STORY BY DAVID CAMPBELL
COLLEGE STATION – A&M Consolidated scored on every possession in the second half except one.
Thanks to Cal Malone.
With the Tigers nearing the goal line and trying to cut the Vikings’ lead to five points, the junior free safety saw something he liked — a way to end Bryan’s frustration. Malone got a long look at Consol quarterback Mason Hickson, made a break for the ball and intercepted Hickson’s pass to clinch the 56-44 victory Friday at Tigerland Stadium, venting his school’s long-running disappointment with a leaping celebration.
It was same kind of play that so often had been Consol’s ace in the hole against Bryan, the crucial big play that the Vikings could not overcome.
Through nine consecutive years of losses to Tigers, the Vikings thought there was a screw loose — but only that one screw. Most of their meetings came down to a key turnover that turned the tide in favor of Consol.
And in the first Crosstown Showdown played at Tigerland Stadium, those types of plays seemed to be lurking around the corner, but instead of a loose screw, the Vikings went nuts and bolts to get their first win in the rivalry matchup since 2004.
“Nuts and bolts keeps the machine together, and that’s what we’re doing,” Bryan coach Ross Rogers said.
Rogers built his reputation with offenses that liked to show some flash, but he also built it with winning Consol teams. Now he has one at Bryan (4-1, 3-0), and after two tough seasons with the Vikings, he’ll gladly skip on the style points for the Ws.
“It means so much because we’ve worked hard for three years,” Rogers said. “I’ve never had a group of kids that has committed as much as these kids, and the last two years, it really hasn’t reflected that. You’ve got to keep working.”
Current Viking players were barely school age the last time their predecessors in blue and white won this game.
“It means a lot of the Bryan people,” said junior quarterback B.J. Ross, who passed, ran and finally kneeled away the victory. “To be the class and the first quarterback to lead this team to a win in nine years feels great. Ten years is a long time. We came out with a sense of urgency, ready to win.”
Bryan played like a train at full stream headed downhill from the opening kickoff. By the end of the first quarter, the Vikings had 152 yards. Consol, which hardly touched the football while the Bryan hogged it, had lost 18 yards.
At halftime, the Vikings led 35-13 and seemed as though they would not be challenged.
Consol’s Tyri Merchant ran with a renewed purpose in the second half, finishing with 280 rushing yards. Receivers Derrick Dick and Daniel Zivney infused high-energy plays into the Tigers’ attack. And Hickson, who had ankle injury a week ago, masterfully directed a comeback.
Other than forcing a field goal, Bryan didn’t get second-half stops. But the Vikings also didn’t get stopped.
Johnson was the engine on the Vikings’ train that could not be derailed. He rushed for 338 yards and six touchdowns, giving him 633 yards and 11 TDs in the last two weeks.
“We’re finally the class that broke the streak, and it’s a good feeling,” Johnson said. “We play with heart and were together. Nuts and bolts.”
Which held the Vikings together.
“The Tigers showed what kind of team they have in the second half, but we had to keep showing it [too],” Rogers said. “When they got the momentum, we wouldn’t let them keep it.”
And instead of Consol’s perfect 10, Bryan’s night finished at No. 1.
Story courtesy of the B/CS Eagle