Glen Rose got one final tune-up before the start of the 2008 playoffs.
The Tigers hosted the Hillsboro Eagles in the regular season finale last Friday and sent the Eagles back home with a 42-20 loss.
Hillsboro was able to keep the game competitive in the first half, as Glen Rose only had a one touchdown lead going into halftime.
The Tigers started the scoring when Derek Thompson found Austin Eschbach in the end zone for a 32-yard pitch and catch, 1:32 into the contest.
The Tiger defense forced Hillsboro to punt on their first two possessions, which gave the Tigers a chance to expand their lead to 13-0 after Thompson found Ty Taylor for a 25-yard touchdown toss.
But Hillsboro would claw their way back with touchdown runs of six yards on the quarterback keeper and a 92-yard touchdown trot from Waylon Goodley to give the Eagles a 14-13 advantage.
After another turnover failed offensive possession, the Eagles looked prone to score again, but Jake Powell picked off the Eagle pass.
On the following Tiger possession, Glen Rose put one in the end zone when Thompson ran it in from 14 yards out, and then hooked up with Jorge Espino for the two point conversion to give Glen Rose the 21-14 lead.
Hillsboro tried to answer by driving deep into Tiger territory, but Immanuel Morales got into the pick party with an interception of his own to give the Tigers the ball with 1:21 left in the half.
However, four plays later Thompson threw his second interception of the contest, giving the Eagles the ball on their own 20-yard line.
Goodley struck again, this time breaking free for 61 yards, which appeared to be the apparent game-tying touchdown, but Shelby Junge tracked him down on the Tiger 19, which set up Morales' second INT of the night, allowing the Tigers to kneel and go into the break with a lead.
“Offensively, I didn't do a very good job,” said Tiger Head Coach Tommy Dunn. “Instead of taking what the defense was giving us, I was trying to force feed some plays that didn't work. The first half was fault. We left 21 points on the field and I told the team at halftime, I'd take care of it. I said we are going to call what's there, we're going to execute and it's going to be the difference in the game. Our defense didn't play very emotional in the first half, but that's alright. I know that we'll be ready next week when it counts, because tonight was basically a meaningless game for us. We wanted to get out healthy, and overall I'm pleased with the way things went down.”
Hillsboro scored on their first drive of the new half, but never again.
The Eagles tacked on their final six points off a QB keeper from nine yards out but the extra point failed.
Glen Rose score on their first three possessions of the second half.
The first when Chase Evatt rushed it in from eight yards deep, followed by Thompson finding Espino on a 22-yard pass and finally a ten-yard Thompson trot making the final 42-20 score.
Thompson finished the contest going 24-40 through the air for 415 yards, three touchdowns and two picks. The Tiger offensive unit managed 17.3 yards per play when going to the air.
“The offensive line did a great job for us,” said Dunn. “They did a great job of picking up blitzes and then hustling down the field to look for more blocks.”
Thompson also led the way on the ground with 45 yards on seven trips and two scores, while Evatt racked up 39 yards on 13 carries and a score.
On the defensive side of the ball, Hillsboro outgained the Tigers in total yards, 566-523, but the Tigers forced enough costly turnovers to negate that stat.
Morales recorded his team-high sixth and seventh interceptions of the season, in addition to his seven tackles.
Senior linebacker Chris Griggers led the way for the Tigers with 11 tackles, two for a loss, a sack and a QB hurry, while Junge was behind him eight take downs.
In addition to Morales, Colt Plaster also had seven tackles.
Glen Rose, despite coming away with the impressive victory, still has a couple of concerns to address before the playoffs begin.
“(Heading into playoffs, our main concerns are) defensively, I think our tackling is not where it needs to be. I think we need more intensity and I think you'll see that Friday night. Offensively, we need to run the ball better and not make turnovers,” said Dunn.
Glen Rose will open the Division II-3A state playoffs against District 8-3A representative Llano in Copperas Cove at 7:30 p.m.
“Llano runs a Slot T offense, which is primarily run, but they do throw it some. They're big and offensively they'll just pound you, pound you and pound you to try to control the clock,” said Dunn.