STORY BY LARRY BOWEN
MISSOURI CITY — A&M Consolidated didn’t find a precious first victory against Fort Bend Elkins, but the Tigers believe they discovered something more important.
Consol football players and coaches think they found themselves during a 44-37 double-overtime loss to the ninth-ranked Knights on Saturday night at Ken Hall Stadium.
The Tigers saw their record drop to 0-3 but their confidence grow after standing toe-to-toe with Elkins and dazzling quarterback Jonathan Giles, who spoiled Consol’s upset bid by producing 366 yards and four touchdowns.
Consol coach David Raffield, who rarely gathers his team for postgame meetings on the field, made an exception after the Tigers’ last chance ended on an interception in the second overtime.
“I’m really proud of them,” Raffield said. “I wanted to tell them it’s the first time they’ve played like a real team this year and to keep their heads up. District’s up next, so we’re done with all the nonsense and we get to play ball that actually matters.”
The Tigers began the year ranked fourth in Class 5A and dropped out of the poll with losses to Copperas Cove and Richmond Foster. Consol will have an open date before starting District 18-5A play at Huntsville on Sept. 26.
Elkins, the top-ranked 5A team in the Houston area, improved to 3-0.
“I wouldn’t call it a loss,” Consol senior receiver Daniel Zivney said. “We went to two overtimes and they’re the best team in Houston. Our goal was to play four quarters, because we haven’t done that yet. We showed we can.”
Zivney helped send the game to a second overtime with a startling touchdown. Consol faced fourth-and-17 in the first extra session when junior quarterback Mason Hickson stepped up into a fierce rush and lofted a pass that Zivney grabbed for a 21-yard touchdown that made it 37-37.
Hickson delivered a huge performance. The left-hander completed 20 of 31 passes for 249 yards and four touchdowns. Hickson also ran for 38 important yards despite four sacks that lost 29 yards.
“He’s steadily gotten better and is learning how not only to manage the game, but he’s really doing a good job of distributing the ball and getting it into the playmakers’ hands,” Raffield said.
Consol senior receiver Derrick Dick, who has committed to sign with Texas-San Antonio, delivered two touchdowns among his eight receptions for 115 yards.
Giles, one of the state’s top dual-threat quarterbacks, has committed to sign with Texas Tech. The 6-foot, 185-pounder tormented the Tigers, rushing for 196 yards on 25 carries with four touchdowns and completing 17 of 24 passes for 170 yards.
The speedy quarterback was at his best in the first overtime. Elkins faced a fourth-and-1 when Giles attempted to call a timeout, which the Knights didn’t have. He got the shotgun snap off just before the play clock ran out and dashed 3 yards for a touchdown.
“[Giles] is special,” Raffield said. “I haven’t seen anybody like him in a few years. They have a good complementary group, but that cat … man, he can go.”
Giles carried his team in the second half and overtimes. He had 25 yards rushing on five carries at halftime, then dashed for 171 yards on 20 carries the rest of the way.
Giles, who scored the game-winning touchdown on a 1-yard run in the second overtime, had praise for the Tigers.
“A record is just a number,” Giles said. “You don’t determine how good you are until you show it on the field, and they are a very good team. My hat’s off to them.”
The Tigers didn’t trail in the second half. Consol got a short touchdown run from Armond Jones to extend its lead to 23-14 early in the third quarter. Elkins scored the next nine points, missing a chance to take the lead on a missed extra point early in the fourth quarter.
Consol responded with a stunning 34-yard touchdown pass from Hickson to Dick on third-and-16. However, Elkins pulled even with a 1-yard keeper by Giles that made it 30-30.
The Tigers’ subsequent possession ended at the Elkins 40 when Zivney was stopped on a fourth-and-2 run out of a punt formation with 2:02 left in regulation.
Elkins reached the Tiger 22, but Darren Woods missed a 39-yard field goal attempt on the last play of regulation.
The Tigers played a terrific first half, using an efficient short passing game and a defense that avoided its big-play problems to take a 16-14 lead at intermission.
Consol endured a rough start. A 58-yard touchdown run by Hickson on the opening possession was negated by a holding penalty, and Elkins marched 85 yards on nine plays to take a 7-0 lead.
Zivney boomed a 61-yard punt to the Elkins 3 that set up Consol’s first score. Senior linebacker Bryce Florence got penetration on a sweep and junior linebacker Will Vaughn tackled Aidan Edison in the end zone for a safety that made it 7-2.
The Tigers took the lead after Dick returned the ensuing free kick 50 yards to the Knights’ 35. On fourth-and-goal from the 2, Consol gambled and saw it pay off when Hickson went left on and option play and, while still behind the line of scrimmage, pitched forward to Tyri Merchant for a touchdown pass.
Elkins responded by driving 75 yards in 13 plays, with Giles going 7 for 7 and scrambling for 14 yards on a key third down. Kahlif Smith’s 1-yard plunge gave the Knights a 14-9 lead.
Consol didn’t blink, zipping 64 yards to go back ahead. Hickson started and finished the drive with completions to Dick, who got loose on an out route for a 6-yard score to push the Tigers ahead 16-14.
Courtesy of the B/CS Eagle