Glen Rose’s 2008 season opener put several question marks on display, including a young, unproven defense, an inexperienced tandem at running back and an unknown special teams.
Each of these were answered with authority as the Tigers steamrolled the Class 4A Mineral Wells Rams, 49-7, at Tiger Stadium last Friday.
The defense, led by senior Jake Powell, allowed only 216 yards of total offense to the Rams on the night.
Powell finished with 15 tackles, two for a loss, a fumble recovery and a 5-yard sack of quarterback Clint Parkhill.
The secondary held Parkhill and the Rams’ air attack in check for most of the contest, despite the lone points allowed on an 11-yard pass in the second quarter.
Parkhill finished only 5-of-14 passing for 52 yards.
The Rams spent the majority of the game trying to get yards on the ground by running the option, but the Tigers were able to shut down the Ram offense and only allowed six runs to go for more than 10 yards.
Jesus Chavez finished the contest with nine tackles, while Shelby Junge and Seth Mann each tallied eight. Hunter Ratliff finished the contest with seven tackles, including 2-yard sack of Parkhill.
“Our defense is young and inexperienced, but they have a lot of enthusiasm,” said Glen Rose Head Coach Tommy Dunn. “The coaches on that side of the ball did an outstanding job of game planning. That is not an easy offense to stop. We played really good assignment football. I can’t say enough about how well our defense is playing right now, but we’re not as good as we want to be.”
On the offensive side of the ball, the sophomore tandem of Chase Evatt and Santos DeLaGarza dominated the ground attack.
Evatt racked up 50 yards on nine carries and found the end zone three times from 14, one and seven yards out.
DeLaGarza led the team with 77 yards rushing on 10 carries.
The sophomore duo had 127 of the team’s 204 yards on the ground.
“I knew coming in that our backs were inexperienced because (Evatt and DeLaGarza) are both sophomores. They both ran tough, they both did their assignments and we’re extremely happy,” said Dunn.
The special teams questions were answered by the play of Colt Plaster, Ty Taylor and Tanner Tongate.
Following Mineral Wells’ only score, Plaster took the kickoff 88 yards to the house. He also gave the Tigers great field position to open the game with a 31-yard return, finishing with 119 return yards.
Taylor set up a Glen Rose touchdown with a 38-yard punt return in the third, while Tongate connected on five of six extra point attempts.
“We started our special teams on day one,” said Dunn. “We really emphasize it. It’s a third of the game, and it’s something we spend a lot of time on. You saw the results of that (Friday). Our guys executed very well,” said Dunn.
The only part of the Tiger team that wasn’t in question was the play of Derek Thompson. With the help of an offensive line, who recently lost their starting center, Thompson was 8-14 passing for 124 yards and two touchdowns in his two and a half quarters of play. He also carried the ball five times for 34 yards and a touchdown.
“The offensive line was outstanding, They gave Derek (Thompson) all the time he needed, and when you give him that much time; he’ll pick you apart,” Dunn explained. “He’s one of the best quarterbacks in the state. They decided in the first half, not to put pressure on him and we took advantage of that.”
The Tigers are now 1-0 as they prepare to host Breckenridge at 7:30 p.m.
“That’s exactly the way you want to set the tone,” said Dunn. “We came out, and all phases of the game were clicking. I couldn’t ask for anything better.”