GLEN ROSE — The Glen Rose Tigers have won 10 straight district football games and back-to-back district titles, and their run at a three-peat begins Friday when they travel to Hillsboro for the District 4-4A opener.
“We’re excited to get district started and now the games really count. We have to focus and fine-tune some things and start playing our best football,” Glen Rose football coach Cliff Watkins said. “Our main goal is to take it one game at a time. Our focus this week has been on Hillsboro and on ourselves getting better. If we can take care of one week at a time, the rest will take care of itself.”
Hillsboro (3-3) enters the 7:30 p.m. contest with the Tigers (4-1) following a 33-27 loss to Wills Point, while the Tigers enter after drubbing Gatesville 59-23 last week.
Glen Rose senior quarterback Cameron Griffin threw six touchdown passes and ran for another in leading the Tigers to the lopsided victory over the Hornets. He connected on 16 of 22 passes for 274 yards and didn’t throw an interception. For the year, he has 21 touchdown passes with just one interception.
Defensively, the Tigers made two huge fourth-down stops in the first quarter that set the tone for the remainder of the game.
Seven plays into the game, Griffin hit Brady Taylor with an 18-yard scoring strike and the Tigers led 8-0. On the Hornets’ first drive, the Tiger defense held on a fourth-and-9 just inside Tiger territory.
Three plays later, the Tigers fumbled for the first of two times, to give the ball back to the Hornets near midfield. Gatesville drove the ball to the Glen Rose 1-yard line and faced a fourth-and-goal. On the play, Glen Rose’s River Costello shot the gap and wrestled down the ball carrier for a 4-yard loss to get the ball back for the Tigers.
“The defense did a phenomenal job of getting off the field by getting stops and getting us the ball back,” Watkins said. “That was a huge momentum shift. They were going in to tie the game, and for us, to get that stop gave our defense a lot of confidence and gave is a lot of momentum for the rest of the game.”
Early in the second quarter, the Hornets eventually scored to cut the lead to 8-6, but the Tigers outscored the Hornets 24-3 in the second quarter to put the game deep in the freezer by halftime.
Griffin hit Harrison Hawkins with a 40-yard strike, Davis Shackelford made an acrobatic catch and dive for a 27-yard score and Griffin capped off the run with a 1-yard run to increase the score to 32-6 before Gatesville converted a field goal just before the half.
In the second half, Griffin had TD passes to Samuel McPherson (25 yards); Teddy Starnes (17 yards); and Shackelford (23 yards), and Garrett Gilbreath scored on a 1-yard run.
“We have always been able to have big plays, but we talked going in that Gatesville is sound defensively and that’s what they don’t want to give up, and we had to put some seven-, eight-, nine-play drives together,” Watkins said. “It was good to know that we can put drives together if we don’t get the big play we are looking for. It was something we haven’t had to do in a while.”
In addition to throwing for 274 yards, Griffin rushed for 97 yards on 12 carries. Gilbreath, playing for the injured Westen Halcom, rushed for 118 yards on 15 carries. Before leaving the game, Halcom had 56 yards on nine carries, snapping his streak of four straight 100 yards games, and only his third game less than 100 yards in 15 games.
Hawkins led the Tigers with five receptions for 88 yards and Shackelford and five catches for 80 yards.
Ricky Douglas led the Tigers with 16 tackles, while Braylen Meador had 11. Keegan Bunt had nine tackles and three of the Tigers’ seven sacks. Starnes recorded an interception and Shackelford recovered a fumble.