STORY BY JORDAN MESEROLE
WALLER – For the Rudder Rangers 2013 season, they just can’t seem to catch a break.
When the offense works, the defense struggles. When the offense can’t find the end zone, the Rangers hold strong against opponents drives.
The same was the case Friday night in Waller, as the Ranger defense strung together some nice stands but the Rudder offense was held out of the end zone all night, as Waller cruised to a 17-3 victory.
It was a huge improvement for the Rudder defense that had been allowing 44 points per game and close to 400 total yards per game, but wasn’t complimented by an equally impressive performance by the offense that only mustered 37 rushing yards in the second half.
The Rangers (0-7, 0-5) defense set the standard on the first Waller (2-4, 2-2) drive of the game, forcing the Bulldogs to kick a 23-yard field goal at the end of a 12-play drive. And on the next Waller offensive possession, the Rudder defense forced a turnover on downs standing strong on a fourth and four situation.
Comparatively, the Rudder offense never found its tempo, coughing up a fumble on its first offensive possession, and then being forced to punt two consecutive times on the next two drives including a three-and-out that only allowed the Rudder defense to rest for one minute and seven seconds.
Waller extended its lead to 10-0 with 7:39 in the second quarter on a 16-yard touchdown run by Bulldog sophomore running back Detric Gardner.
Determined not to be shutout, the Rudder offense finally came alive on the last drive of the first half, stringing together a nice 10 play drive resulting in a 17-yard field goal by junior kicker Eric Hausman with 0:11 left in the second quarter.
It would be the last productive drive for the Rangers on the night however.
Waller controlled the ball and play clock in the second half using a combo running attack, only attempting four total passes in the third and fourth quarters compared to 28 rushing attempts. Waller tallied up 254 rushing yards on the night, led by sophomore running back Eric Wright who had 90 yards on the ground and junior quarterback Tyron Taylor who added another 75.
Waller would put the game out of reach in the fourth quarter, adding one more rushing touchdown with 8:39 left in the game by Gardner, this score coming from 6 yards out and ensuring the 17-3 victory.
Rudder sophomore running back Jamall Collins had an impressive debut for the Rangers, Grabbing 65 yards on 17 carries, ending the night as the lead rusher for the Rangers. Rudder only compiled 101 rushing yards in the game. The Rangers will attempt to get one win in their column next Friday, when the team returns home to face district 18-4A rival Brenham at Merril Green Stadium in Bryan.