MINERAL WELLS — Glen Rose football coach Cliff Watkins couldn’t have scripted a more perfect game than the Tigers played last Friday night in their 51-20 victory over Mineral Wells.
The Tigers (2-1) notched season-best results in several offensive and defensive categories: points (51); passing yards (358); total yards (508); rushing yards (150) turnovers (none); forced turnovers (5); punts (none); fewest pass completions allowed (4); and fewest passing yards allowed (35).
“Mineral Wells is not a bad football team, and I thought we came out and played really well,” Watkins said. “Without seeing the film, I think this is the best game we have played to date.”
But he hopes the Tigers aren’t satisfied.
“We know we have to be able to learn from the mistakes we made and be hungry to get better,” he said.
The Tigers host Carrollton Ranchview tonight (Friday, Sept. 22) at 7:30 p.m. at Tiger Stadium. The Wolves handled the Tigers last year 41-14. The Wolves enter the game 2-1 after dropping a 48-14 decision at West last week. Their wins are over Castleberry (48-6) and Wills Point (33-30).
“They’ll be a very good football team,” Watkins said. “They put it on us last year up there, so we’ll have our work cut out for us. Last year, we turned the ball over four or five times. Hopefully, we can copy what we did (against Minerals Wells) on the turnover battle. If we win the turnover battle then we’ll give ourselves a chance.”
Like their two previous games this season, the Tigers started out fast at Mineral Wells and scored on their first possession of the game — a 2-yard run by Sam McPherson just over two minutes into the game.
The Rams answered at the 6:20 mark of the quarter to tie the game at 7-7, but from there on it was all Tigers.
After Mineral Wells tied it, the Tigers scored on their next six possessions to put the game out of reach.
Glen Rose quarterback Cameron Griffin scored on a 1-yard run late in the first quarter to increase the lead to 13-7.
Following a Mineral Wells punt, Jess Niedziela hauled in a 33-yard touchdown pass. After a Drayden James interception gave the ball back to the Tigers offense, Reynaldo Reyna booted a 23-yard FG.
The Glen Rose defense forced a fumble deep in Mineral Wells territory, and Griffin hit Tyler Torres with a 7-yard scoring strike to up the lead to 30-7 with 3:45 left in the second quarter, but the Tigers weren’t done.
Following a Mineral Wells fumble on the ensuing kickoff, Harrison Hawkins scored on a 6-yard pass from Griffin to give the Tigers a 37-7 lead at the break.
“We had three straight possessions with a turnover where they scored, and once that happened it was over in a hurry,” Mineral Wells head coach Gerald Perry told the Mineral Wells Index. “You can't do that against that kind of team. They're real good on offense and defense, and we have a long ways to go.”
The Tigers, who hadn’t scored in the second quarter in their previous two games, hung 24 points on the Rams in the second stanza alone, while holding the Rams scoreless.
“We started out fast like we have the first two weeks, but our emphasis this week was to keep our sense of urgency,” Watkins said. “We feel like we’ve started fast and then kind of relaxed and that’s when they get back into games.
“We started fast, and at the end of the first quarter, we reminded the guys that this is how we have started every game, and now we have to continue that. I was proud of them that they continued throughout the game.”
In the second half, Torres added a 7-yard run and a 73-yard touchdown reception to give him three TDs on the night.
“That was a team win — offensively, defensively and special teams,” Watkins said. “We had guys stepping up on both sides of the ball. Offensively, we were able to get the ball to a lot of different people. There wasn’t one person they could key on. There were people all over the field making plays. Defensively, we had guys flying to the ball and being physical, and that’s what was creating those turnovers.”
The Rams scored touchdowns in the third and fourth quarters when the game was well out of reach.
Defensively, the Tigers held the Rams to 316 yards total offense (35 passing, 281 rushing). Keegan Bunt led the Tigers with 11 stops, while James added eight and Logan Thames, Bryan Pounds and Ricky Douglas had seven each. Justin Huckabee and River Costello added six each and two and one sack, respectively. Douglas, Costello, James and Dakota Paschall also recovered fumbles.
Offensively, Griffin completed 23 of 36 passes to seven different receivers for 358 yards and four scores. He also added a team-high 53 yards rushing, while Teddy Stames and McPherson added 44 and 36 yards, respectively, on nine carries each.
On the receiving side, the Tigers had four players with 59 yards or more led by Torres (7, 130); Paschall (4, 68); Niedziela (3, 65); and Hawkins (5, 59).