BY JORDAN MESEROLE
BRYAN – If there’s one player the Rudder Rangers might not have looked forward to for the past three years, it’s Elgin Wildcats quarterback Te’Rel Simmons.
Now in his senior season, Simmons rushed for 143 yards and three touchdowns in leading Elgin to a 49-3 rout of the Rangers on Friday night at Merrill Green Stadium in Bryan.
It’s the third year in a row that Simmons has lead the Wildcats to a large victory over the Rangers.
And not to be outdone, sibling Da’Trean Simmons added another 49 yards on the ground as well as an additional three rushing touchdowns in the win.
Things got under way early in the game, when after a large kickoff return, the Wildcats went up on the scoreboard first less than 50 seconds into the game, on a 21-yard touchdown run by Da’Trean.
Rudder – showcasing a new running back on Anthony Veal and quarterback of Brady batten – showed early signs of promise on the first possession, but was forced to punt after seven plays. An errant snap that went over senior punter Hayden Baron’s head was recovered by the Wildcats on the five yard line.
And then it only took Te’Rel two attempts to dash six yards into the end zone with 8:20 left in the first quarter, pushing Elgin’s lead to 14-0.
The Wildcat brothers traded off scores one more time each, with Da’Trean diving in from one yard out with 9:53 left in the second quarter, and Te’Rel adding another rushing touchdown of 15 yards with 6:10 left before the half, pushing the Elgin lead to 28-0.
Rudder’s offense struggled to get moving, going three and out on its next three possessions in the first half after the botched punt attempt. But with 5:59 in the second quarter was able to string together a decent six-play drive that resulted in a 17-yard field goal by junior Eric Hausman, putting Rudder’s deficit at 29-3.
Just a little over two minutes later, Elgin would respond right back, adding another rushing touchdown from Da’Trean from five yards out, moving the halftime score to 35-3.
Rudder’s offensive woes continued in the second half, only mustering up 22 total yards of offense, and was forced to punt on all of its second half possessions. Elgin’s strong running game continued, as the Wildcats added 170 more rushing yards and two more touchdowns, one from Te’Rel in the third quarter and one from junior running back Jordan Smith in the fourth quarter.
On the night, Elgin racked up 314 rushing yards on 51 attempts, compared to Rudder’s 67 rush yards on 27 attempts. Elgin didn’t try an air-attack at all, only attempt eight passes, and Rudder’s Batten tried to find comfortability in his first game under center but looked as if he was still figuring out timing with his receivers, only attempting 12 passes and completing four.
Veal finished the night as the top rusher for Rudder, racking up 58 yards on 15 carries.
Rudder hits the road for the next two weeks, and will attempt to get back on track against El Campo on September 6 before entering district play against Magnolia on September 13.