For the first time since the 2015 season, the Glen Rose football team won its season opener with a decisive 52-30 victory over Grandview Friday night at Tiger Stadium.
In the previous two seasons, the Zebras got the best of the Tigers, but this year, the Glen Rose rushed for 300 yards and added 290 through the air in scoring 48 points for more in their ninth straight regular-season win.
“It was good for those guys with all the work they have put in to get a win their first time out,” said third-year Glen Rose head coach Cliff Watkins. “That was our goal to win the first one. Now we have to find a way to get better and win the next one. It’s a good way to start, and we can build off that.”
Senior running back Westen Halcom carried the ball 20 times for 165 yards and three touchdowns, and quarterback Cameron Griffin completed 17 of 30 passes for 290 yards and two scores while rushing for 91 more and a TD. Halcom also hauled in six catches for 89 yards.
“I thought offensively we did some good things,” Watkins said. “We talked to the guys and told them we scored 52 points, but we felt like we left 14 points out on the field. We have high expectations and we want to go out and score every time we have the ball. Those guys have done a great job executing and taking care of the football.”
The Tigers will look to make it two in a row in their homecoming game Friday night at 7:30 p.m. when they host Waco Connally, a team that beat Palestine, 42-26, in its season opener last week.
“Connally is a very, very talented football team. They beat a good Palestine team, and they have a lot of guys back from last year,” Watkins said. “It’s going to be a challenge for us to go out and execute and tackle and do the things we need to do to get a win.”
Connally running back Jay’Veon Sunday racked up 296 yards and four scores in the first game, and Watkins said one key will be to stop him.
“If we don’t fix our tackling, it’s going to be a long night,” he said. “We’re going to have to get after him.”
In the win over the Zebras, the Glen Rose offense scored on seven of its 10 possessions in the game en route to the 22-point victory.
After the Zebras took the early 7-0 lead midway through the first quarter, Halcom added touchdown runs of 37 and 1 yards later in the quarter to give the Tigers the lead for good at 14-7.
Glen Rose kept its foot on the gas and scored 24 second-quarter points to lead 38-15 at the break.
Running back Garrett Gilbreath opened the scoring in the quarter, capping a nine-play drive with three consecutive runs with the latter being a 3-yard TD run less than two minutes into the second quarter.
The Zebras cut the lead to 22-15 with a touchdown with 8:57 left in the quarter, but Halcom responded with a 1-yard run two minutes later.
Harrison Hawkins hauled in a 66-yard pass from Griffin late in the quarter to put the game well out of reach.
Halcom added this third score of the game in the second half, and Jess Niedziela, who had two catches for 28 yards, added a scoring reception in the second half as well.
Defensively, Bryan Pounds paced the Tigers with 17 tackles (10 solo) and Davis Shackelford and Teddy Starnes added 11 and 10 stops, respectively. Braylen Meadow and Nick Rebollosa added eight each and Keegan Bunt and Ricky Douglas had seven each. Niedziela had the Tigers’ lone quarterback sack.