STORY BY LARRY BOWEN
COLLEGE STATION – A&M Consolidated showed impressive uphill climbing ability against Richmond Foster, but then a mountain fell on the Tigers and there was no digging out.
Consol scored three consecutive touchdowns to transform a 14-point deficit into a third-quarter lead, but the Falcons turned the game around with three huge plays on the way to a 41-21 victory on Friday night at Tigerland Stadium.
The Tigers (0-2) were impressive turning a 14-0 deficit into a 21-14 lead, but Foster owned the last quarter and a half of Consol’s home opener. The Falcons (2-0) used two long touchdown passes and a back-breaking interception return for a touchdown to seize command.
“It’s a disappointing loss,” Consol coach David Raffield said. “I thought we would have played better in the second half.”
The Falcons faded late in the opening half, then threw an interception and allowed Consol a long scoring drive to start the third quarter. However, Foster shook off those missteps and found another gear to rocket past the Tigers.
“This is a signature win for our program to beat a team like this tonight,” Foster coach Sean McDowell said. “We never doubted. We believed the whole time that we were going to big-play them [offensively] and that we were going to play great defense. When the momentum came to us we never let it go.”
The Tigers appeared to take hold of the momentum after scoring two late touchdowns in the first half then grabbing their first lead with a strong start to the second half. Consol’s TJ Raniszeski intercepted a pass on the first possession of the third quarter, and the Tigers marched 88 yards to score.
Mason Hickson threw a 20-yard touchdown pass to freshman Cade Williams, giving Consol a 21-14 advantage that lasted just 88 seconds.
Foster zipped 75 yards in four plays, with senior quarterback Trevor Parker throwing a 56-yard touchdown pass to junior Evan Fairs.
The Falcons forced a punt then flew 76 yards in two plays. Parker and Fairs hooked up on a 74-yard scoring pass, putting the visitors ahead to stay at 28-21.
Consol’s defense improved considerably after giving up 854 yards in a 62-38 loss against Copperas Cove, but the Tigers remained vulnerable to big plays, particularly through the air. Parker’s four touchdown passes covered 65, 32, 56 and 74 yards as he finished 10 of 23 for 322 yards.
“That was just straight technique mistakes,” Raffield said of Foster’s third-quarter touchdown passes. “It’s frustrating, but one of these days we’re going to cover all those routes. Our inexperience is showing. You can’t rush kids developing. I know what they can do, and I know what we’ll be. It’s just frustrating getting there.”
The Tigers were in position to get even after the third-quarter stumble. Consol cut Foster’s lead to 28-21 when Daniel Zivney ran out of punt formation on the fourth quarter’s first play to give the Tigers a first down at the Foster 45-yard line.
On the next play, Hickson overthrew his intended receiver and was intercepted by safety Andrew Martel, who had to wear No. 5 because his usual No. 12 jersey didn’t reach Tigerland Stadium. Martel, who has committed to sign with Texas-San Antonio, sprinted 65 yards for a devastating touchdown that put Foster ahead 35-21.
“That was the nail in the coffin in my opinion,” McDowell said. “I think that took all the wind out of their sails.”
Martel intercepted two passes, spoiling a decent night for Hickson, who was making his second varsity start. The junior quarterback completed 17 of 29 passes for 198 yards and rushed for 59 yards on 11 carries, most of them scrambles.
The Tigers produced a stunning halftime tie after Foster jumped to a 14-0 lead.
Hickson’s ill-advised throw set up an interception that led to the Falcons’ second touchdown. On the ensuing possession, Hickson hooked up with David Gan for 18 yards on third-and-12 to spark the drive. Three plays later on third-and-four, Hickson threw a short pass to Gan. Safety Patrick Rosette tried to make the tackle, but Gan rolled on top of the defender and regained his feet, sprinting away for a 51-yard touchdown.
Consol got the ball back at its own 11-yard line with 4:40 remaining in the half. The Tigers were pushed back to the 5 with a run for a loss and a penalty, but Hickson found Williams for 26 yards on a smart play, continuing after flags flew when Foster jumped offside. Hickson and Gan connected for a pair of passes that produced first downs, with the second coming immediately after Foster defensive back Justin Reed dropped what looked like a sure interception that would have turned into a touchdown.
Tyri Merchant slashed through the middle for 24 yards to give Consol a first down at the 12. Facing third-and-six, Hickson took a quarterback draw up the middle and weaved through traffic for an 8-yard touchdown that made it 14-14.
Courtesy of the B/CS Eagle