SPRINGTOWN — The Glen Rose Tigers suffered their first loss of the season Friday night with a 49-43 setback to the Springtown Porcupines, snapping an 11-game regular-season winning streak.
Despite amassing more than 500 yards total offense for the third time this season, the Tigers (2-1) came up a touchdown short in giving up over 548 yards total offense, including 406 yards on the ground.
“We talked to our guys all last week that we had to be great in all three phases: offense, defense and special teams,” Glen Rose football coach Cliff Watkins said. “There were a lot of things that contributed to our loss.”
A 7-yard touchdown run by quarterback Cameron Griffin early in the third quarter gave the Tigers a 27-20 lead, but they gave up a 90-yard kickoff return for a touchdown on the ensuing play, and that completely changed the complexion of the game. The TD run was the first of three consecutive Porcupine scores in building a 41-27 lead, and the Tigers were unable to recover.
“That shifted everything,” Watkins said. “We tried to get back in it, but we couldn’t get that last stop to get a chance.”
The Tigers clawed their way back into the game on a 2-yard run by Westen Halcom and a 14-yard pass from Griffin to Harrison Hawkins to cut the lead to 41-35. The Porcupines put the game away with a 26-yard touchdown early in the fourth quarter in pushing the lead to 49-35.
Glen Rose added a late touchdown on a 14-yard pass from Griffin to Hawkins, but the Porcupines ran out the remainder of the clock to seal the win.
“We didn’t tackle well, and we gave up two big plays on special teams,” Watkins said.
The two teams traded scores in the opening half, and three Griffin TD passes to Davis Shackelford (2 yards), Halcom (55 yards) and Hawkins (30 yards) gave the Tigers a 20-13 lead just before the half. The Tigers, however, fumbled a Porcupine punt on their own 6-yard line, and Springtown capitalized on the turnover to tie the score at 20-20 at the half.
“It was a little bit here and a little bit there,” Watkins said to the contributing factors to the loss. “Again, it goes back to all three phases.”
Griffin completed 22 of 44 passes for 377 yards and four touchdowns. He also carried the ball 13 times for 77 yards. Halcom went over 100 yards for the third time this year with 112 yards in 22 carries while adding 116 yards receiving on six receptions. Hawkins finished with 103 yards and two scores on five catches, while Shackelford added 63 yards in seven catches.
Braylen Meador led the defense with 18 stops, while Shackelford added 16 and Bryan Pounds and Ricky Douglas recorded 11 and 10 tackles, respectively. Jess Niedziela and Keegan Bunt recorded the Tigers’ two sacks.
For the third straight week, the Tigers allowed an opposing running back to rush for more than 250 yards, and that’s something Watkins said they need to correct right away before taking on another power running team in Sunnyvale on Friday night in Sunnyvale.
“There is no reason to give up that many rushing yards, and it’s our tackling. Especially in the second half, we haven’t tackled well,” Watkins said. “That’s our emphasis. We’re going to practice it every single day and that should carry over to Friday night. I know our guys want to do it and they are going to step up and make the plays. I have faith in those guys. We just have to be better tacklers.”
The Raiders, who are ranked in the top 10 in every Class 4A Div. II poll, are averaging 325 yards rushing in their three wins this season. Ronnie Mcada leads the Raiders with 112 yards per game, while Emmanuel Arinze and Brian Perry Jr. are averaging 84.7 and 78.3 yards, respectively.
“They are going to line it up and run it right at us, and that’s what we need. If we want to be better tacklers, we are going to have to be better tacklers this week or it’s going to be another long night,” Watkins said.
The game is set to kick off at 7:30 p.m. and can be heard live of 95.3 K-Hits.