VIKINGS VANQUISHED: Sharp games from Arizmendi, Howard, defense propel Temple to 44-7 win over Bryan
Updated: Oct 27, 2020
NOWHERE TO GO: Temple defenders Jayven Taylor (95) and Marshall Grays swarm a Bryan ball carrier as defensive end Tommy Torres (90) gets in on the play during the Wildcats' 44-7 homecoming win over the Vikings on Friday night at Wildcat Stadium. After pitching a second-half shutout in last week's District 12-6A opener at Copperas Cove, Temple's defense didn't allow a point against previously unbeaten Bryan until 3 minutes into the fourth quarter. The Vikings recorded only 149 yards total offense. (Photo by Mike Lefner, Temple ISD/Special to TempleBeltonSports.com)
By GREG WILLE
Five minutes into the second quarter, Friday night's matchup of District 12-6A leaders Temple and Bryan was every bit the closely contested battle that both sides anticipated, with the host Wildcats clinging to a 6-0 lead.
But only 5 minutes of clock time later, Temple had transformed the showdown into a blowout.
Samari Howard's 29-yard catch-and-run touchdown off an Humberto Arizmendi screen pass sparked a blitzkrieg of 28 consecutive points in a span of 5 minutes, 9 seconds, and a swarming performance by Temple's defense kept the Vikings scoreless for the first three-plus quarters as the Wildcats stormed to a 44-7 homecoming victory on a cool, windswept evening at Wildcat Stadium.
In last week's 12-6A opener at Copperas Cove, Temple limited the Bulldawgs to 179 yards overall and shut them out after halftime en route to a 55-21 win. The Wildcats (4-1 overall, 2-0 in 12-6A) were even more stingy in their first district home game, holding Bryan (2-1, 1-1) to 80 passing yards and 149 yards total and shutting the Vikings out until 3 minutes into the fourth quarter.
“We're practicing hard, and hard work pays off,” Temple senior nose tackle Jayven Taylor said. “We're trying to be more aggressive than anybody in our district right now and physically dominate our opponents, so that way they know who we are.”
Temple's offense demonstrated stellar balance by passing for 243 yards and rushing for 239 in a 482-yard attack. Senior quarterback Arizmendi completed only nine passes, but they included touchdowns of 29 and 43 yards to junior running back Howard, 45 yards to junior Tr'Darius Taylor and 9 yards to senior Luke Allen, about half an hour before Allen was crowned as Temple's homecoming king. Arizmendi also connected with senior AJ McDuffy two times for a Wildcats-high 94 yards.
Howard carried 18 times for 122 yards and touchdowns of 3 and 1 yards in his fourth consecutive 100-yard rushing game. Including his three touchdowns at Copperas Cove, the versatile, hard-running Howard scored seven TDs in an eight-day span.
Was Temple head coach Scott Stewart surprised that a defense-dominated rock fight quickly became a 34-0 halftime lead for his Wildcats?
“Yes, but I also know it was a dogfight (into the second quarter),” Stewart said. “We made some plays and momentum got away from them a little bit, and Humberto settled in and started hitting his marks.”
With Temple reaching the regular season's halfway point with only one loss (to state-ranked Arlington Martin) and sharing the 12-6A lead with Belton and Killeen Shoemaker, Stewart is mostly pleased with what he's seeing, even if significant amounts of work and improvement still are needed.
“Evaluation-wise, I'm very proud of how blue-collar this team is. It's a business trip, even when it's home. How they prepare, I've been proud of that,” Stewart said. “We've got to focus on execution. The intensity seems to be there thus far. We've got a young group, so if they start thinking they've got something figured out, then we'll get humiliated. But I'm very proud of them. They play hard.
“Sometimes we get away from ourselves as far as technique and stuff like that, but that's called football. We've just got to keep that workman mentality, and if we can keep that blue-collar mentality I think we'll be OK.”
The Bryan squad of veteran head coach Ross Rogers entered with a 2-0 record but was a bit light on repetitions after COVID-19 problems forced the Vikings to cancel their final two non-district games. Bryan won its district opener 28-21 over Harker Heights thanks to a defensive stand with a minute remaining.
Temple had the game's opening possession and drove to Bryan's 21-yard line before stalling. Senior kicker Aaron Wagaman's 38-yard field goal attempt into a strong northwest wind had sufficient distance but missed wide left.
Bryan then recovered a fumble by Temple punt returner Tr'Darius Taylor at midfield but couldn't convert the Wildcats' only turnover of the night into points.
ALWAYS ON THE RUN: Temple junior running back Samari Howard (8) sprints along the right side as Bryan defender Andrew Ealoms gives chase during the host Wildcats' 44-7 win over the Vikings on Friday night. Howard rushed for 122 yards and two touchdowns and had scoring receptions of 29 and 43 yards from quarterback Humberto Arizmendi, giving Howard seven touchdowns in his last two games. He also was named junior prince during Temple's homecoming festivities at Wildcat Stadium. (Photo by Mike Lefner, Temple ISD/Special to TempleBeltonSports.com)
Starting from its 30 midway through the first quarter, Temple invaded Viking territory as McDuffy caught Arizmendi's long pass on the right side for a 50-yard gain to the 20. Arizmendi scampered for 11 yards on third-and-4, then Howard used good blocking for a 3-yard touchdown run. The 2-point conversion pass failed, leaving the Wildcats with a 6-0 lead with 4 minutes left in the opening period.
The Vikings advanced to the Wildcat 28 early in the second, but on fourth-and-3 sophomore quarterback Malcom Gooden was pummeled by Temple sophomore linebacker Taurean York for a 2-yard loss and a turnover on downs.
The Wildcats didn't begin to seize control of the game until 5 minutes into the second. Howard gained 24 yards on a patient, slashing run to the Bryan 24, then from the 29 Arizmendi received heavy pressure up the middle but tossed a screen pass over the linemen to Howard, who dashed through a gap for a 29-yard touchdown and a 13-0 lead after the first of Wagaman's five extra points.
On Bryan's ensuing possession, running back Tason Devault fumbled after catching a short pass and Temple junior end Eric Shorter recovered the ball at the Vikings 45. On the next snap, the speedy Tr'Darius Taylor sprinted past the secondary and caught Arizmendi's bomb at the 5 en route to the 45-yard touchdown and a 20-0 game 5:28 before halftime.
“Arizmendi kind of settled down and got used to this wind. He overthrew a couple early and then he threw some absolute dimes later on,” Stewart said of his first-year starting quarterback who last week threw two interceptions that Copperas Cove converted into touchdowns. “And what that does is it opens up the run game, because now you've got to worry (defensively) about those (receivers) running up and down the field and you've got to lighten the box a little bit.
“It was hard rock mining for the first quarter, but we kind of got in a groove and a rhythm. Humberto started feeling it and hitting his marks, and we're not bad when we can execute. He's starting to see the picture. As long as he can play clean and continue to improve . . . that was the challenge before the game.”
Disaster struck again for Bryan on its next snap, as Gooden made an errant option pitch and the ball squirted toward Temple's sideline before junior free safety O'Tarian Peoples recovered it at the Vikings 8. Howard gained 7 yards to the 1 before stretching the ball across the goal line on the next play for a 27-0 Wildcats advantage.
Temple's defense quickly stuffed Bryan's next possession, and a 14-yard punt into the stiff wind set the Wildcats up at the Vikings 47 with 3 minutes left until halftime. Howard then carved through the defense for gains of 17 and 15 yards and a 9-yarder on which Temple lost junior right tackle Colby Rice, who was helped off the field with a high ankle sprain.
RIGHT PLACE, RIGHT TIME: Temple senior wide receiver Luke Allen (12) beats Bryan defender Kenny Collins to catch a 9-yard touchdown pass from Humberto Arizmendi late in the second quarter of the Wildcats' 44-7 win over the Vikings on Friday night. During halftime at Wildcat Stadium, Allen was announced as Temple's homecoming king. (Photo by Mike Lefner, Temple ISD/Special to TempleBeltonSports.com)
From the 9, Allen beat his defender on an inside move and made a leaping catch of Arizmendi's pass for a touchdown and a commanding 34-0 lead 1:42 before halftime.
Temple's offense added the exclamation point 3 minutes into the third quarter when Howard got wide open down the left seam, caught Arizmendi's pass at the Bryan 25 and used a series of shifty moves to go the distance for a 43-yard touchdown and a 41-0 game.
Wagaman added a 25-yard field goal to begin the fourth quarter, and the Vikings finally got on the scoreboard with 9:09 remaining when Devault caught Gooden's short toss and dashed in for a 25-yard touchdown reception – the first points allowed by Temple in more than 60 minutes of clock time, dating back to late in the first half at Copperas Cove.
Jayven Taylor, a force in the middle of a Temple line that also features senior tackle Cody Little and junior ends Shorter and Tommy Torres, said his line crew is focused on doing all it can to set the tone for the Wildcats' feisty band of defenders.
“When we're all doing our job we're all right, so the linebackers can make the plays,” Taylor said. “We're like the unsung heroes right now. We've got a closer brotherhood than we did last year. That's what I like about it.”
Stewart made it clear that although he thinks the Wildcats' defensive line has plenty of room for improvement, he certainly approved of their performance against Bryan's skilled playmakers.
“I think every position group in the state of Texas has that pride deal and hangs on a mantra. That's what they want to do, and that's good. We've still got some technical stuff to work on, but I was very proud of how hard they played,” Stewart said. “They came out to try to establish the line of scrimmage and I thought by and large they did a pretty good job of that tonight against a pretty good offense. Bryan runs that zone-read arc and that speed option as good as anybody, so I was proud of those guys.”
TEAM DEFENSE: Temple sophomore linebacker Taurean York (5) and junior strong safety Johnny Donoso combine to tackle Bryan running back Tason Devault during the Wildcats' 44-7 homecoming victory over the Vikings on Friday night at Wildcat Stadium. Temple's defense limited Bryan's top three rushers -- Devault, Du'wayne Paulhill and quarterback Malcom Gooden -- to a combined 57 yards on 26 carries as the Wildcats allowed only 149 total yards and took a shutout into the fourth quarter. (Photo by Mike Lefner, Temple ISD/Special to TempleBeltonSports.com)
Two Temple defensive starters – junior outside linebacker/strong safety Marshall Grays and junior linebacker Faylin Lee – missed the first half against Bryan because of violations of team rules. Stewart said senior linebacker Javarrus Mackey and junior strong safety Johnny Donoso played admirably given their opportunities to start.
“I'm very proud of those guys,” Stewart said.
The Wildcats will seek a 3-0 district start when they travel to Killeen's Leo Buckley Stadium to battle Harker Heights (3-2, 1-1) at 7 p.m. next Thursday. The Knights edged Killeen Ellison 35-34 on Friday.
TEMPLE 44, BRYAN 7
Bryan 0 0 0 7 – 7
Temple 6 28 7 3 – 44
Temple – Samari Howard 3 run (pass failed), 4:07.
Temple – Howard 29 pass from Humberto Arizmendi (Aaron Wagaman kick), 6:51.
Temple – Tr'Darius Taylor 45 pass from Arizmendi (Wagaman kick), 5:28.
Temple – Howard 1 run (Wagaman kick), 4:29.
Temple – Luke Allen 9 pass from Arizmendi (Wagaman kick), 1:42.
Temple – Howard 43 pass from Arizmendi (Wagaman kick), 8:34.
Temple – Wagaman 25 field goal, 11:54.
Bryan – Tason Devault 25 pass from Malcom Gooden (Nico Bulhof kick), 9:09.
First downs: Bryan 11; Temple 20.
Rushes-yards: Bryan 29-69; Temple 40-239.
Passing yards: Bryan 80; Temple 243.
Completions-attempts-interceptions: Bryan 11-22-0; Temple 9-18-0.
Punts-average: Bryan 8-41; Temple 3-34.
Fumbles-lost: Bryan 2-2; Temple 2-1.
Penalties-yards: Bryan 8-60; Temple 8-85.
Rushing – Bryan: Devault 9-26, Gooden 10-19, Du'wayne Paulhill 7-12, Tate Schneringer 2-9, Bulhof 1-3; Temple: Howard 18-122, Jalen Robinson 5-58, Bryce Langrum 5-36, Mikal Harrison-Pilot 3-19, Thomas McVade 2-10, Arizmendi 5-5, team 2-(-11).
Passing – Bryan: Gooden 10-20-0-79, Bulhof 1-2-0-1; Temple: Arizmendi 9-15-0-243, Harrison-Pilot 0-3-0-0.
Receiving – Bryan: Devault 3-32, Hunter Vivaldi 2-15, Isaiah Rodriguez 1-10, De'marion Johnson 2-10, Aleks Kalaouze 1-8, Schneringer 2-5; Temple: AJ McDuffy 2-94, Howard 2-72, Taylor 1-45, Ke'Andre Smith 2-21, Allen 1-9, Harrison-Pilot 1-2.