BY TIM SCHNETTLER
NAVASOTA — It didn’t seem to be a question of if the Navasota Rattlers would win Friday night, it was more a question of by how much?
The Rattlers scored on each of the six possessions in the first half as they rolled to an 83-0 victory over the undermanned Houston Sterling Raiders on Homecoming night at Rattler Stadium.
“I don’t like scores getting that way,” Navasota head coach Lee Fedora said. “They [Sterling] have a classy program. He [Sterling head coach Dwayne Colbert] liked that our kids were flying around and playing hard and he felt that made his team a better team.”
With the victory, the third-ranked Rattlers improved to 3-0 on the season. In the process they extended their winning streak to 19 straight games dating back to the start of the 2012 season. The streak is the longest current winning streak in the state.
Navasota ran just 19 plays in the first half, but when your longest scoring drive is just five plays, you probably aren’t going to run a lot of plays.
Quarterback Shelton Eppler was masterful in the first half, completing 7-of-10 passes for 153 yards and five touchdown passes to five different players.
Eppler and Tren’Davion Dickson started things with a 10-yard scoring pass and then two minutes later Eppler found Deionnte Taylor on a 42-yard scoring strike to make it 14-0.
Eppler and Jerbrell Lipscomb connected on a 20-yard touchdown pass before tailback Derrion Randle got in on the action with a 55-yard scoring run. Eppler concluded the first quarter with a 47-yard touchdown pass to Sammy Blair. The extra point was blocked, putting the Rattlers up 34-0 heading into the second quarter.
The onslaught continued in the second quarter, with three more Rattler touchdowns, two on the ground and one in the air. Randle scored for the second time going in from 17-yards out and then LaMarquis Jefferson scored on a 35-yard run.
Eppler capped the half with a shovel pass to Christian Taylor, who turned it into a 73-yard touchdown. Navasota finished the half with 365 total yards (213 rushing and 152 passing).
Navasota’s defense, which has been outstanding in the first two games this season, continued its stellar play allowing Sterling just one first down and -8 yards on 23 plays. The first down came on the last play of the first half.
It didn’t take long for the lead to increase when Jefferson returned the opening kick of the second half 79 yards for a touchdown.
The Rattlers added two more offensive scores — a 63-yard run by D.J. Harris and a 27-yard run by Dean Gessner — before the defense closed out the scoring when LaDarius Roberson recovered a fumble in the end zone.
Navasota’s offense finished with 487 total yards, while Sterling managed just 13 yards.
The Rattlers take to the road next week when they travel to Lexington to take on the Eagles. The game can be heard on Navasota News 1550 with the pregame starting at 7 p.m.