It wasn’t the finish that the Glen Rose Tigers’ players, coaches and fans imagined when fall workouts began in early August, but the regular season came to a close Friday nonetheless.
Alvarado toppled Glen Rose 44-24 on Senior Night at Tiger Stadium to claim the outright District 8-3A championship.
“We knew coming in, they’d be tough to stop,” said Glen Rose head coach Tommy Dunn. “We knew we would have to consistently move the ball on offense. We had some tough breaks go against us and they made plays when they had to. They’re 9-1 for a reason.”
The Indians took the opening kickoff and wasted no time getting on the board. They capped off a seven-play drive with a 2-yard scamper to lead 7-0.
Glen Rose caught a break at the end of the ensuing possession when a punt touched an Alvarado player and a Tiger pounced on it to give the Tigers new life at the Indian 35-yard line.
The Tigers would capitalize after a 33-yard run by Chase Evatt set up a 1-yard quarterback keeper by Anders Dahl for a touchdown. The Tanner Tongate kick knotted the score at 7-7 with 4:16 left in the first quarter.
Following a long kickoff return by Alvarado junior Tyler Bates the Indians needed just three plays and 16 yards to score again. They led the rest of the way.
After a Glen Rose punt and ann Alvarado touchdown, Dahl was picked off by Bates.
The Tiger defense answered by forcing a fumble that was recovered by Cody Burtscher on the Tiger 19-yard line.
The offense was unable to take advantage.
With starting center Brandon Oliver already on the sideline, backup center Jesse Garza went down with an apparent knee injury. On the next play, the snap to 6-4 quarterback Colton Bretton sailed high and out of the back of the end zone for an Alvarado safety.
On the ensuing kickoff, Bates took the kick back to the Tiger six-yard line which led to another touchdown run at the 5:13 mark of the second quarter.
Bates struck again on defense on the next Tiger possession with his second interception of the game.
The Indians led 37-7 at halftime.
“We knew where No. 2 (Bates) was at all times,” said Dunn. “Both of Anders’ interceptions by him were thrown to receivers he wasn’t even covering. He was all over the field. We knew where he was and tried to not go right at him, but good players make plays.”
The second half continued in the same fashion as Glen Rose was stripped of the ball to open the half and it led to the final Alvarado touchdown of the night to lead 44-7.
Glen Rose got back on the board on the next possession with a 34-yard field goal from Tongate.
After the Tiger defense forced a four-and-out, Evatt ran a screen pass from Bretton 48 yards to the house to make the score 44-17 just after the start of the fourth quarter.
After another defensive stop, the Tigers pulled out the tricks with a reverse pass with Bretton handing the ball to receiver Kevin Brooks, who found Wesley Pritchard in the end zone for a 31-yard score to provide the final tally.
Bretton was the top QB, going 6-9 through the air for 146 yards and a touchdown, while Dahl was just 3-9 for 16 yards and three interceptions.
Brooks was the top receiver with 51 yards on four catches.
Evatt ended his Tiger career with a 133-yard rushing performance on 22 carries. Dahl had 10 carries for 51 yards from under center.
Burtscher and Colin Lane were the top defensive players for Glen Rose with 16 and 15 tackles respectively. Burtscher had one tackle for a loss.
A trio of Tigers - Brooks, Ben Mungia and Jared Thames - had six tackles.
“When the season started, we obviously played our worst game of the year,” said Dunn. “We got better until West. In that game, I think our defense took a step forward and our offense took a step backward. We’re done, not because of a lack of effort by anyone, but just because that’s how the season turned out.”
On the season, Lane was the defensive tackle leader with 86, including 65 solo stops, 11 tackles for a loss and three sacks. Burtscher tallied 68 despite missing the first two games of the season. The sophomore also had a team-high four pass break-ups, four fumble recoveries and two interceptions.
Stetson Murdock (62) and Curran Morrison (60) also reached the 60-tackle plateau.
Offensively, Evatt racked up 800 yards and eight touchdowns on 137 carries.
Brooks was the high receiver with 816 yards and eight TDs on 44 catches. Justin Weatherly and Evatt were the other top receivers with 245 and 375 yards on 24 receptions each.
Frank Brandenburg was 103-203 for 1,414 yards through the air before going down in the seventh game of the season with a foot injury.
The senior class will leave holes for the Tigers to fill at key positions including running back and middle linebacker.
“It was a pleasure and an honor to be able to coach these seniors,” said Dunn. “They are disappointed in how the season turned out and I’m disappointed for them. They are great kids.”