RUNNING INTO A WALL: Temple senior linebacker Taurean York (5) and junior nose tackle Ayden Brown (bottom) combine to knock down a Bryan ball carrier during the visiting Wildcats' 53-19 victory over the Vikings in last Friday's District 12-6A opener at Merrill Green Stadium. Baylor commitment York led Temple (3-2) with 11 tackles and two sacks and forced an interception that senior end Julian White (28) returned 6 yards for a touchdown. The Wildcats host first-time opponent Pflugerville Weiss (2-3, 0-1) in a 12-6A duel at 7:30 Friday night at Wildcat Stadium. (Photo by Mike Lefner, Temple ISD/Special to




Total yards gained/

average per game

Killeen Shoemaker 2,210/442.0 (1,239 rush/971 pass)

Lake Belton 2,010/402.0 (926 rushing, 1,084 passing)

Harker Heights 1,810/362.0 (1,146 rushing, 664 passing)

Temple 1,749/349.8 (616 rushing, 1,133 passing)

Belton 1,656/331.2 (622 rushing, 1,034 passing)

Copperas Cove 1,229/307.3 (759 rushing, 470 passing)

Killeen Ellison 743/185.8 (200 rushing, 543 passing)


Total yards allowed/

average per game

Temple 1,675/335.0 (946 rushing, 729 passing)

Lake Belton 1,734/346.8 (835 rushing, 899 passing)

Belton 1,855/371.0 (1,041 rushing, 814 passing)




(Minimum: 75 yards)

Carries, yards, touchdowns

Re’Shaun Sanford II, Harker Heights 133 913 5

Craig Brown, Copperas Cove 71 520 5

Jamarius Stewart, Killeen Shoemaker 67 406 5

Deshaun Brundage, Temple 79 388 1

Shaun Snapp, Belton 56 356 6

Jerrod Hicks, Killeen Shoemaker 54 347 5

Tristan Robin, Lake Belton 37 250 2

D’Arius Wilkerson, Lake Belton 44 238 3

Malachi Jerome, Killeen Shoemaker 39 210 0

Connor Crews, Lake Belton 37 206 5

X’Zavion Smith, Killeen Shoemaker 28 188 3

LJ Underwood, Belton 51 140 2

Micah Hudson, Lake Belton 14 130 1

Aimeer Washington, Harker Heights 31 116 3

Jervonnie Williams, Temple 18 108 0

Jay Burrola, Belton 20 102 0

Markis Nash, Copperas Cove 23 98 1

Emory Watson, Killeen Ellison 20 94 0

Floyd Bristol, Lake Belton 14 90 0




yards, touchdowns

Reese Rumfield, Temple 62-129-3 1,133 11

Connor Crews, Lake Belton 70-116-2 1,083 16

Ty Brown, Belton 66-129-4 1,034 9

Malachi Jerome, Killeen Shoemaker 65-101-2 958 9

Dylan Plake, Harker Heights 42-85-7 664 6

Gabriel Rodriguez, Copperas Cove 34-76-1 408 6

Sidney Holland Jr., Killeen Ellison 24-63-1 323 3

Xavier Dormeus, Killeen Ellison 8-14-0 151 1

Amonte Allen, Killeen Ellison 3-5-0 69 1

Blaine Butler, Copperas Cove 5-14-1 62 0


(Minimum: 75 yards)

Receptions, yards, touchdowns

Mikal Harrison-Pilot, Temple 25 448 3

Micah Hudson, Lake Belton 22 386 8

Christian Tutson, Temple 13 326 6

Garrett Oliveira, Belton 17 278 4

Jaydon Leza, Lake Belton 17 266 3

Khamani Debrow, Killeen Ellison 11 210 3

Maurice Starr, Killeen Shoemaker 12 206 2

Jeremiah Lennon, Temple 10 201 1

Johnathan Lahmann, Killeen Shoemaker 11 196 2

Isaac Abel, Belton 5 192 2

Ty Legg, Lake Belton 14 179 1

Trishstin Glass, Copperas Cove 12 179 3

Jamarius Stewart, Killeen Shoemaker 5 165 2

Kai McMillian, Harker Heights 4 163 1

Javante Carson, Killeen Shoemaker 15 158 0

Tyler Johnson, Harker Heights 14 156 3

Mason Ramm, Belton 8 138 1

Bobby Williams, Killeen Ellison 12 137 1

Jerrod Hicks, Killeen Shoemaker 11 121 2

Slade LeBlanc, Belton 8 114 0

Demetrius Pearce, Copperas Cove 9 106 2

Jaquon Butler, Temple 9 100 1

Deaubry Hood, Harker Heights 2 96 0

Diego Coleman, Belton 7 95 1

Javeon Wilcox, Lake Belton 5 87 4

Aimeer Washington, Harker Heights 9 85 0

Craig Brown, Copperas Cove 8 80 1

Cameron Hamilton, Lake Belton 4 77 0

LJ Underwood, Belton 5 76 0


Touchdowns/2-point conversions/

field goals/extra points

Micah Hudson, Lake Belton 60 points (10/0/0/0)

Christian Tutson, Temple 48 points (8/0/0/0)

Jerrod Hicks, Killeen Shoemaker 44 points (7/1/0/0)

Jamarius Stewart, Killeen Shoemaker 42 points (7/0/0/0)

Shaun Snapp, Belton 36 points (6/0/0/0)

Craig Brown, Copperas Cove 36 points (6/0/0/0)

Marcos Garcia, Temple 33 points (0/0/5/18)

Connor Crews, Lake Belton 30 points (5/0/0/0)

Mikal Harrison-Pilot, Temple 26 points (4/1/0/0)

Re’Shaun Sanford II, Harker Heights 26 points (4/1/0/0)

Garrett Oliveira, Belton 24 points (4/0/0/0)

Cole Jackson, Lake Belton 24 points (0/0/0/24)

Javeon Wilcox, Lake Belton 24 points (4/0/0/0)

Dylan Plake, Harker Heights 24 points (4/0/0/0)

Jaydon Leza, Lake Belton 18 points (3/0/0/0)

D’Arius Wilkerson, Lake Belton 18 points (3/0/0/0)

Trishstin Glass, Copperas Cove 18 points (3/0/0/0)

Gabriel Rodriguez, Copperas Cove 18 points (3/0/0/0)

Aimeer Washington, Harker Heights 18 points (3/0/0/0)

Antonio Butler, Killeen Shoemaker 18 points (0/0/1/15)

X’Zavion Smith, Killeen Shoemaker 18 points (3/0/0/0)

LJ Underwood, Belton 14 points (2/1/0/0)

Jai’den Fletcher, Harker Heights 14 points (0/0/1/11)

Steve Jackson, Temple 12 points (2/0/0/0)

Reese Rumfield, Temple 12 points (2/0/0/0)

Isaac Abel, Belton 12 points (2/0/0/0)

Cole Chrisman, Belton 12 points (0/0/0/12)

Tristan Robin, Lake Belton 12 points (2/0/0/0)

Demetrius Pearce, Copperas Cove 12 points (2/0/0/0)

Tyler Johnson, Harker Heights 12 points (2/0/0/0)

Khamani Debrow, Killeen Ellison 12 points (2/0/0/0)

Johnathan Lahmann, Killeen Shoemaker 12 points (2/0/0/0)

Maurice Starr, Killeen Shoemaker 12 points (2/0/0/0)

Tommy Stephens, Lake Belton 11 points (0/0/3/2)

Deshaun Brundage, Temple 6 points (1/0/0/0)

Jaquon Butler, Temple 6 points (1/0/0/0)

Jeremiah Lennon, Temple 6 points (1/0/0/0)

Julian White, Temple 6 points (1/0/0/0)

Diego Coleman, Belton 6 points (1/0/0/0)

Karson Dunn, Belton 6 points (1/0/0/0)

Alton McCallum, Belton 6 points (1/0/0/0)

Mason Ramm, Belton 6 points (1/0/0/0)

Selman Bridges, Lake Belton 6 points (1/0/0/0)

Ty Legg, Lake Belton 6 points (1/0/0/0)

Blaine Butler, Copperas Cove 6 points (1/0/0/0)

NaKeem Freeman, Copperas Cove 6 points (1/0/0/0)

Daniel Izquierdo, Copperas Cove 6 points (0/3/0/0)

Markis Nash, Copperas Cove 6 points (1/0/0/0)

Rocky Crooks, Harker Heights 6 points (1/0/0/0)

Kai McMillian, Harker Heights 6 points (1/0/0/0)

Marcus Moultrie, Harker Heights 6 points (1/0/0/0)

Brendan Bett, Killeen Ellison 6 points (1/0/0/0)

Jevon Custis, Killeen Ellison 6 points (1/0/0/0)

Joseph Fowlkes IV, Killeen Ellison 6 points (1/0/0/0)

Zy’Aire King, Killeen Ellison 6 points (1/0/0/0)

Bobby Williams, Killeen Ellison 6 points (1/0/0/0)

K’Mare Balfour, Killeen Shoemaker 6 points (1/0/0/0)

Isaiah Tanner-Butler, Killeen Shoemaker 6 points (1/0/0/0)

Manuel Herrera, Lake Belton 2 points (safety)

Malik Cuthbert, Copperas Cove 2 points (0/1/0/0)

Steve Albert, Killeen Ellison 2 points (0/1/0/0)

Jovan Smith, Killeen Ellison 2 points (0/0/0/2)

Jasiyah Riley, Killeen Shoemaker 2 points (safety)



(Minimum: 15)

Javeon Wilcox, Lake Belton 55

Taurean York, Temple 53

Matthew Moore, Killeen Ellison 51

Jeremy Jennings, Harker Heights 50

Wyatt Butler, Belton 40

Marcus Moultrie, Harker Heights 39

Kesean Meeks, Killeen Ellison 38

Steve Albert, Killeen Ellison 36

Connor Brennan, Lake Belton 34

D’Anthony Jackson, Belton 33

Bruce Onchweri, Lake Belton 33

Sam Babcock, Belton 32

Ty Legg, Lake Belton 32

Kabriel Anderson-Dale, Harker Heights 32

Kaden Butler, Harker Heights 32

Christopher Robinson, Harker Heights 32

Sam Shepard, Belton 31

Donovan Thompson, Belton 30

Kevin Stockton, Temple 28

Teryon Williams-Echols, Temple 27

King White, Harker Heights 26

Steve Jackson, Temple 25

Deaubry Hood, Harker Heights 25

Isaiah Hagan, Killeen Ellison 25

Sebastian Magana, Belton 24

Jequarrius McClendon, Killeen Shoemaker 24

Zavion Tibbs, Killeen Shoemaker 24

Jamel Custis, Killeen Ellison 23

Naeten Mitchell, Temple 22

Giani Zecca, Belton 22

Lamarian Hatcher, Harker Heights 22

Manuel Herrera, Lake Belton 21

Malik Esquerra, Killeen Shoemaker 21

Anthony Massey, Harker Heights 20

Ayden Brown, Temple 19

Hayden Hourany, Belton 19

Selman Bridges, Lake Belton 19

Collin Espinosa, Lake Belton 19

Jaylon Jackson, Temple 18

Ashton Stanford, Harker Heights 18

Jamorion Stanford, Harker Heights 18

Brendan Bett, Killeen Ellison 18

Tyrone Osberry, Killeen Ellison 18

Ronnie Collins, Killeen Shoemaker 18

Valentino Greene, Killeen Shoemaker 18

Ka’Morion Carter, Temple 17

Ethan Arendall, Belton 17

Evan Roland, Lake Belton 17

Kyle Dalton, Lake Belton 16

Adam Walden, Lake Belton 16

Terrell Washington, Harker Heights 16

Evan Collazo, Harker Heights 15


Naeten Mitchell, Temple 3

Isaiah Hagan, Killeen Ellison 2

Malik Esquerra, Killeen Shoemaker 2

Josh Donoso, Temple 1

Julian White, Temple 1

Selman Bridges, Lake Belton 1

Manuel Herrera, Lake Belton 1

Torre Mallard, Lake Belton 1

Bruce Onchweri, Lake Belton 1

Javeon Wilcox, Lake Belton 1

Deaubry Hood, Harker Heights 1

Christopher Robinson, Harker Heights 1

King White, Harker Heights 1

Brendan Bett, Killeen Ellison 1

Zy’Aire King, Killeen Ellison 1




Total yards gained/

average per game

Academy 2,171/434.2 (817 rushing, 1,354 passing)

Rosebud-Lott 1,227/409.0 (861 rushing, 366 passing)

Rockdale 1,607/401.8 (828 rushing, 779 passing)

Lampasas 1,844/368.8 (630 rushing, 1,214 passing)

Cameron Yoe 1,834/366.8 (792 rushing, 1,042 passing)

Jarrell 1,814/362.8 (513 rushing, 1,301 passing)

Granger 1,730/346.0 (1,339 rushing, 391 passing)

Salado 1,660/332.0 (333 rushing, 1,327 passing)

Rogers 1,569/313.8 (1,265 rushing, 304 passing)

Central Texas Christian 1,408/281.6 (976 rushing, 432 passing)

Troy 1,324/264.8 (714 rushing, 610 passing)

Moody 961/240.3 (475 rushing, 486 passing)

Bruceville-Eddy 594/198.0 (351 rushing, 237 passing)


Total yards allowed/

average per game

Rogers 1,510/302.0 (688 rushing, 822 passing)

Academy 1,620/324.0 (843 rushing, 777 passing)

Salado 1,776/355.2 (680 rushing, 1,096 passing)

Rockdale 1,620/405.0 (943 rushing, 677 passing)



(Minimum: 75 yards)

Carries, yards, touchdowns

DJ McClelland, Granger 102 832 12

Lane Ward, Academy 78 522 6

Reagan Ragsdale, Central Texas Christian 85 485 4

Ethan Allerkamp, Central Texas Christian 86 482 6

Kardarius Bradley, Cameron Yoe 63 439 9

Blaydn Barcak, Rockdale 71 432 7

Cooper Sisneroz, Rogers 57 388 4

Garrett Wolfe, Rogers 69 361 7

Aden Rascoe, Lampasas 49 309 3

Ryder Hohhertz, Moody 47 308 4

Kemar Spencer, Rockdale 52 266 2

Armando Reyes, Cameron Yoe 50 248 8

JaMarion Nibblett, Jarrell 58 248 3

Kyle Finan, Rosebud-Lott 20 248 2

Kase Maedgen, Salado 55 223 1

Bryce Watson, Rogers 19 220 1

Kasey Mraz, Academy 43 217 3

Jamarquis Johnson, Rosebud-Lott 9 207 3

Nathan Tucker, Granger 43 206 2

Moses Fox, Rosebud-Lott 17 196 1

David Flores, Lampasas 27 185 3

Cooper Valle, Troy 38 172 0

Korey Gibson, Troy 27 168 1

Tyrrell Horne, Bruceville-Eddy 23 159 1

Rayshon Smith, Gatesville 25 159 0

Zach Davis, Rogers 22 152 2

Isaac Lizardo, Granger 25 135 0

Karsen Gomez, Rogers 14 125 1

Gage Richardson, Troy 17 121 0

Andrew Mitchell, Troy 17 116 1

Breon Lewis, Rosebud-Lott 6 111 3

Keith Dailey, Moody 19 107 1

Jacob Carruth, Jarrell 18 99 1

Jalani Price, Jarrell 4 80 1




yards, touchdowns

Kasey Mraz, Academy 103-154-5 1,354 14

Luke Law, Salado 78-149-4 1,320 13

Andrew Knebel, Jarrell 70-136-5 1,301 15

David Flores, Lampasas 92-140-5 1,214 17

Braylan Drake, Cameron Yoe 83-120-1 1,042 10

Blaydn Barcak, Rockdale 64-105-4 779 5

Ethan Sorensen, Troy 48-97-5 610 7

Ryder Hohhertz, Moody 36-64-3 485 4

Cooper Smith, Central Texas Christian 47-78-2 417 1

Nathan Tucker, Granger 32-63-4 385 5

Cooper Sisneroz, Rogers 15-32-1 304 4

Jamarquis Johnson, Rosebud-Lott 10-14-1 277 3

Kadyn Rape, Bruceville-Eddy 25-51-5 238 1

Jacob Newkirk, Gatesville 15-30-1 141 3

Kyle Finan, Rosebud-Lott 7-15-2 89 0


(Minimum: 75 yards)

Receptions, yards, touchdowns

Seth Reavis, Salado 25 582 7

Ethan Moreno, Lampasas 42 542 2

Scout Brazeal, Academy 41 511 5

Robert Owens, Rockdale 34 479 3

Jacques Spradley, Jarrell 20 462 6

Trayjen Wilcox, Cameron Yoe 31 401 2

Zane Clark, Academy 20 340 5

Alex Lawton, Academy 24 327 2

Dathan Walker, Jarrell 16 320 4

Mason Dotson, Jarrell 12 313 3

Carter Johnson, Lampasas 18 268 3

Reed Ketcham, Troy 16 262 2

Breon Lewis, Rosebud-Lott 10 261 2

Cooper Staton, Moody 15 215 1

Owen Stubbs, Lampasas 13 205 6

Brendan Wilson, Salado 11 182 1

DJ McClelland, Granger 8 172 3

Charlie Mayer, Cameron Yoe 15 170 4

Tucker Staton, Moody 9 159 2

Roman Law, Salado 10 155 1

Dakarai Barnes, Jarrell 10 152 2

Riley Spears, Rockdale 14 148 1

Christopher Bailey, Bruceville-Eddy 12 145 1

Kase Maedgen, Salado 13 143 1

Zach Davis, Rogers 7 139 3

Korey Gibson, Troy 5 136 2

Reagan Ragsdale, Central Texas Christian 17 129 0

Caden Strickland, Salado 10 125 2

Tristan Eanes, Central Texas Christian 9 119 0

Kason Goolsby, Cameron Yoe 4 114 1

Connor Jeter, Cameron Yoe 5 113 0

Aden Rascoe, Lampasas 11 110 3

Morgan Adams, Salado 8 102 1

Armando Reyes, Cameron Yoe 8 101 1

Jacob McCormick, Rogers 8 98 0

Lane Ward, Academy 7 95 0

Quori Hardman, Cameron Yoe 9 85 1

Jayden Thomas, Rosebud-Lott 3 82 0

Ben Matias, Moody 8 77 1

Deandre Stephens, Rockdale 6 76 1


Touchdowns/2-point conversions/

field goals/extra points

DJ McClelland, Granger 90 points (15/0/0/0)

Blaydn Barcak, Rockdale 66 points (11/0/0/0)

Armando Reyes, Cameron Yoe 54 points (9/0/0/0)

Garrett Wolfe, Rogers 42 points (7/0/0/0)

Seth Reavis, Salado 42 points (7/0/0/0)

Breon Lewis, Rosebud-Lott 38 points (6/1/0/0)

Zane Clark, Academy 36 points (6/0/0/0)

Lane Ward, Academy 36 points (6/0/0/0)

Kardarius Bradley, Cameron Yoe 36 points (6/0/0/0)

Ethan Allerkamp, Central Texas Christian 36 points (6/0/0/0)

Jacques Spradley, Jarrell 36 points (6/0/0/0)

Owen Stubbs, Lampasas 36 points (6/0/0/0)

Scout Brazeal, Academy 32 points (5/1/0/0)

Landon Richardson, Lampasas 32 points (1/0/3/17)

Aden Rascoe, Lampasas 30 points (5/0/0/0)

Zach Davis, Rogers 30 points (5/0/0/0)

Cooper Sisneroz, Rogers 30 points (4/3/0/0)

Trayjen Wilcox, Cameron Yoe 28 points (3/5/0/0)

Cooper Staton, Moody 26 points (4/1/0/0)

Lucas Sanderson, Academy 25 points (0/0/4/13)

Charlie Mayer, Cameron Yoe 24 points (4/0/0/0)

Reagan Ragsdale, Central Texas Christian 24 points (4/0/0/0)

Dathan Walker, Jarrell 24 points (4/0/0/0)

Carter Johnson, Lampasas 24 points (3/0/0/6)

Ryder Hohhertz, Moody 24 points (4/0/0/0)

Robert Owens, Rockdale 24 points (4/0/0/0)

Luke Law, Salado 24 points (4/0/0/0)

Kyle Finan, Rosebud-Lott 22 points (3/2/0/0)

Daniel Chtay, Salado 22 points (0/0/2/16)

Landen Greene, Cameron Yoe 21 points (0/0/0/21)

Jose Valverde, Granger 20 points (0/0/1/17)

Daniel Romero, Rockdale 20 points (0/0/2/14)

Kasey Mraz, Academy 18 points (3/0/0/0)

Mason Dotson, Jarrell 18 points (3/0/0/0)

Andrew Knebel, Jarrell 18 points (3/0/0/0)

JaMarion Nibblett, Jarrell 18 points (3/0/0/0)

David Flores, Lampasas 18 points (3/0/0/0)

Jamarquis Johnson, Rosebud-Lott 18 points (3/0/0/0)

Korey Gibson, Troy 18 points (3/0/0/0)

Cooper Valle, Troy 18 points (3/0/0/0)

Luke Chiles, Central Texas Christian 16 points (0/0/2/10)

Dakarai Barnes, Jarrell 14 points (2/1/0/0)

Nicolas Rodriguez, Jarrell 14 points (0/0/1/11)

Dalton Cox, Moody 14 points (0/0/2/8)

Abraham Hernandez, Rogers 14 points (2/1/0/0)

Alex Lawton, Academy 12 points (2/0/0/0)

Javares Crittendon, Cameron Yoe 12 points (2/0/0/0)

Lucas Matta, Granger 12 points (2/0/0/0)

Nathan Tucker, Granger 12 points (2/0/0/0)

Dailin Fagan, Lampasas 12 points (2/0/0/0)

Preston Isom, Lampasas 12 points (2/0/0/0)

Brock Langford, Lampasas 12 points (2/0/0/0)

Ethan Moreno, Lampasas 12 points (2/0/0/0)

Tucker Staton, Moody 12 points (2/0/0/0)

Kemar Spencer, Rockdale 12 points (2/0/0/0)

Kase Maedgen, Salado 12 points (2/0/0/0)

Caden Strickland, Salado 12 points (2/0/0/0)

Reed Ketcham, Troy 12 points (2/0/0/0)

Kadyn Martinez, Troy 12 points (2/0/0/0)

Tyler McKissick, Troy 12 points (0/0/1/9)

Baldemar Arzola, Rogers 11 points (0/0/0/11)

Bryce Watson, Rogers 10 points (1/2/0/0)

Willie Wilson, Bruceville-Eddy 8 points (1/1/0/0)

Brayden Bartlett, Academy 6 points (1/0/0/0)

Cavalli Nealy, Academy 6 points (1/0/0/0)

Luke Tomasek, Academy 6 points (1/0/0/0)

Christopher Bailey, Bruceville-Eddy 6 points (1/0/0/0)

Nicholas Boaz, Bruceville-Eddy 6 points (1/0/0/0)

Tyrrell Horne, Bruceville-Eddy 6 points (1/0/0/0)

Braylan Drake, Cameron Yoe 6 points (1/0/0/0)

Ja’Qualyn Fields, Cameron Yoe 6 points (1/0/0/0)

Kason Goolsby, Cameron Yoe 6 points (1/0/0/0)

Quori Hardman, Cameron Yoe 6 points (1/0/0/0)

Cayden Stringfellow, Central Texas Christian 6 points (1/0/0/0)

Lawson Mooney, Gatesville 6 points (1/0/0/0)

Kyle Shafer, Gatesville 6 points (1/0/0/0)

Trevor Smith, Gatesville 6 points (1/0/0/0)

Jacob Carruth, Jarrell 6 points (1/0/0/0)

Jalani Price, Jarrell 6 points (1/0/0/0)

Keith Dailey, Moody 6 points (1/0/0/0)

Ben Matias, Moody 6 points (1/0/0/0)

Zeke Castro, Rockdale 6 points (1/0/0/0)

Riley Spears, Rockdale 6 points (1/0/0/0)

Deandre Stephens, Rockdale 6 points (1/0/0/0)

Karsen Gomez, Rogers 6 points (1/0/0/0)

Jackson Landeros, Rogers 6 points (1/0/0/0)

Sergio Reyna, Rogers 6 points (1/0/0/0)

Moses Fox, Rosebud-Lott 6 points (1/0/0/0)

Dalan Willberg, Rosebud-Lott 6 points (1/0/0/0)

Morgan Adams, Salado 6 points (1/0/0/0)

Roman Law, Salado 6 points (1/0/0/0)

Brendan Wilson, Salado 6 points (1/0/0/0)

Darius Wilson, Salado 6 points (1/0/0/0)

Hunter Fowler, Troy 6 points (1/0/0/0)

Chase Fricke, Troy 6 points (1/0/0/0)

Alejandro Rodriguez, Rosebud-Lott 5 points (0/0/0/5)

Hayden Stinson, Moody 4 points (0/0/1/1)

Thomas Youngblood, Granger 2 points (0/1/0/0)

Garrett Combs, Salado 2 points (0/1/0/0)



(Minimum: 15)

Reagan Ragsdale, Central Texas Christian 64

Ryder Casqueira, Moody 57

Brice Lisenbe, Rogers 55

Chase Edwards, Granger 53

Cade Pantaleon, Rockdale 49

Luke Chiles, Central Texas Christian 47

Carlos Salomon, Cameron Yoe 45

Adam Benavides, Salado 43

Tyler Burnett, Academy 41

Drew Bird, Salado 41

Nolan Miller, Salado 38

DJ McClelland, Granger 36

Malik Davis, Jarrell 36

Dusty Rhiddlehoover, Salado 35

Daniel Munoz-Garcia, Academy 34

Garrett Combs, Salado 34

Javares Crittendon, Cameron Yoe 33

Tristan Eanes, Central Texas Christian 33

Lincoln Hossfeld, Salado 33

Cruz San Migel, Rockdale 30

Bryce Watson, Rogers 30

Easton Fulton, Rosebud-Lott 29

Gabriel Logsdon, Central Texas Christian 28

Brayden Bolyard, Jarrell 28

Quori Hardman, Cameron Yoe 27

Henry Pitman, Central Texas Christian 26

Evan Hutka, Granger 27

Cooper Staton, Moody 26

Johnny Martinez, Rosebud-Lott 26

Lane Ward, Academy 25

Payton Wilson, Academy 25

Isaac Lizardo, Granger 25

Gavin Bennett, Rogers 25

Elijah Sunderman, Troy 25

Hayden Delafuente, Cameron Yoe 24

James Mabe, Jarrell 24

Ethan Martone, Jarrell 24

Dylan Pursley, Jarrell 24

Keith Dailey, Moody 24

Karsen Gomez, Rogers 24

Jackson Landeros, Rogers 24

Daniel Rodriguez, Rosebud-Lott 24

Davis Graham, Salado 24

Zane Clark, Academy 23

Isaiah Sauls, Rockdale 23

Kadyn Martinez, Troy 23

Anthony Bradley, Bruceville-Eddy 22

Keshon Johnson, Cameron Yoe 22

Cooper Schiller, Rogers 22

Connor Woods, Rogers 22

Preston Hering, Rosebud-Lott 22

Nicholaus Squyres, Bruceville-Eddy 21

Jalani Price, Jarrell 21

Nicolas Rodriguez, Jarrell 21

Ethan Hohhertz, Moody 21

Korey Gibson, Troy 21

Clayton Lawson, Academy 20

Tripp Wilkie, Granger 19

Sammy Guerrero, Jarrell 19

Garrett Wolfe, Rogers 19

Scout Brazeal, Academy 18

Tylor Eddins, Bruceville-Eddy 18

Kamari Fisher, Jarrell 18

Tim Grice, Rockdale 18

Carson Carter, Bruceville-Eddy 17

Armando Reyes, Cameron Yoe 17

Evan Allerkamp, Central Texas Christian 17

Thomas Hall, Granger 17

Weston Miller, Jarrell 17

Jaden Anzaldua, Moody 17

Tristan Galvan, Rockdale 17

Josh Kohring, Rogers 17

Clayton Doskocil, Rosebud-Lott 17

Cannon Negron, Troy 17

Matt Rose, Central Texas Christian 16

Michael Selucky, Granger 16

Nathan Tucker, Granger 16

Carson Eoff, Rockdale 16

Ben Ford, Rosebud-Lott 16

Landen Greene, Cameron Yoe 15

Cody Webb, Cameron Yoe 15

Alek Castro, Jarrell 15

Moses Fox, Rosebud-Lott 15

Andrew Mitchell, Troy 15


Nicolas Rodriguez, Jarrell 4

Cayden Stringfellow, Central Texas Christian 3

Quori Hardman, Cameron Yoe 2

Trae Herrera, Granger 2

Jalani Price, Jarrell 2

Brock Langford, Lampasas 2

Cooper Schiller, Rogers 2

Reed Ketcham, Troy 2

Kadyn Martinez, Troy 2

Braden Bass, Academy 1

Scout Brazeal, Academy 1

Alex Lawton, Academy 1

Ja’Qualyn Fields, Cameron Yoe 1

Rhett Humphrey, Central Texas Christian 1

DJ McClelland, Granger 1

Kamari Fisher, Jarrell 1

Tyler Johnson, Jarrell 1

Ethan Martone, Jarrell 1

Reed Jerome, Lampasas 1

Ricky Aguilar, Moody 1

Tucker Staton, Moody 1

Tim Grice, Rockdale 1

Gerren Marrero, Rockdale 1

Gavin Bennett, Rogers 1

Brice Lisenbe, Rogers 1

Jaime Reyna, Rogers 1

Kyle Finan, Rosebud-Lott 1

Moses Fox, Rosebud-Lott 1

Carlos Saucedo, Rosebud-Lott 1

Drew Bird, Salado 1

AJ Fach, Salado 1

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THE NEED FOR SPEED: Temple junior wide receiver Jeremiah Lennon sprints past Bryan senior linebacker Mason Rice on a 76-yard touchdown reception from junior quarterback Reese Rumfield during the first quarter of the Wildcats' 53-19 victory over the Vikings in Friday night's District 12-6A opener at Merrill Green Stadium. Six players scored TDs for Temple (3-2) as the Wildcats rebounded from the previous week's 53-18 home loss to state-ranked Arlington Martin and extended their 12-6A winning streak to 16 games. Lennon totaled 112 yards on five catches for a resurgent Temple offense that passed for 302 yards and rushed for 259. (Photo by Mike Lefner, Temple ISD/Special to


BRYAN – Temple head football coach Scott Stewart has very high standards for his players, his coaches, himself and the Wildcats’ proud, storied program.

None of the above parties thought those standards were upheld – not even close – in a stunningly one-sided 53-18 loss to state-ranked Arlington Martin in last Friday’s non-district finale at Wildcat Stadium.

So in response to that subpar performance, defending District 12-6A champion Temple went – in Stewart’s words – back to basics beginning with Monday’s long, grueling, hard-hitting practice in 100-degree temperatures and then maintained a focused, physical approach throughout the week in preparation for Friday night’s league opener at old rival Bryan.

“Well, we went back to basics. I’ve always said, ‘Never let someone beat you twice.’ So if we’d hung our head down and tripped over our bottom lip and all the cliches that come with that, you don’t have a chance to get better,” Stewart said after the game. “We challenged them. We went good-on-good with full pads and beat the crap out of each other all week in practice. We practiced in 101 degrees or whatever it was the last three days and didn’t take it easy.

“When it hits the fan . . . I’m not that smart, so the only thing I know from the people I’ve learned from is you go back to exactly where this game starts, and that’s blocking, tackling, throwing and catching.”

It seems like that painful experience against Martin and the attitude reboot that came out of it was exactly what the Wildcats needed.

Jeremiah Lennon’s 76-yard catch-and-run touchdown from Reese Rumfield got Temple going late in the first quarter, then early in the second period Taurean York’s punishing hit on Bryan quarterback Creed Pierce caused an interception that Julian White grabbed out of midair and returned 6 yards for a TD and a 14-0 lead.

Steve Jackson proceeded to score touchdowns on his first two carries this season, Christian Tutson, Mikal Harrison-Pilot and Deshaun Brundage also produced TDs and Temple’s active defense rebounded by smothering a Bryan offense that played without injured standout QB Malcom Gooden as the Wildcats dominated the Vikings to produce a thorough, runaway 53-19 victory at Merrill Green Stadium.

After leading 21-6 at halftime, Temple scored three touchdowns in a 5-minute span in the third period and seized a 50-13 advantage by quarter’s end. An inconsistent Wildcats offense that came in averaging 297 yards per game exploded for 561 yards against Bryan – 259 rushing and 302 passing.

The Martin game was a wakeup call for the Wildcats, and senior linebacker Jaylon Jackson said they were ready to answer it.

“I can say we practiced harder. There was a lot of people who were doubting on the team. We went against Arlington Martin and yeah, they’re good all right, but you’ve still got to go out there and play your game,” said Jackson, who blocked Bryan’s first-quarter field goal attempt. “The predistrict games, they don’t matter. Now that it’s district, this is the last year for our seniors and every win counts now.

“We’re trying to go to state. We’re playing hard and everything counts. We’re practicing longer, all of that. This shows we’re here to play. We’re here to play Wildcat football now.”

Senior cornerback Steve Jackson said he was extremely motivated for the Bryan game after he allowed two touchdown receptions against Martin, which decimated Temple’s defense for 507 total yards. Against Bryan, the Wildcats largely dictated the action as they allowed 30 passing yards and 260 overall.

“It feels amazing. It’s different compared to last week. I feel like we needed this,” the Troy transfer said. “People were starting to doubt us, but you can never count us out. We’re always going to come back stronger. That’s just how we are.”

Steve Jackson said the Wildcats embraced the hard coaching they received all week, knowing that it was necessary to overcome what occurred against Martin.

“It can be real difficult, but it’s all about how you work that week. This week we practiced way longer. We counted every rep in the weight room,” he said. “It’s all about how you practice, because you practice the way you play. If you don’t practice hard, it’s going to show. If you practice hard, it’s going to show.”

MAKING AN IMPACT: Temple senior linebacker Taurean York puts a hard hit on Bryan senior quarterback Creed Pierce as teammates converge during the Wildcats' 53-19 win in Friday night's District 12-6A opener at Merrill Green Stadium. Temple's defense limited Bryan to six first-half points as the Wildcats won their 11th straight league opener. (Photo by Matt Corley, Temple ISD/Special to

Temple (3-2) earned its 16th consecutive district victory dating to 2019, won its league opener for the 11th straight season and avoided its first three-game losing streak since the end of 2018. The Wildcats’ 12-6A home opener is next Friday night at Wildcat Stadium against Pflugerville Weiss (2-3), which lost its district opener 21-14 to Harker Heights (4-1) on Thursday.

Last season Gooden didn’t play in Bryan’s 12-6A opener against Temple because he suffered a season-ending leg injury in the Vikings’ first game, and the Wildcats rolled to a 49-7 road win. The talented dual-threat senior quarterback shined in Bryan’s four non-district games with first-year head coach Ricky Tullos, accounting for 15 total touchdowns, but he didn’t suit up against Temple after suffering a serious injury to his right, throwing thumb during the third quarter of the Vikings' 31-10 win over Richmond Randle last week. Against Temple, Gooden was on the sideline with his hand heavily wrapped.

Jaylon Jackson said Temple's defense knew by Wednesday that Gooden likely would not play. Much like it did a year ago, Bryan tried to concoct a viable quarterback plan that could generate offense without Gooden’s varied skills available. With left-handed senior Pierce and sophomore receiver Terrence Lewis taking turns at QB, the Vikings (3-2) took the opening kickoff and drove from their 28-yard line to Temple’s 22.

However, Wildcats senior linebacker Teryon Williams-Echols popped Pierce for a 7-yard loss on third down before Jaylon Jackson barged up the middle and blocked a 46-yard field goal try by Kelvin Zalaya.

REJECTED: Temple senior Jaylon Jackson (0) penetrates the middle and blocks a 46-yard field goal attempt by Bryan's Kelvin Zalaya (82) as Wildcats senior Steve Jackson (2) pressures off the edge during the first quarter of Temple's 53-19 win over the Vikings in Friday night's District 12-6A opener at Merrill Green Stadium. (Photo by Matt Corley, Temple ISD/Special to

Temple put together a good opening drive, using Rumfield’s crisp passing to reach the Bryan 28. But a Vikings defender punched the ball out on Brundage’s rush to the left side and Matthew Cooks recovered the fumble on the 33.

After Temple’s defense forced a punt late in the first quarter, the Wildcats’ offense made its move. From the Temple 24, Rumfield (18-of-27 passing for 302 yards) fired a right-side pass to junior Lennon, who used stellar blocking as he blazed along the Wildcat sideline and jetted past multiple defenders for a 76-yard touchdown. The first of Marcos Garcia’s six extra points gave Temple a 7-0 lead with 1:11 left in the opening period.

Then it was the Temple defense’s turn to shine. On third-and-16 from the Bryan 16 to begin the second quarter, Baylor-committed senior linebacker York pressured a retreating Pierce and put a hard hit on him, forcing a wobbly throw that White plucked out of midair at the 6 before the senior end trotted in for a touchdown and a 14-0 advantage.

Jaylon Jackson said Temple’s Dexter Knox-coordinated defense was hungry to prove itself after struggling against Martin and enduring a tough week of practice under Stewart’s watchful eye.

“Coach Stewart was cutting down on a lot of things in practice. We weren’t playing any music, none of that,” he said. “He was watching the defense all practice, making sure we were doing everything perfect.”

Bryan delivered a response on its ensuing drive, using the hard running of senior Tate Schneringer and speedy freshman Jevalen Wade to move to Temple’s 14 before Wade shot through defenders to score the first of his two touchdowns. A missed extra point left the Wildcats’ lead at 14-6 2 minutes into the second period.

Temple took over at its 34 with 4:45 left until halftime following a three-and-out series by its defense. The Wildcats converted a key third down when Harrison-Pilot (six receptions for 110 yards) caught Rumfield’s pass on the left hash and cut across the middle for a 41-yard gain to the 21.

After Rumfield’s 11-yard pass to Harrison-Pilot moved Temple to the 8, Steve Jackson finally got his first opportunity to carry the ball for the Wildcats after he rushed for 863 yards and 12 touchdowns as a Troy junior last year. He raced off right tackle and scooted inside the pylon for the TD and a 21-6 lead 1:58 before halftime.

ACTION JACKSON: On his first carry this season, Temple senior Steve Jackson (2) moves past Bryan junior linebacker Tate Allen to score an 8-yard touchdown during the second quarter of the Wildcats' district-opening 53-19 win Friday night at Merrill Green Stadium. Jackson, who rushed for 863 yards and 12 TDs for Troy last season, added a 37-yard touchdown on his second carry of the game. (Photo by Mike Lefner, Temple ISD/Special to

“I’d say when we get a lot of stops, that helps the offense get going,” Jaylon Jackson said. “Sometimes they can start off slow and if we get a three-and-out multiple times, they can go out there and build off our momentum.”

Whereas Temple never seemed to have any positive momentum against machine-like Martin after failing to recover the Warriors’ onside kick to start the game, the Wildcats prolonged their momentum against Bryan well into the second half.

Sophomore Lezlie Jackson, Steve Jackson's brother, returned the Vikings’ popped-up second-half kickoff to the Bryan 48. Passes to Lennon and Harrison-Pilot moved Temple to the 34, then Tutson cut across from the left side to catch Rumfield’s strike at the 15 before breaking tackles and sprinting in for the big-play sophomore’s sixth touchdown reception and eighth TD overall in the last four games.

Junior starting safety Damarion Willis then rushed ahead for the 2-point conversion from a swinging-gate formation, making it 29-6 a minute into the half.

Stewart said it was important to get more players involved in coordinator Robby Case's offense after only Harrison-Pilot and Tutson caught passes against Martin.

“That was the gameplan. We’ve got to take what people give us. I think we ran maybe four or five plays tonight, and I don’t care if we run one play – we’re going to get good at something. I thought we ran the ball better,” Stewart said. “We worked all week on spreading the ball around. I thought Reese played a great game. The first two series of the second half was as good of football as he’s played, so it’s good to see that.”

The defensive-minded Stewart said he took more of a hands-on approach with Temple’s offense this week.

“It’s not like we started practicing football this week, but I really, really challenged the offensive line and we put a little extra effort in there,” he said after recording win No. 60 in seven years as the Wildcats' head coach. “Everybody hates it when Coach Stewart comes over there and tries to coach the O-line, because I don’t know much about technique and I don’t give a blank about technique. But I want to get in the cage and I want people to hit until somebody quits. So hat’s off to those kids. They took it and nobody was complaining.”

Temple’s defense then kept up the pressure on Bryan’s next possession. Senior safety and New Mexico State commitment Naeten Mitchell intercepted a pass by Lewis at his 44 and returned it to the 20. With Harrison-Pilot playing quarterback on third-and-2 at the 12, the four-star recruit ran off right tackle and broke through a sea of would-be tacklers for a touchdown and a commanding 36-6 lead.

Temple’s defense followed that by not allowing a yard on another three-and-out, setting the stage for another big play. After Rumfield hit Harrison-Pilot for 15 yards to the Bryan 37, Steve Jackson raced off left tackle and flashed impressive speed for his second touchdown and a 43-6 advantage midway through the third.

“I was real excited. I couldn’t wait (to carry the ball). I got two touchdowns on two carries. I feel like I can do it if you need it and I can be that guy,” he said, smiling. “Compared to last week (vs. Martin) . . . I feel like I owed the team. I had some (touchdowns) caught on me. I felt I helped the team tonight. It feels good.”

The fleet-footed Wade then produced one of Bryan’s few highlights, charging toward the right sideline, cutting back all the way across the field and outrunning Temple’s defense for a 75-yard touchdown to make it 43-13.

GOOD TIMES: Temple senior Deshaun Brundage (6) celebrates his 5-yard touchdown run, his first TD as a Wildcat, with offensive linemen Endrei Sails (left) and Armando Gonzales during the third quarter of the Wildcats' 53-19 win at Bryan on Friday night at Merrill Green Stadium. Brundage rushed for 92 yards on 12 carries. (Photo by Mike Lefner, Temple ISD/Special to

But the Wildcats got backups such as junior running back Jervonnie Williams and junior receiver Tavion Flowers involved on their long ensuing drive, and senior Brundage – who entered with 296 rushing yards but no touchdowns – barreled in from 5 yards out for his first Temple TD and a 50-13 lead with 2:47 remaining, capping the Wildcats’ 29-point third-quarter blitzkrieg.

That wide margin allowed Temple to play its reserves throughout the fourth, which included Garcia’s 32-yard field goal and a 27-yard touchdown run by Bryan’s Isaiah Nutall.

“Those kids deserve to get to play and I felt it was appropriate to do that. That’s great learning lessons for them. They get to watch themselves, and that’s what team football’s about,” Stewart said. “The 1s ought to handle business so that the reserves can get in there, because they deserve to play, too. I was glad they got in there and we got a chance to get better from that, because we’ve got a lot of stuff to fix. If it’s one injury or one anything, those guys have got to play. I thought they played hard.”

Including Temple’s 44-7 home win over Bryan in 2020 and last year’s 49-7 road victory, the Wildcats have defeated the Vikings by a combined 146-33 score in the last three matchups.

Stewart gained a measure of revenge against his old Sam Houston State teammate Tullos, who was Richmond George Ranch’s head coach in 2015 when the 16-0 Longhorns beat Temple 59-46 in the Class 5A Division I Region III final en route to winning the state championship. That was Stewart’s final game as Temple’s defensive coordinator before he became head coach and guided the 2016 Wildcats to a berth in the 5A D-I state title game.

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WILDCATS AT A CROSSROADS: Temple seventh-year head coach Scott Stewart is looking for his team to respond from last Friday's 53-18 home loss to ranked Arlington Martin when the defending champion Wildcats (2-2) begin District 12-6A play at Bryan (3-1) at 7:30 Friday night at the Vikings' Merrill Green Stadium. One year ago Temple dominated host Bryan 49-7 in a 12-6A opener, but the Vikings have a much-improved squad with first-year head coach Ricky Tullos and senior dual-threat quarterback Malcom Gooden, who missed nearly all of last season with an injury. (File photo by Mike Lefner, Temple ISD/Special to


BRYAN – Temple’s football team was dealt a sobering 53-18 defeat by state-ranked Arlington Martin in last Friday night’s non-district finale at Wildcat Stadium, and the reasons for that stunningly one-sided outcome were numerous.

The Wildcats allowed the Warriors – known for their outstanding, creative play on special teams – to recover two onside kicks, including the game’s opening kickoff.

Temple’s disjointed offense couldn’t run the ball effectively or make enough catches to turn its limited possessions into extended drives.

The Wildcats’ defense missed several key tackles and couldn’t prevent Martin’s talented, physical, versatile attack – which rushed for 287 yards and passed for 220 – from making explosive plays and repeatedly reaching the end zone.

An interception return for a touchdown and a recovered onside kick helped the Warriors score 21 points in a 22-second span late in the first quarter to build a 24-0 lead – an insurmountable deficit even for a Temple program that’s made nine consecutive playoff trips and lost one district game since 2018.

As disappointing as the 35-point loss was for a strangely discombobulated Temple squad, seventh-year head coach Scott Stewart knew it would be a challenging matchup for the Wildcats against veteran head coach Bob Wager and perennial playoff program Martin, whose school enrollment is approximately 1,400 students larger than Temple’s. In his opinion, the Wildcats’ pregame mentality didn’t help.

“It’s about execution. Are they a better football team than us? I’m probably going to suggest they are. I mean, could we have beaten them on the perfect night? I think anyone can beat anyone on any given night. But it’s a confidence issue,” Stewart said Tuesday afternoon as defending champion Temple (2-2) prepared for its District 12-6A opener against much-improved Bryan (3-1) at 7:30 p.m. Friday at the Vikings’ Merrill Green Stadium.

“We talked about false bravado. Let’s stop trying to pretend we’re something we’re not. Before that game we started (chanting loudly). I’m like, ‘What is that?’ I’m not a big cheerleader. We talk all the time about, ‘Hype is temporary.’ If you have to listen to a certain song to get your butt ready to play . . . it’s not our identity. Get excited about what you did, not because of what you think you’re going to do. There’s not a whole lot of substance to that.”

In addition, the Wildcats already had shown some cracks in their foundation in a mistake-plagued 45-35 loss the previous week at Class 5A Division I state-ranked College Station. Stewart then disciplined four players who chose to attend college football games the next day, missing Temple’s Saturday morning routine of film study, weights and conditioning.

“So I said, ‘If you want to go be a college football fan, go be a college football fan. God gave you free will,’” said Stewart, whose team has allowed 98 points in the last two games after permitting a combined 30 in its two wins. “If that’s where your head’s at, then that explains it. It’s not like we didn’t have a plan for it (against Martin), because we knew it for a week.”

Something that happened when Temple’s players gathered in their weight room last Saturday morning after getting mashed by Martin helped to tell the tale as to why the Wildcats were overwhelmed on their field the previous night.

“When you don’t have a good week of prep and you’re going against someone that you know is uber-talented, it’s almost a validation. That was the first eight words I said to them on Saturday morning: ‘What did you think was going to happen?’” Stewart said. “We came up here and lifted. I usually don’t babysit these guys, but I was spot-checking. We got done lifting, circled up and I said, ‘OK, everybody take a knee. Stand up if you skipped a rep today.’ And probably two-thirds of the football team stood up.

“I said, ‘You just got your (rear ends) embarrassed, so my question is, what do you think is going to happen?’ So I told them, ‘We’re going to try it my way. We’ve tried it your way. You’ve tried it your way. If we try it my way and it doesn’t work, we’ll all go back to the drawing board. If I’ve got to treat you like a seventh-grader and come in here and count your reps, that’s exactly what we’ll do.’”

Only time will tell whether Stewart’s tough-love message has the intended effect, but he at least was encouraged by how the Wildcats conducted themselves during Monday’s long, grueling practice.

“We were out there a while, and they responded well. We had a great practice, and it was hotter than fish grease,” Stewart said. “Instead of squawking and yelling at them, I said, ‘If that horns blows and we’re not snapping the ball within 2 seconds, just know (we’re going to run).’ And that didn’t happen one time. We went good-on-good and did blitz pickup with first O vs. first D. There were some absolute heads cracking.

"I try to reset things regardless. I know that’s an easy feel-good statement, but I’ve been 4-0, 3-1, 2-2 and 1-3 or whatever the combination is based on how many district games you’ve got," he added. "I want (to use) predistrict to find out who we are. So some of the frustration is I don’t know who we are right now. Their heads are spinning a little bit."

As Temple begins the quest for its fourth consecutive 12-6A championship and third straight outright league title, Stewart was asked if this week is something of a crossroads moment for his program.

“It absolutely is. It absolutely is,” said Stewart, who’s guided the Wildcats to a 59-21 record. “Everybody wants by butt fired, which is fair. That comes with the territory. I get that and I don’t mind that. I’ve coached somewhere where no one cared. You take the good with the bad.

“My old man (baseball and football coach Larry Stewart) used to say, ‘You’re either coaching them to do it or allowing it to happen.’ I told them this yesterday: ‘If I can’t coach it out of you, I’m going to run it out of you, because I know one of those two will work. If we’re going to sit around here and go 2-8, then we will be the most in-shape 2-8 team this state has ever seen.’ And they responded really, really well.”

TAKING OFF: Temple junior quarterback Reese Rumfield runs for yardage against Arlington Martin's defense during the Wildcats' 53-18 home loss to the state-ranked Warriors last Friday night at Wildcat Stadium. Rumfield threw touchdown passes of 56 and 46 yards to sophomore Christian Tutson and has passed for 831 yards and nine TDs in four games. In Friday night's District 12-6A opener, Rumfield returns to Bryan's Merrill Green Stadium, where he passed for four TDs a year ago to help the Wildcats clobber the Vikings 49-7 and ignite their run to a perfect league record. (Photo by Mike Lefner, Temple ISD/Special to

Temple likely will need to regain the form it showed in its 34-20 home win over Willis as the Wildcats travel to old rival Bryan for Friday’s district opener. The Vikings have recorded two straight wins and are averaging 41.8 points per game in their first season with successful head coach Ricky Tullos, whom Stewart played college football with in the mid-1990s at Sam Houston State in Huntsville.

“Ricky’s a college teammate and I have the utmost respect for him. He’s just a salt-of-the-earth, great guy,” Stewart said. “He played his tail off. He was one of those kids who was probably just like me – wasn’t big enough or talented enough to just walk out there and (dominate). What else can you ask of a kid? He was always going to give everything he’s got with everything he did.”

After beginning his head coaching career with three playoff seasons at Cleveland, his alma mater, from 2007-09, Tullos became the first coach at Richmond George Ranch in 2011. In 2014, the Longhorns were in only their third varsity season when they clashed with Temple in the 5A Division I Region III final. Stewart was in his first of two seasons as defensive coordinator for head coach Mike Spradlin’s Wildcats, who defeated George Ranch 28-14 in far north Austin on their way to finishing as the 13-2 state runner-up to Aledo.

Temple and George Ranch made it back to the Region III final for a rematch in 2015, and this time the undefeated Longhorns had more firepower than the Wildcats could handle. Riding a relentless rushing attack, George Ranch prevailed 59-46 in Cypress and two weeks later the Tullos’ Longhorns were 16-0 state champions.

“They were really salty. They had lots of experience as a team,” Stewart said about George Ranch’s 2015 squad. “They were all juniors when we beat them. They haven’t been the same since (rising to) 6A. They haven’t been the same since Tullos left.”

Shortly after Temple’s 2015 season concluded, Spradlin departed to become Magnolia ISD’s athletic director and Stewart was promoted to Wildcats head coach and AD. Meanwhile, Tullos coached George Ranch – which went 41-3 from 2013-15 – to two more playoff seasons after it rose to 6A and then moved to Pearland and guided the Oilers to a 33-11 record with four playoff berths from 2018-21.

After Hall of Fame coach Ross Rogers retired last offseason following 10 seasons as Bryan’s head coach, including playoff trips his final two years, Tullos – now 117-39 in 14 seasons as a head coach – was hired in January to try to push the Vikings’ program to the next level.

The buildup to this Temple-Bryan showdown feels different than it did a year ago, when the Wildcats traveled to the Brazos Valley and hammered the then-winless Vikings 49-7. Reese Rumfield’s four touchdown passes were highlighted by strikes of 95 and 42 yards to Mikal Harrison-Pilot, and running back Samari Howard rushed for 169 yards and three TDs. Temple’s defense collected four turnovers and permitted only 216 yards.

Although that Bryan team rebounded to reach the playoffs one last time with Rogers, the Vikings have the look of a much better all-around team this season. After outscoring Brenham for a 55-42 road win two weeks ago, Bryan – which lost 21-14 at Huntsville – rolled past Richmond Randle for a 31-10 victory last week.

“Now they have a (better) scheme. I know they believed in what they were doing (last year), but it fit us better. This group does a good job,” Stewart said.

Bryan’s 2021 season was hindered by the Game 1 loss of then-junior quarterback and returning starter Malcom Gooden to a fractured leg. Back healthy this year, the 6-foot, 190-pound dual-threat senior has predictably provided a huge spark for the Vikings. Gooden is 45-of-80 passing for 827 yards and 11 touchdowns against three interceptions, and he’s rushed for 178 yards and four TDs on 27 carries.

Stewart compared Gooden’s versatile, efficient style to that of Martin QB Tristan Bittle.

“He throws the ball well and is great on his feet – very quick,” Stewart said about Gooden. “This is his third year starting, so it’s not like you’re going to throw a whole lot at him and he’s going to get rattled. I thought that was a little bit of the case when he was a sophomore and was a little bit rattled (in Bryan’s 44-7 district loss at Temple).”

Bryan has a tandem of skilled, dangerous running backs in fast, hard-charging senior Tate Schneringer (45 carries, 327 yards, two TDs) and quick, shifty freshman Jevalen Wade (32 carries, 200 yards, one TD). The Vikings’ offensive line is paced by three hulking seniors: Isac Gonzales, Isaac Ibarra and Chris Maxey.

“Wade is the shiftier kid and has a little more juice, and Schneringer runs really hard and is fast. They’ve got three huge offensive linemen and run the ball well,” Temple defensive coordinator Dexter Knox said.

Gooden has three productive targets in the passing game with senior Tyson Turner (12 receptions, 318 yards, six touchdowns), junior Derek Ramsey (nine catches, 175 yards, two TDs) and sophomore Terrence Lewis (11 catches, 202 yards, three TDs). The 6-2, 190-pound Turner placed fifth in the high jump at the 6A state track and field meet last spring.

“It’s counter-read and zone-read, and Gooden will also scramble if nothing’s there. They do some play-action pass off their outside-zone stuff,” Knox said. “Their offense is better than what they were last year, so we’re going to have to play some good defense. They’ve got a really good receiver in (Turner). He’ll go up and pluck it out of the air.”

Temple’s defense is determined to respond with a stronger performance after Martin – employing a wide variety of looks – produced touchdown runs of 38 and 45 yards and TD passes of 23 and 85 yards among several other long gains.

“Martin was a good football team and we gave up some stuff we shouldn’t have, and they did a ton of stuff. We were always on our heels, trying to figure out what they were going to do,” Knox said. “I kicked myself in the butt a little bit. We kind of stayed base and weren’t very aggressive. I think our kids play better when we can be aggressive.”

Rumfield fired touchdown passes of 56 and 46 yards to emerging sophomore wide receiver Christian Tutson against Martin, giving them five TD connections in the last three games and Tutson seven TDs total during that stretch. But Tutson and senior standout Harrison-Pilot were the only Wildcats to catch passes against Martin even though several other receivers were targeted. Dropped passes

“I thought Reese played well. I thought he made good decisions. He overthrew a couple balls,” Stewart said about second-year starter Rumfield, who’s passed for 831 yards and nine touchdowns against three interceptions. “I mean, we were 2-of-13 on third downs, and I think six of those were drops. We move the sticks (if we make the catch). It’s focus, concentration and the moment being too big. There’s a bunch of reasons it could be, but the result is exactly the same.”

After the graduation of record-setting three-year standout Howard (Army West Point), Temple’s offense has been limited thus far by the lack of a reliable running game. The Wildcats have rushed for only 357 yards in four games – 296 by durable senior Deshaun Brundage, who’s yet to score a touchdown.

Temple offensive coordinator Robby Case said defensive starters such as senior linebacker and two-time 12-6A Defensive MVP Taurean York, senior cornerback Steve Jackson and sophomore safety O’Ryan Peoples might get increased opportunities to run the ball along with junior reserves Rymond Johnson and Jervonnie Williams as the Wildcats strive to develop a rushing game that can prevent opposing defenses from taking advantage of them.

“We’ve struggled running the ball some. Some of that’s due to the fact that people are going to challenge us to throw the ball,” Stewart said. “We’ve made a living off of running the ball around here for a long time. I mean, that’s my (defensive) philosophy at least – make them do something else. So until we can pitch and catch the ball . . .

“Obviously nobody likes the way (Temple’s running game is) set up, because we’re rushing for 90 yards a game – and that’s with a 176-yard outing, so that tells you what the other ones were. We’re taking a look at everything. We’ll throw some people over there to get some spot play. Rymond has the most explosion, so we’re taking a look at how to get him in space. And we’ve got to be more consistent blocking and stay on our blocks.”

Case explained that Temple’s four opponents – McKinney, Willis, College Station and Martin – loaded the box to try to shut down the Wildcats’ rushing lanes and put pressure on Rumfield. Only against Willis did Temple manage to produce an effective rushing output, with Brundage getting loose for 168 yards.

“Bryan’s defense is a standard 3-4, like we’ve seen all season long, but they don’t load the box like we’ve seen,” Case said. “They stay very simple. It’s a bend-but-don’t break defense.”

The Vikings’ leading defenders include experienced 6-3 senior safety and three-year starter Matthew Cooks, sure-tackling junior linebacker Tate Allen – who played quarterback against Temple last year – and quick sophomore nose guard Malachi Smith.

One of the tell-tale plays for Temple in its painful loss to Martin occurred late in the first quarter, right after dynamic running back Michael Barrow rushed for a 38-yard touchdown and a 2-point conversion to put the Warriors up 11-0.

From Temple’s 17-yard line, three receivers lined up in a bunch on the right side. The plan was to pass the ball to Harrison-Pilot and have the other two receivers block for him. But when the closest receiver to Martin senior cornerback Javien Toviano – a blue-chip recruit – ran past him without making any contact, Toviano read the play, stepped forward to easily intercept Rumfield’s horizontal pass at the 14 and turned it into a backbreaking 14-yard touchdown return that left the Wildcats shell-shocked.

“If we get our blocks it should be a 1-on-1 out here in a freaking acre and a half of land. We didn’t even touch him. It boggles the imagination,” Stewart said. “Tell him a story, tickle him, I don’t care. Just don’t run by him. The play call wasn’t the problem. Don’t make it easy on a good football player. Make him earn it. Don’t give him a free pass. I’m not taking anything away from (Toviano), because he’s special, but he didn’t do anything extraordinary on that one.”

Temple hasn’t lost a district game since late in the 2019 season at fellow co-champion Waco Midway, capturing the last two 12-6A crowns in undefeated fashion. For the Wildcats to start their fresh pursuit of a league title with a victory, they must learn difficult lessons from the Martin defeat and regroup quickly to get prepared for their road test against Bryan’s improved, capable crew.

“I saw a bunch of different reactions. I mean, I had kids look like they weren’t really sure if they wanted to be there. I had kids who slowed way down to keep bad stuff from happening, which is a horrible cocktail, a horrible recipe for success,” Stewart said about the Martin game. “When you get into a chaotic situation and things aren’t going the way you want them to and the you-know-what’s hitting the wall, people are going to show you who they are, and that’s who they are at the core of their being. And we’ve got a young group. At the very least we’ve got an inexperienced group.”

So, what’s the most vital ingredient for Temple to stop its skid and generate positive momentum now that district competition has arrived?

“Hard work,” said Stewart, whose team’s district home opener is against new opponent Pflugerville Weiss next Friday night at Wildcat Stadium. “Show me someone who hasn’t had their butt kicked and I’ll show you somebody who’s lying to you."

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