The Glen Rose Tigers have played some quality football games this season, but Friday night’s homecoming effort took the cake.
Glen Rose (6-0) took a 31-0 lead into halftime over the Fairfield Eagles (3-3) on the way to a 45-6 victory. The Tigers led 45-0 before the starters came out early in the fourth quarter. Glen Rose actually beat Fairfield worse than No. 1 Navasota did a week earlier (41-7).
Fairfield had just six first downs and 136 total yards through three quarters.
“People have been saying the teams we play aren’t that good, but they need to start saying the Glen Rose Tigers are a pretty dang good football team,” said coach Tommy Dunn. “The talent was upgraded quite a bit from some of our other opponents and you worry about distractions on homecoming, so thank goodness we had the big lead at halftime and didn’t have to worry about not having some of our guys in the locker room.”
The Tigers lost the turnover battle 1-0, but Glen Rose starters didn’t turn the ball over. Glen Rose tallied seven penalties, compared to five for Fairfield.
Colton Bretton delivered his strongest game of the season, completing 19 of 24 passes for 362 yards and five touchdowns with 20 rushing yards.
“The receivers are running great routes, and Colton is doing a good job,” Dunn said. “He’s progressing reading the defense; it’s hard not to get locked onto (Justin) Weatherley and (Cody) Burtscher, but we want to expand the number of players catching the ball. (The Eagles) do a good job against the run; we knew we were going to have to throw the ball. They tried to keep eight men in the box and we exposed that early.”
Glen Rose ran the ball 32 times for 165 yards, led by Cody Burtscher (15-114). He also caught five passes for 143 yards and three touchdowns.
“Fairfield is a really good team; we just haven’t been challenged (since China Spring) and I have no idea how good we actually are,” Burtscher said. “We were just really explosive and they couldn’t stop us.”
Burtscher came up with a backbreaking 49-yard touchdown reception with just 23 seconds left in the first half, as he caught the ball in double coverage and escaped the clutches of both safeties.
“Cody never goes down easy, and that was just a dagger,” Dunn said. “Up by 24 is a huge lead, but when you’re down 31 your hopes are out the window. We were very happy to get that last (first-half) TD.”
Jensen Nash ran three times for 28 yards and also managed to catch two passes for 75 yards – including a 59-yard touchdown.
“The free safety left me wide open for an easy touchdown,” Nash said. “Colton made great passes on both of my catches. I enjoy getting to run the ball and hopefully I’ll get it some more.”
Justin Weatherley (8-112) and Hayden Holder (3-27, 1 TD) were also notable pass catchers.
With the red offense doing literally anything it pleased, Dunn gave the trench Tigers high marks.
“Coach (Terry) Harlin is doing a great job with the offensive line,” Dunn said. “Any (defensive) look we see now at this point in the season, they’ve seen it before and they’re playing great together.”
Martin De Los Santos made a 26-yard field goal, all six of his extra points and he had a touchdown-saving tackle on a first-quarter Fairfield kick return.
“That (field goal) was big to get points out of that drive, because you don’t know how the rest of the game is going to go,” Dunn said. “It’s nice to have a good kicker. Martin is a safety at heart, but he’s not the biggest guy and he’s very valuable to us kicking, so we don’t let him do that.”
Logan Douglas tallied 1.5 tackles for loss.
“Logan has done a good job all year; it’s good to see him show out like that,” Dunn said.
Jared Thames shared one of the Douglas tackles for loss and he also rushed for a one-yard touchdown.
“Their O-line was really big, but their feet weren’t that good and kind of slow,” Thames said. “Our D-line isn’t the biggest, but we’re pretty quick. Logan was able to get through there and get a hold of him, then I came in a little late to help finish him off.”
When Fairfield went for a fake punt in the first quarter, a Blake Eschbach tackle brought a turnover on downs.
“That was great awareness and a huge play to keep them from getting any momentum and give us great field position,” Dunn said.
When Fairfield went for it on fourth-and-inches in the second quarter, Burtscher and Kyle Cauble combined to get a stop for no gain.
“That was awesome,” Burtscher said. “We really had a good push up front that forced the running back to bounce it outside. Cauble came up and got him, then I put a hit on him to stop him from the first down.”
When Fairfield finally got on the board with 4:08 to play via a four-yard touchdown run, the ensuing conversion pass failed when Carter Brandt hit the quarterback as he threw. On the final play of the game, Shane Strealy and Ryan Lamb combined on a sack.
“I hope their quarterback wasn’t hurt seriously right there, but our guys were relentless with their rush,” Dunn said.
While Fairfield used a trick play to complete a 35-yard pass on its first play, starting quarterback Aaron Cain struggled in completing four of 11 passes for 40 yards. The Eagles ran 29 times for 156 yards, paced by Andre Welch (18-79) and Larry Rose (7-76, 1 TD).
Fairfield opened the game with a receiver deep pass off a reverse for a 35-yard gain, but the Tigers were eventually able to force a punt.
“We weren’t expecting that trick play early, but after that we knew we had to stop them,” Thames said. “We stepped up.”
The Tigers completed a seven-play, 97-yard drive with a 35-yard touchdown pass to a waiting Burtscher in the end zone (7-0, De Los Santos kick).
“I just had a good fake on (the safety) and blew right past him,” Burtscher said.
After De Los Santos make a tackle on the kick return at the Tiger 45, Eschbach killed the drive with a tackle on the fake punt.
An 11-play, 60-yard Tiger drive ended with the 26-yard De Los Santos field goal (10-0). The next Tiger possession covered 69 yards in six plays, as Nash made a diving catch and eventually Burtscher got behind the defense on an 18-yard touchdown reception (17-0, De Los Santos kick).
“That was the same exact play as my first touchdown, but on the opposite side,” Burtscher said. “That time it was a linebacker covering.”
The Tigers needed just two plays to go 62 yards for their next score, as Bretton went deep to Nash and he sped to the end zone on a 59-yard touchdown (24-0, De Los Santos kick).
“Jensen has tremendous speed to get over the top in a hurry,” Dunn said. “He provides a big boost.”
It was the Eagle possession that followed where Burtscher and Cauble made the fourth down stop at the Tiger 33.
“Our defense is doing a great job penetrating and blowing up blocks; they’re being very physical,” Dunn said.
The final Tiger drive of the half covered 67 yards in four plays. Bretton went deep to Burtscher, who made the catch in double coverage and narrowly managed to keep his footing after shedding the Eagles to head on to the end zone from 49 yards out (31-0, De Los Santos kick).
“(The safety) tipped it, but I had good concentration on the ball and managed to catch it,” Burtscher said. “It was just determination and I knew the clock was running down; I didn’t want to be brought down (by the other safety) and I happened to make it out.”
Glen Rose kept the pedal to the metal coming out of halftime with a nine-play, 66-yard drive. The touchdown came when Bretton got the ball to Holder short and he ran wide into the end zone from 15 yards out (38-0, De Los Santos kick).
“We take what the defense gives us,” Dunn said. “It helps when our defense is playing so good, then we don’t have to play from behind.”
Glen Rose completed an 11-play, 87-yard drive early in the fourth when Thames bulled his way across the goal line from a yard out (45-0, De Los Santos kick). Burtscher made a diving 32-yard catch on the first play of the quarter.
“I saw Coach Dunn call the play, and then I pretty much walked in,” Thames said. “It feels good to get (a touchdown on homecoming).”
The Tiger offensive starters were on the sidelines for the next Glen Rose drive, and new quarterback Holder threw a deep interception on the fifth play. Fairfield’s Rose got outside on the next play for a 62-yard gain before he was brought down by Lamb at the Tiger 4. Rose scored on the next play, but Brandt prevented the conversion pass (45-6).
The Eagles made it as far as the Glen Rose 25 in the final seconds before the Strealy-Lamb sack.
Glen Rose will now prepare for its showdown on Friday at No. 3 Stephenville. The Yellowjackets are coming off a bye.
“It feels awesome to be playing like this, but I think we can even improve some more (for Stephenville) coming off our best game yet,” Burtscher said.
Dunn hopes to see the Tigers’ A-game in Stephenville.
“It’s our first district game, but also a pride game where we want to play well and win,” he said. “We’re going to play better than we played this week.”