GODLEY — Following their loss to Springtown in Week 3 in which the Tigers allowed a season-high 49 points, the Glen Rose coaching staff challenged the defense to get better.
“They took that personal and realized that’s not who we want to be and we had to fix it if we wanted to be a physical football team, and they stepped up to the challenge,” Glen Rose football coach Cliff Watkins said.
“Ever since the Springtown game, we have been physical and flying around. We’re playing sound and not making the mental mistakes and giving away cheap points. We need to keep building on that.”
Most recently, the Tiger defense held Godley to just 118 yards total offense and just one touchdown in a 55-8 victory Friday night in Godley to wrap up Glen Rose’s third consecutive district championship.
“We talked at the start of the year that it’s an expectation,” Watkins said. “Our goals are beyond that. That’s something these guys expected to do and did. Now we have to get better and be playing our best football in a few weeks when the playoffs get here to reach the goals these guys have set.”
In the last three games with Ferris, Hillsboro and Godley, the Tiger defense is allowing just 168 yards total offense and just 10.3 points per game.
The Tigers (7-1, 3-0) will have a week off before hosting Venus in the season finale Nov. 9 where they can clinch their third consecutive undefeated district season.
In the win over the Wildcats, Ricky Douglas led the Tiger defense with 14 tackles and Braylen Meador added 11, while Bryan Pounds had eight. Jess Niedziela, River Costello and Cory Aper had quarterback sacks.
The Tiger defense didn’t allow a first down in the first half, and Godley only ran more than three plays in a drive only one time in its seven first-half drives. The only time the Wildcats didn’t go three-and-out came on their first drive when the went for it on fourth down and were turned away.
“People feel like they have to take some chances to be able to score and keep up,” Watkins said. “The defense is doing a great job because people are going for it on fourth down and most of the time our defense is getting off the field.”
Offensively, the Tigers amassed 668 yards total offense, but they only had eight points after the first quarter, thanks to a pair of costly turnovers.
The defense, however, made sure the turnovers didn’t hurt by forcing a Godley three-and-out after each miscue. Glen Rose’s lone score in the first quarter came on a 9-yard run by quarterback Cameron Griffin.
The Tiger offense, behind running back Westen Halcom who rushed for a school-record 282 yards in the game, scored 34 second-quarter points to lead 42-0 at the break.
Halcom broke his previous school record of 277 yards set last season in a win over Godley. He currently holds the school record for career rushing yards (3,460) and career touchdowns (40).
Glen Rose wide receiver Bryan Taylor started the second-quarter scoring barrage by capping a 10-play, 69-yard drive with a 19-yard TD reception from Griffin.
In the final 2:05 of the first half, the Tigers scored 21 points on two touchdown runs by Halcom (20, 48), and after recovering the ball on the ensuing kick, the Tigers scored for the final time in the half on a 45-yard touchdown pass from Griffin to Davis Shackelford.
“I was upset with the turnovers and some sloppiness offensively, but the defense was playing great. I loved the way we responded and finished the half,” Watkins said.
The Wildcats scored their only touchdown of the game on their first possession of the second half, while the Tigers got second-half scores from Harrison Hawkins, who hauled in a 9-yard TD pass from Griffin, and a 1-yard plunged by Garrett Gilbreath.
Griffin completed 18 of 31 passes for 263 yards and three scores with just one interception. Behind Halcom, Gilbreath rushed for 65 yards on five carries, while Shackelford had five receptions for 105 yards and Hawkins had four catches for 66 yards.