WEEK 2 AREA HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL PREVIEW: Belton, Lake Belton, Salado, Academy seeking 2-0 starts
By GREG WILLE
BELTON – After scoring the go-ahead touchdown with 3 minutes remaining and pulling out a season-opening 35-31 win at Georgetown last Friday, the Belton Tigers seek to get off to a 2-0 when they host the Round Rock Dragons (1-0) at 7:30 tonight at Tiger Field.
Belton trailed 31-28 before senior receiver Seth Morgan caught a 44-yard touchdown pass from sophomore quarterback Ty Brown with 3 minutes left for a 35-31 lead. The Tigers’ defense then stopped the Eagles’ final drive to secure Belton’s first season-opening victory since 2015.
It also was the first non-district win for second-year head coach Brett Sniffin, whose Tigers went 0-3 in non-league action last season.
Competing with junior Slade LeBlanc for Belton’s starting quarterback job, Brown entered in the second quarter and completed 18 of 22 passes for 270 yards and four touchdowns with no interceptions. Brown threw two scoring passes each to Morgan (eight catches, 119 yards) and Houston-committed senior tight end Bryan “Itty” Henry (five receptions, 91 yards).
Belton’s defense allowed 242 passing yards and 432 overall but did get key interceptions from Aaron Bain and Connor Whitman.
Tonight the Tigers face a stiff challenge against Round Rock, which clobbered Waco Midway 69-17 in the season opener. Senior running back Trayvian McCoy-Gay rushed for 245 yards and four touchdowns, and sophomore quarterback Mason Cochran rushed for 132 yards and threw three TD passes to pace the Dragons’ blowout victory for 12th-year head coach Jeff Cheatham, the former Salado coach.
Belton will seek to avenge its 35-33 loss last year at Round Rock, where the Dragons’ Ty Dillon blocked a late field goal that would have won it for the Tigers.
Following first varsity victory, Lake Belton
eyes 2-0 start at FW Arlington Heights
Lake Belton’s second-year program recorded the first varsity-level win in program history last Friday, defeating Mexia 42-21 at Belton’s Tiger Field.
At 7 tonight in Fort Worth, head coach Brian Cope’s Broncos have an opportunity to grab their first varsity road win when they battle Fort Worth Arlington Heights (1-0) at Farrington Field.
Lake Belton, which went 9-1 last season against a junior varsity schedule, is playing a 10-game independent schedule this year before the Broncos join a University Interscholastic League football district for the first time in 2022.
Junior quarterback Connor Crews paced Lake Belton’s season-opening victory against Mexia. He went 13-of-21 passing for 216 yards with two touchdowns and rushed for 90 yards and two TDs. Both of Crews’ scoring passes went to sophomore receiver Micah Hudson, who made eight catches for 173 yards.
Lake Belton played strong defense against Mexia, allowing 265 total yards. Sophomore Peanut Brazzle and junior Bruce Onchweri made 11 tackles apiece and Brazzle also had an interception.
Arlington Heights won its opener 33-28 over Fort Worth O.D. Wyatt. The Lake Belton matchup will help the Yellowjackets prepare for their next game, at Class 5A No. 1-ranked Aledo.
Salado seeks to build on blowout of Troy
with road showdown vs. No. 4 Grandview
SALADO – The Salado Eagles started their season out in dominant style by beating Troy 62-0 last Friday at Mary Hardin-Baylor’s Crusader Stadium in Belton. To improve to 2-0, Salado must get through a much more formidable opponent.
Head coach Alan Haire’s Class 4A Division II Eagles hit the road to battle 3A Division I No. 4-ranked Grandview (1-0), whose Zebras edged Malakoff 24-21 last Friday. That result avenged Grandview’s 24-21 loss to Malakoff in a regional semifinal last year that was the Zebras’ lone defeat against 11 victories.
It’s a rematch of Salado’s 21-7 home loss a year ago to Grandview, which then was the two-time defending 3A Division I state champion.
Salado dominated in all facets as it steamrolled past Troy at UMHB in the Trojans’ first game with head coach Stephen Hermesmeyer.
The Eagles’ Slot-T offense racked up 374 rushing yards and 443 total, paced by 119 ground yards and two touchdowns from junior halfback Caden Strickland. Senior quarterback Hutton Haire ran for two TDs, and senior Aidan Wilson and junior Seth Reavis each ran for one TD.
Senior Josh Huckabee caught a 45-yard scoring pass from Haire and also made 10 tackles to complement 12 stops by senior Nic Bates and 11 by junior Nolan Miller. Salado’s stubborn defense limited Troy to minus-3 yards rushing and 57 overall.
Following rivalry victory over Rogers,
Academy seeks 2-0 start vs. Clifton
LITTLE RIVER-ACADEMY – The Academy Bumblebees got their season off to a successful start by beating rival Rogers 38-28 last Friday at John Glover Stadium. They have an opportunity to improve to 6-0 in non-district games with second-year head coach Chris Lancaster when they host Clifton (0-1) at 7:30 tonight.
Taking over as Academy’s starting quarterback, sophomore Kasey Mraz recorded a productive and efficient debut against Rogers as the Bees earned their second straight win in the longtime series. The left-handed Mraz was 15-of-21 passing for 246 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions.
Senior Darion Franklin caught six passes for 83 yards and two touchdowns, senior Blake Bundy made a 55-yard TD reception and junior Scout Brazeal added four catches for 83 yards along with eight tackles on defense. Sophomore running back Zane Clark paced Academy’s ground game, rushing for 108 yards and two touchdowns on 15 carries.
Clifton compiled only 197 yards on offense – sophomore Riley Finney rushed for 107 and a touchdown – in its season-opening 14-6 home loss to Bosqueville. The Cubs lost 17-10 at home to Academy a year ago.
The Bees, who went 7-4 last year in Lancaster's first season, will play road games against Groesbeck and Lago Vista before they begin District 11-3A Division I play Sept. 24 at home against defending champion and league favorite Lorena.
After losing opener at rival Academy,
Rogers aims to respond vs. San Saba
ROGERS – After losing their season opener 38-28 at rival Academy last week, the Rogers Eagles shoot to break into the win column when they host the San Saba Armadillos (0-1) at 7:30 tonight at Merk Field.
Coach Charlie Roten and Class 3A Division II Rogers seek to avenge their 24-21 loss at 2A Division I San Saba a year ago. After compiling a 35-5 record from 2018-20, the Armadillos are looking to bounce back from their opening 42-20 loss at Eldorado.
Rogers seeks to upgrade its offense production after being limited to 293 yards (62 passing) by Academy. Christian Riley led the Eagles with 121 rushing yards and one touchdown, while fellow senior Ivan Lopez added two TD runs.
The Eagles also want improvement on defense after allowing 246 passing yards and 169 rushing against Academy.
Rogers didn’t make any interceptions in its opener, but the Eagles' defenders might have a better opportunity tonight. San Saba quarterback Lance Taylor threw six interceptions against Eldorado, though he also completed 28 of 60 attempts for 403 yards and two touchdowns.
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