STORY BY LARRY BOWEN
The College Station football team came up with answers whenever Elgin got too close, whether it was on the scoreboard or to the line of scrimmage.
College Station used big plays on offense and special teams to pull away from the Wildcats 51-34 in a nondistrict game at Cougar Stadium on Friday night.
Quarterback Cole Whittlesey hooked up with Jeremiah Booker on three touchdown passes and ran for another score, and Quinterrian White rushed for 152 yards and two big touchdowns. Special teams and defense got into the act, too, as Chris Sennette returned a kickoff 81 yards for a momentum-swinging touchdown, and the defense produced two turnovers and a fourth-down stop that led to scores.
The Cougars (2-1) returned from an open date to record their second consecutive victory. College Station will play the program’s first district football game next week when the Cougars start District 18-5A action at Willis.
Elgin (1-3) didn’t make things easy on the Cougars. Quarterback Kyle Snell ran for 197 yards and threw a touchdown pass as the Wildcats finished with more yards (528-456) and first downs (25-17) than College Station.
The Cougars never trailed, however. Elgin had a chance to go ahead midway through the second quarter after a Jordan Smith touchdown pulled the visitors within 14-13. The Wildcats lined up to go for two points, but the shotgun snap got away from Smith and was scooped up by linebacker Mark Wagner, who returned the fumble about 90 yards for two points and a 16-13 College Station lead.
On the ensuing kickoff, junior running back Sennette weaved through traffic in front of the Cougars bench and picked up a couple of key blocks on an 81-yard touchdown return. College Station scored nine points in 14 seconds to lead 23-13.
“I’ve never seen an extra point returned for two and then turn around and return the kickoff for a touchdown,” College Station coach Steve Huff said. “It was tight, but that gave us a little breathing room.”
Elgin got close again on Smith’s touchdown run that capped a 12-play, 73-yard drive. The Wildcats pulled within 23-20 with 1:22 left in the half, but again College Station answered.
White started and finished an efficient 74-yard drive with nice runs, including an 18-yard touchdown after a couple of key scrambles by Whittlesey.
In the fourth quarter White had another response, breaking loose on a 34-yard touchdown run after Elgin pulled within 37-26.
“I’m glad to get [White] rolling,” Huff said. “They were up in the box so tight and there were a couple of creases we thought we could hit. Quinterrian squirted through a couple of times for some nice runs.”
The senior passing combination of Booker and Whittlesey also made Elgin pay for crowding the line of scrimmage on defense. Whittlesey and Booker hooked up on scoring passes of 3, 42 and 25 yards. Whittlesey completed 9 of 21 passes for 168 yards, while Booker caught six for 119 yards.
“Jeremiah is just a beast,” Whittlesey said. “It’s nice to have that kind of a guy to rely on. All my receivers make me look good. That’s what I love about them.”
Booker’s first touchdown came after an interception by linebacker Kaleb Miears.
Elgin scored late in the first quarter to forge a 7-7 tie. The Cougars took the lead for good on the 42-yarder, when Whittlesey withstood a roughing-the-passer penalty to loft a perfect strike to Booker as he dashed past the cornerback. The touchdown was set up by a Danny Barrientos fumble recovery.
The Cougars started the second half strong, zipping 60 yards in three plays capped by runs of 34 and 15 yards by Whittlesey.
Elgin began to self-destruct on its next three possessions. The Wildcats had a 37-yard touchdown run wiped out by holding and got nothing out of a promising drive. Elgin next settled for a field goal after another touchdown was negated for holding.
The Wildcats’ last good chance to climb into the game came early in the fourth quarter. Elgin recovered a White fumble but gave the ball back to the Cougars at the end of the return, setting up White’s 34-yard score.
“The big plays got us,” Elgin coach James Garfield said. “That’s a good football team and coach Huff has them rolling. You can’t make mistakes like we did and give a team like that opportunities.”
Courtesy of the B/CS Eagle