1-yard run from Jacob Kovar.
The Rattlers will close out the regular season next Friday at Taylor. The game can be heard live on Navasota News 1550 beginning with the pregame show at 7 p.m.