STORY BY TIM SCHNETTLER
Ft. Worth — Score fast, score often. That has been the modus operandi for the Navasota Rattlers this season and Friday night was no different.
Navasota, the top-ranked team in Class 4A-Division II, scored on its first five possessions of the game on its way to a 56-3 thumping of the Castleberry Lions (0-4) at W.O. Barnes Stadium in the Rattlers’ (5-0) final non-district contest.
“They did a great job because of the long road trip we thought we were going to get here late, but we got here way early so we were sitting in the dressing room for four hours before the game started,” Rattler head coach Lee Fedora said. “I thought our kids stayed focused.”
Running back Derrion Randle, who had another big night finishing with 126 yards on 11 carries, accounted for three touchdowns in the first half, rushing for a pair and adding another on his second touchdown reception of the season.
It was quarterback Shelton Eppler and receiver Davon Jernigan, however, who got the scoring started for the Rattlers. Jernigan put an end to a five-play drive when he laid out to make a diving catch at the goal line for a 10-yard touchdown pass less than two minutes into the game.
The next two times the Rattlers got the ball they had a short field to work with as they started both possessions inside the Castleberry 25-yard line.
The first drive started at the 22-yard line following a Jernigan punt return. Eppler capped the drive when he called his own number for a 2-yard touchdown run, his first touchdown run of the season.
Castleberry finally got a first down when it converted on a fourth down to give its sideline a lift. It was short-lived, however, as the Lions fumbled on the next play with Jabril Hunter scooping it up and returning it to the Castleberry 21-yard line.
The Rattlers wasted no time capitalizing when Randle scored from 6-yards out, the first of three consecutive scores by the senior. He added another rushing touchdown, this one covering 10-yards as the first-quarter clock ran out.
The final score of the half for the Rattlers came on a 19-yards screen pass from Eppler to Randle that made it 35-0.
The Rattlers had a chance to add to the lead later in the second quarter, but Michel Martinez’s 49-yard field goal fell just short.
Castleberry got on the scoreboard with 17 seconds left in the first half when Cirilo Castillo nailed a 27-yard field goal.
Navasota receiver Tren’Davion Dickson, who had a quite first half, made noise in the third quarter with a pair of touchdown receptions. The first was a 46-yarder from Eppler as Dickson flew past the defender to haul in the grab.
The next one came on a bit of trickery from the Rattlers on a fourth down play. Jernigan, went behind center and Eppler split out wide to the left side of the formation.
Jernigan took the snap and rolled to his right, making like he was looking for running room. At the last second he pulled up and let the ball fly, hitting a wide-open Dickson for a 58- yard touchdown pass.
Navasota capped the scoring on a highlight-reel 23-yard run by Jarvis Norman who broke multiple tackles on the way to his second touchdown of the season.
Eppler finished the night with three touchdown passes and 196 yards, while Dickson led the receivers with seven catches for 168 yards and the two touchdowns.
The Rattlers have a bye week before opening District 11-4A play on Oct. 10 on the road against Houston Sterling at Barnett Stadium.
NAVASOTA 56, CASTLEBERRY 3
First Downs 17 5
Rushes/Yards 27/217 45/116
Passing Yards 264 14
Total Yards 481 130
PC-PA-PI 21-32-1 1-5-1
Punts/Avg 0/0 8/38
Fumbles/Lost 1/1 1/1
Penalties/Yards 6/69 6/65
NAVASOTA 28 7 14 7 — 56
CASTLEBERRY 0 3 0 0 — 3
N — Davon Jernigan 10 pass from Shelton Eppler (Michel Martinez kick) 10:03
N — Eppler 2 run (Martinez kick) 7:18
N — Derrion Randle 6 run (Martinez kick) 3:27
N — Randle 10 run (Martinez kick) :00
N — Randle 19 pass from Eppler. (Martinez kick) 8:51
C — Cirilo Castillo 27 FG :17
N — Tren’Davion Dickson 46 pass from Eppler (Martinez kick) 9:08
N — Dickson 58 pass from Jernigan (Martinez kick) 3:52
N — Jarvis Norman 23 run (Martinez kick) 5:27
Top rushers: N: Randle 11-126 2 TDS
Top passers: N: Eppler 19-30-196 3 TDs
Top receivers: N: Dickson 7-168 2 TDs; Jerbrell Lipscomb 6-94