The Hillsboro Eagles (1-9, 0-4) came to Glen Rose gunning for their second win of the season on Friday, but they had just three first downs through three quarters against the No. 14 Tigers in a 49-6 loss.
Glen Rose (9-1, 3-1) made 13 tackles behind the line of scrimmage and starters on both sides of the ball came out midway through the third quarter up 42-0. Hillsboro had five of its eight first downs in the fourth quarter, compiled the vast majority of its yardage in the second half and scored with just 35 seconds remaining.
“We always want to be at our best, but we also wanted to get some other kids playing time as we traditionally do (in the 10th game),” said coach Tommy Dunn. “It’s good to be able to do that.”
The Tigers won the turnover battle 3-1 and Hillsboro was forced to punt seven times. The Eagles had one first down in the opening half, as they trailed 35-0.
“The defense was flying around,” Dunn said. “(Hillsboro) had pretty good speed, so we had to make sure we were in the right place.”
Glen Rose ran for 204 yards at a clip of 6.5 yards per carry with most of that production in the opening half. The Tigers finished with 125 passing yards.
In his two-and-a-half quarters of work, Cody Burtscher tore through Hillsboro for 176 rushing yards and three touchdowns on 18 carries to go with two catches for 40 yards. Burtscher appeared to have his best game of the season in regard to breaking tackles, as he was able to either drag defenders or run them over.
“We just wanted to shorten the game and get out of there healthy, so we ran the clock down by running the ball,” Burtscher said. “I don’t know if it was luck; I was just being strong and bouncing off tacklers. A lot of times my offensive linemen were knocking defenders off of me.
“The offensive line is doing a great job as you can tell; they’re helping me average pretty high numbers. I’m really proud of them.”
The tackle-breaking clinic wasn’t lost on Dunn.
“There’s no doubt he’s the best back in this district,” the coach said.
Seven other Tigers carried the ball, and the leader was Carlin Linnabery (3-11) in his first varsity game. Jared Thames (1-2) and Blake Eschbach (2-2) each had a rushing touchdown.
“Jared is hard to stop near the goal line,” Dunn said.
Colton Bretton completed nine of 18 passes for 125 yards and an interception. Austin Gibson threw an incomplete pass on his lone attempt.
Justin Weatherley caught five passes for 38 yards and scored on a 73-yard punt return. It was his fourth return touchdown of the season. Jensen Nash caught one pass for 39 yards.
“We’ve done a good job on punt (returns) all year long,” Dunn said. “Every time Weatherley gets the ball, he doesn’t go down without a fight.”
Hillsboro ran for 75 yards at a clip of two yards per carry, and the Eagles had 22 rushing yards at halftime. After entering halftime with 10 passing yards, the Eagles hit on a few big plays late and finished with six of 11 passes complete for 108 yards with an interception.
Ryan Lamb had a big night with two-and-a-half sacks and a tackle for loss.
“I felt like I was in a zone, honestly,” Lamb said. “The tackle kept trying to cut me, but I kept getting around him and had a free shot at the quarterback almost every time. This is my first year playing defensive end and I’ve caught on to what I need to do to get better.
“I’ve worked a lot in practice. If you’re faster than the guy you’re going against and you can get around him, it doesn’t matter how big you are.”
Senovio Delagarza tallied two-and-a-half tackles for loss in the opening half.
“Coach was blitzing me and I was unblocked on a lot of the plays with Jared (Thames) drawing most of the blocks; he set me up and (runners) were cutting back into me,” Delagarza said. “I’ve tried to be coachable and just improve every week. I’ve been doubted a lot about my size, so I just have to show up (with a good game each week).”
Dunn was definitely impressed by those two Tigers.
“Ryan has real good explosion,” the coach said. “He gives us a good pass rush and he’s a good edge player. Senovio has been solid all year. He was limited in practice this week, but he really does an outstanding job with a natural flow to the football.”
Thames was a factor with a fumble recovery, a tackle for loss and a sack.
“Jared was very solid as usual,” Dunn said. “He and Curry (Mapes) do a great job of plugging the middle as our tackles, and it makes teams really have to work to get anything.”
Keith McAnally had a tackle for loss and a sack.
“Keith is one of those guys who has turned into a good football player because he works hard at it,” the coach said.
Max Albro came up with a 23-yard interception return touchdown in the fourth quarter.
“I thought (the receiver) had me beat, but I was watching the quarterback when he threw it and I realized the throw was going to be short so I stopped,” Albro said. “I bobbled it for a second, but I was able to hold on and that might be the fastest I’ve ever run in my whole life. This is my first year to play football, so to do this in the last home game of my senior year; it was a great experience. We really are a team.”
Dunn loved the play.
“I was happy for Max,” he said. “He capitalized on his opportunity.”
Trevor Crawford recovered a fumble.
“We pulled some JV guys up and they got a chance to play; so I’m sure they were excited,” Dunn said.
Eschbach tallied a sack and Shane Strealy added a half-sack.
“Blake has really good speed and he’s been playing with a whole lot of confidence at corner since he came back from his ankle injury,” Dunn said. “He gets better each week.”
Other notable defenders were Logan Douglas (forced fumble, half-tackle for loss) and Carter Brandt (tackle for loss).
Primary Eagle quarterback Garrett Lane completed five of nine passes for 82 yards and an interception to go with -11 rushing yards and a touchdown. The top receiver was Bryan Segura (3-62).
The Tigers will now face the Brownwood Lions (6-4) on Friday at Tarleton State University in Stephenville at 7:30 p.m. in bi-district action. Brownwood is coming off a 41-13 win over Llano.
“We had the matchup with Brownwood in the second round last year, but both teams are different now,” Dunn said. “We have to make sure we play our best game if we want to advance in the playoffs. Playing at Tarleton is convenient and we’re the home team, so we decided to go with that.”
Weatherley was able to make a couple of first-down grabs on the game’s opening drive, but a deep Bretton pass was intercepted at the Eagle 1. Delagarza and Douglas combined on a tackle for loss to force a Hillsboro punt.
Starting at the Eagle 35, Glen Rose scored on a six-play drive. After Jensen Nash and Burtscher ran for first downs, Burtscher made a sharp cut outside on a 12-yard touchdown scamper (7-0, Martin De Los Santos kick).
A Thames sack and a Lamb tackle for loss forced the next Eagle punt.
“Jared is a force on almost every play,” Lamb said. “If he doesn’t get to the ball, one of us will.”
Weatherley fielded the punt at the Tiger 27, headed up the middle and outran all Eagles to the end zone (14-0, De Los Santos kick).
Hillsboro continued to flounder, as a Brandt tackle for loss and an Eschbach sack forced another punt.
The Tigers completed a 57-yard, seven-play drive early in the second after Burtscher converted a fourth-and-two. Burtscher finished the drive with a 33-yard touchdown up the middle when he outran the secondary (21-0, De Los Santos kick).
On the heels of an Eagle three-and-out, the Tigers marched 65 yards in eight plays. Burtscher accounted for three of the four first downs, including a spectacular 24-yard touchdown run where he spun through multiple tackles and then broke outside (28-0, De Los Santos kick).
“It was good blocking up front, and I was able to get a seam on both of (the second-quarter scores) to get into the end zone,” Burtscher said.
Dunn knows what the senior is capable of.
“Cody was fighting off a lot of tacklers,” Dunn said. “He does such a good job; he has great hips and he can run over you when he has to. Cody had a really good game.”
A Delagarza tackle for loss helped continue the Hillsboro punt-fest and Glen Rose went for one more touchdown in the half. The Tigers covered 68 yards in seven plays, as a 39-yard Nash reception covered much of the yardage. Thames powered his way across the goal line from two yards out (35-0, De Los Santos kick).
Delagarza had another tackle for loss on the last play of the half.
On the first offensive play of the second half, Douglas forced a fumble and Thames made the recovery at the Hillsboro 18. Glen Rose ended up attempting a 37-yard field goal that De Los Santos missed wide.
Before Hillsboro punted on its next possession, Thames and McAnally made tackles for loss on consecutive plays.
As the Tigers completed a 58-yard, five-play drive, they delivered four-straight first downs. Burtscher took care of the first three with more great tackle breaking, and then Eschbach went airborne to break the plane on a one-yard touchdown (42-0, De Los Santos kick).
Before yet another Hillsboro punt, Strealy and Lamb combined on a sack and then McAnally notched his own sack. Late in the frame, Crawford recovered a fumble after an Eagle made a deep catch and inexplicably put the ball on the turf.
Lamb had two sacks in the fourth, including one right before the Albro interception return score.
“Ryan was especially good (Friday) the way he was getting those sacks,” Delagarza said. “He really showed out.”
Lamb vividly recalled the sack before Albro’s big play.
“I got around the tackle and the running back didn’t even try to block me,” he said. “The quarterback stopped, I picked him up and threw him down on the ground. We missed a few tackles, so we can improve on that for next week.”
In the final minutes, Hillsboro put together a nine-play, 70-yard drive. After converting a fourth down with a deep pass, the Eagles scored on a one-yard keeper with 35 seconds left (49-6, Korey Campbell kick wide).