Every team hopes to finish the season playing its best ball, and it seems the JV Tigers have been able to do just that.
Glen Rose (4-6) beat host Hillsboro 35-0 on Thursday night to conclude its season. The JV Tigers had their two highest-scoring weeks to finish the year.
“At the end of the game, we talked about the fact that we’re not finished, because a lot of these guys will be practicing with varsity during the playoffs,” said coach Erik Hartman. “That’s only going to make them better and they may get four or five more weeks of practice in. Looking at our season, a number of our losses were close games that we didn’t finish at the end.
“We played great defense and very good offense in our last three games. That helps keep their interest high looking toward next year.”
The JV Tigers had plenty of depth on Thursday, considering that they actually blended a roster with the Freshman Tigers. Quarterback Colton Lane completed nine of 15 passes for 142 yards and three touchdowns. He also ran four times for 17 yards and a touchdown.
“We knew we could throw the ball early on, so we did,” Hartman said. “Colton was on-target; he was throwing darts, even against the wind. A lot of times when we get down there close (to the end zone), the only person unaccounted for is the quarterback. Colton loves for me to let him carry the ball (in the red zone).”
Other notable rushers were Stone Costello (3-36), Chasen Monk (4-27) and Hayden Swearengin (8-26, TD).
“Stone made the right decision on a zone read for a good gain,” Hartman said. “I thought he might score. Monk and (Calen) Ballesteros both have some growing to do and some shoes to fill.
“They ran the ball well (Thursday), especially later in the game. Swearengin showed some good speed running outside.”
Other notable rushers were Ballesteros (7-12) and Drayton Williams (2-9). Williams completed his only pass attempt for 13 yards.
Nearly all of Lane’s passing yards when to Chance Nabours, who had yet another huge game with six catches for 127 yards and three touchdowns. He had a number of triple-digit receiving games this year with at least one touchdown nearly every week.
“I haven’t seen a JV receiver put up the kind of numbers that Nabours did this year,” Hartman said. “We have such good receivers on varsity that he might not have played as much as we’d like (if he’d been on varsity), so I think it was great for him to stay down and play for this team. He’s matured as a receiver and it’s just going to help him next year.”
Kicker Hunter Phillips made all five of his extra points.
“Phillips improved so much over the course of the season, and the key is he wanted to work on his kicking,” Hartman said. “Every time we’ve asked him to improve something, he’s worked to make it happen.”
Hartman feels good about the young offensive linemen in the program.
“We were looking at the offensive lines on our JV and Freshman teams, and they dominated (Thursday),” he said. “As those guys get in the weight room and bulk up, we’re going to be tough to stop on the interior.”
Angel Amezqua led the defense with six tackles and he had a tackle for loss.
“Angel has always been a playmaker and he improved so much this year,” Hartman said. “He has a nose for where the ball is going at linebacker, and so does (Trey) Yocham. It’s hard to run on them.”
Yocham and Dylan Hammond each intercepted a pass.
“Hammond does some good things,” Hartman said. “I see him growing as a player in the years to come.”
Braxton Barrios (fumble recovery), Monk, Jayton Dillard (4 tackles) and Ballesteros each notched a sack.
“Braxton played great (Thursday),” Hartman said. “He’s going to be one of our guys that we rely on in the future.”
Speaking of the future, Hartman knows hard work in the offseason will be crucial for the JV squad.
“We’ve said in Glen Rose for a while now that the weight room is going to be our livelihood,” he said. “We lift weights to be strong, but also so we can dominate in the fourth quarter. We want to wear people down and pull away, so these guys have to make the commitment to hard work. I would also say building speed during track season will be very important.”