A week after facing a quality Grandview team, Glen Rose hit the road Aug. 22 to deal with an explosive opponent in the Waco La Vega Pirates.
Though the Pirates controlled the action at times, Glen Rose had its moments – especially in the middle of the scrimmage. La Vega “won” the scrimmage by scoring three touchdowns compared to one for the Tigers.
“We’re still getting a lot of people used to the varsity experience,” said head coach Tommy Dunn. “I see a big difference from last week in the way that we executed certain things.”
Defensive coordinator Todd Swearengin appreciated the adversity.
“That’s one of the top teams in their region and it was a great challenge,” Swearengin said. “I always like playing them, because we get to see athletes that we won’t usually see until the playoffs.”
The scrimmage was comprised of two offensive possessions for each team and then a live quarter.
After the Tigers were prevented from getting a first down on their initial drive, Hayden Holder completed a 30-yard pass to Colton Bumpas that was called back.
“That was a hustle foul with a block in the back, but we can’t make those,” Dunn said.
On the following drive, a seven-yard Bumpas possession did garner the first Tiger chain mover. La Vega stopped that drive and the following two before the Tigers got their next first down with a 16-yard Jed Bridges reception that saw him drag multiple defenders.
“We started out pretty well and were dinking it down the field, then we just got out of control and didn’t complete some simple passes,” Dunn said.
Glen Rose added a third first down on a penalty before the La Vega offense took over. On the third play for La Vega, a short completion to the outside turned into a footrace and a 64-yard touchdown.
“They came out in something they’d never done before with the wide trips on the touchdown,” Swearengin said. “Our (poor) tackling was what cost us.”
La Vega was effective, as it finished with eight first downs on its opening possession. Hayden Swearengin made the first notable play for the defense with a tackle for loss. Heath Nicholson then added a tackle for loss.
After a Braxton Barrios tackle for no gain, the quarterback fumbled the ball, picked it up and had several seconds to survey the field. He made the Tigers pay with a 32-yard touchdown pass down the middle.
“I had a couple of guys in there with (defensive line) starters in front of them injured and a mistake in our rush gave the quarterback too much time,” Swearengin said. “I did think Miguel Barraza did a good job at nose guard and (defensive end) Jed gets better at his position every week.”
La Vega had a touchdown pass called back on a hold, and late in the possession Nicholson came up with a sack.
“Heath has come on and he needs to continue to improve,” Swearengin said.
Glen Rose was at its best during its second offensive possession, as Colton Miller ran for 11 yards on the first play.
“Colton has been in this program for many years, and when he gets a chance he wants to make the most of it,” Dunn said.
Three plays later, Colten Lane connected with Ethan Hartman for a 12-yard gain. A seven-yard Carlin Linnabery run gave the Tigers another first down.
“We have to utilize all the guys who can help,” Dunn said. “I thought Reece Nickell and really all our young guys up front – (Jonathan) Rios, (Shane) Moore, (Braxton) Barrios, (Matt) Willis – all stepped it up.”
Glen Rose came up with its fourth first down in a row to the tune of a 28-yard Hartman touchdown down the middle from Lane.
“I thought Colten was pretty good in the pocket,” Dunn said. “Hartman did a good job running his routes and Colten put it where he could catch it.”
The Tiger defense was also at its best in the second possession. In fact, La Vega managed just one first down. Swearengin came up with a sack and then a tackle for loss. Hartman sacked the quarterback to force a fumble and recover the ball, and then he added a tackle for loss.
“Hayden and our outside linebackers in general – Jayton (Dillard), Ethan – are getting better,” the coach said. “Ethan was getting in there on the blitz and making plays.”
In the live quarter, the Tigers had two offensive drives and weren’t able to come up with a first down.
“We didn’t execute the plays correctly,” Dunn said. “We had plays designed to go to certain people and weren’t 100-percent ready. That’s my fault, so I’ll make sure we do a better job in game situations.”
The Tiger defense allowed a single first down by the Pirates on their initial drive and then forced a punt. After a short Tiger punt minutes later, La Vega set up shop at the Glen Rose 25.
On first down, a strong run to the outside with several broken tackles took La Vega to the Tiger 1. The Pirates scored on the next play.
“Missed tackles hurt and allowed him to cut it back on us,” Swearengin said. Although La Vega garnered a couple of first downs on its last drive, the Tigers didn’t allow another end zone visit.
“Our corners Alex (Cocita) and Nathan (Smith) gave up a couple of plays, but they’re getting better,” Swearengin said.