LAKE WORTH — This was the game that Glen Rose football fans, players and coaches all were anxiously waiting for: The first win of the 2016 season.
It was an impressive breakout game for the offense paired with a sterling defensive performance as the Tigers whipped the Lake Worth Bullfrogs, 48-7.
The triumph halted the Tigers’ winless skid as they improved to 1-4 on the season. Lake Worth is also 1-4.
The Tigers picked up almost 500 yards in total offense — including 5 touchdown passes thrown by quarterback Ethan Hartman — and the defense almost notched a shutout in the huge road victory.
Hartman threw for 302 yards, completing 18 of 28 passes with no interceptions. Kully Reynolds tied a school record by catching three TD passes in the game, with five receptions for 102 yards overall. Teammate Tyler Torres added six receptions for 53 yards for the Tigers.
First-year Glen Rose head coach Cliff Watkins said his players should benefit from the win heading into district play.
“They were excited to get that first win,” Watkins said. “The kids deserved that. They’ve been working hard.”
The Tigers have an open date – no game – this week, giving them some extra time to hopefully have some players return to the lineup who have been sidelined with injuries.
“We will get a chance to get some guys back,” Watkins said. “We had some guys playing in different positions and playing both ways. It will help us, depth-wise.”
The Tigers will play the first of five District 4-4A, Division II games, Oct. 7 at 2-3 Venus (7:30 p.m. kickoff).
For fans who can’t make it to the games, the action is broadcast on the Glen Rose radio station, KOME 95.3 FM. The radio pregame show is set for 7:15 p.m.
After a scoreless opening quarter, the Tigers gained a 14-0 halftime lead before putting away the Bullfrogs with four touchdowns in the third quarter.
Watkins noted that his Tigers allowed just 132 yards in total offense.
The lone TD for the Bullfrogs came after they recovered a punt attempt at the Glen Rose 1-yard line late in the game. The punt hit the back of a Glen Rose player and bounced backward, giving the Bullfrogs the generous field position.
“We got after it all night,” Watkins said. “We tackled well most of the night. It was good to see our kids play with that much confidence. We forced three turnovers. Both of our touchdowns in the second quarter were pretty good drives. We had a lot of good things happen in the second half.”
The score could have been even greater, if not for a fumble in the first quarter. Glen Rose moved the ball at the Lake Worth 10-yard line and Hartman threw a pass to one of his receivers. After catching the pass, a hit by a Lake Worth player jarred the ball loose and it rolled out of the end zone for a touchback.
Reynolds was also one of the top defensive performers on the night, with six solo tackles, two assists and one tackle for a loss from his middle linebacker spot.
Also, Glen Rose linebacker Bryce Stamey had six solo tackles and two tackles for a loss while causing a fumble and recovering one, and Corbin Henrich recorded three solo stops, two tackles for a loss and had one quarterback sack and one pressure.
The defense also got in on the scoring assault, when Jake Andersen intercepted a Lake Worth pass and returned it 67 yards for a TD, which gave the Tigers a 41-0 lead late in the third quarter.
The first two TD catches on the night for Reynolds came in the second quarter, from 45 and 14 yards out thrown by Hartman.
Hartman continued to connect after intermission, hitting Brazos Overton for a 33-yard TD pass and Dakota Paschall on a 25-yard score that made it 28-0.
After Anderson’s interception return made it 41-0, the Tigers added their final TD in the fourth quarter when Hartman scored on a keeper from a yard out.
That gave Glen Rose a 48-0 edge before the Bullfrogs avoided the shutout in the closing minutes as the Glen Rose punt went awry.
“It was good to see our kids play with this much confidence,” Watkins said. “It’s kind of a relief to have that success, and hopefully that win will carry over into district."