WEST - Legendary Hall of Fame Green Bay Packer coach Vince Lombardi once said, “The spirit, the will to win, and the will to excel are the things that endure. These qualities are so much more important than the events that occur.”
This statement never proved more true than last Friday when the Glen Rose Tigers (5-1, 1-0) opened District 7-3A play at West (2-4, 0-1) and pulled off a 28-21 come-from-behind win.
Glen Rose overcame three first half turnovers, two of which went for Trojan touchdowns, and a 21-7 halftime deficit in the victory.
“Our team has a lot of heart and we’re never going to quit,” said Tiger quarterback Derek Thompson. “Our defense made a bunch of big plays and stepped up when they needed to, and so did the offense.”
The passing attack came alive in the second half, after a very forgettable first half.
The Trojans managed to contain tailback Chase Evatt, as he had only 30 yards on 11 carries, therefore, Thompson relied heavily on the hands of Austin Eschbach and Kevin Brooks, a new addition from Southlake.
“(The receivers) knew the pressure was on,” said Thompson. “Chase is a good running back, but they were keying on him. That’s what is so good about our offense, we have a lot of weapons. If the defense keys on one guy, you know someone else will step up.”
Thompson went 11-14 in the second half for 144 and three touchdowns. He sent the game-tying touchdown toss to Brooks from 14 yards out, and found him again for the go-ahead score on a 19-yard completion.
Thompson was 19-30 on the night for 245 yards, four touchdowns and two interceptions.
Eschbach caught the first two touchdowns from Thompson, from 42 and 20 yards out, and finished with five grabs for 88 yards. Brooks hauled in three receptions for 47 yards and the two touchdowns.
“(Eschbach) had a really good game with two touchdown catches, and so did (Brooks),” said Glen Rose Head Coach Tommy Dunn. “We have to have people stepping up to make plays, and those two guys really stepped up in the second half.”
In the first half, Thompson completed only 50-percent of his passes, tossed two interceptions and lost a fumble on the West six-yard line.
West scored on two of the turnovers, including a 94-yard touchdown drive off the fumble that lasted just shy of seven minutes.
“A lot of our turnovers came from us trying to make something happen, for example one of our interceptions came when it bounced off a receiver’s hands. What can you do about that? However, they had some turnovers too, but we couldn’t take advantage of them. They turned the ball over on their first three plays, and we only got one touchdown. If we’d have taken care of business it wouldn’t have been as tight as it turned out to be,” said Dunn.
The defense stepped up after halftime.
West owned the ground game in the first half, running the ball 28 times for 204 yards and two touchdown runs from QB Kelvin Anthony. Troy Manolakis rushed for 111 yards before the break.
The second half was the polar opposite, as the Tigers shut the Trojans out and allowed only 47 yards on the ground.
Jake Powell led the Tigers with three sacks of two, three and one yard losses, while Immanuel Morales picked off a pass for the third consecutive week. Morales’ interception set up the Tigers’ offense to take it down to the West four-yard line before a controversial call against Eschbach turned the ball back over to West.
The Trojans attempted to run out the clock, but Colt Plaster shut down Manolakis on third and three to force a punt.
“Jake (Powell) is a senior leader for us, and he’s a guy you just have to let loose and play,” said Tigers Defensive Coordinator Todd Swearengin. “Immanuel (Morales) got behind at the start of the year, but he’s been coming on strong. He’s a big player for us. The whole secondary allows our front seven to get after them. They finally stepped up and started to play. We didn’t do much different (in the second half). We made a couple of adjustments, but they finally started doing what they are coached to do. They played with a lot more emotion in the second half. It was a tremendous effort.”
Plaster also had an interception on the first West possession of the game.
Glen Rose returns home on Friday to battle Whitney at 7:30 p.m.