Tigers look to bounce back after tough loss to Grandview
GLEN ROSE — The 10th-ranked Glen Rose Tigers will close out the regular season Friday when they host Ferris at 7 p.m. at Tiger Stadium. A win would lock up their fifth consecutive undefeated district championship and the No. 1 seed heading into the playoffs.
The Tigers enter the contest at 3-0 in district play, and Ferris is 2-1 after posting wins over Hillsboro and Venus in its last two contests.
“Ferris has a chance for a share of the district title with a win, so it’s a very important game,” Glen Rose football coach Cliff Watkins said. “At this point in the season, we have to be playing our best every Friday night. There can’t be any down weeks. We need to go take care of business.”
The Yellowjackets (5-3) are primarily a running team as they average 213.1 yards per game on the ground and only 51.1 in the air.
“Ferris has a lot to play for,” Watkins said. “We have to prepare for this one just like the first nine. If we go win Friday night we will be district champions.”
The Tigers (8-1) are entering the game after suffering their first loss of the year last week with a 31-28 setback to Class 3A No. 2 Grandview in what Watkins considered a playoff-type atmosphere. The game was originally set to be played in Week 4, but a Grandview coach was exposed to COVID-19 and the game was canceled.
Both teams had a bye this last week, and they decided to play.
“That’s why we played that game, so all of our guys that haven’t played in a big game like that will be ready for it,” Watkins said. “We started off a little slow and they had a fast start. We can’t come out like that in big games. Next time we play in a big game it’ll really count and we will be ready.”
The Tigers rallied from a 14-0 first-quarter deficit and actually took the lead at 28-21 in the third quarter, but they couldn’t close the deal.
“We definitely had opportunities that we didn’t take advantage of,” Watkins said. “The biggest thing going forward for us offensively is we have to take care of the ball, and we have to finish drives when we are in the red zone.”
On two occasions, the Tigers were in the red zone and came up empty with a loss of downs inside the 1-yard line and a missed field goal. They also had a huge turnover late in the fourth quarter.
“There were a lot of situations, small things, throughout the game that could have changed the outcome of the game,” Watkins said. “That loss will make us even more hungry to get better and play our best every Friday night.”
With less than five minutes left in the first quarter, the Tigers trailed 14-0.
Glen Rose got on the board with an 8-yard TD run by quarterback Austin Worthen to cut the lead to 14-7. The Tigers got a huge defensive stop on downs, and drove 87 yards to the Grandview 1-yard line before losing the ball on downs.
Moments later, the defense created a turnover and the offense had another chance to cut into the lead, but missed an FG.
The Zebras (9-0) scored with 16 seconds left in the half to take the 21-7 lead at the break.
The Tigers came out hot on offense and scored on their first three possessions of the third quarter on a 6-yard run by Worthen and a pair of TD passes from Worthen to Kaynon Keese (15, 6) to take the lead with 3:13 left in the quarter.
Grandview added a TD early in the fourth quarter to tie the game, and a 23-yard FG with six minutes left to take the lead for good.
The Tigers faced a 4th-and-16 at the Grandview 38 and completed a pass that would have been close to a first down, but they fumbled it and the Zebras recovered. The Tiger defense got another stop, but the Tigers couldn’t move the ball in the final seconds.
Worthen completed 11 of 22 passes for 192 yards and two scores, while rushing for 84 yards on 20 carries and two TDs. Hudson White added 67 yards on 10 carries, while Keese had 96 yards receiving on six receptions, and Reagan Rodriguez had 96 yards on five catches.
Caden McKenzie led the defense with 20 tackles (12 assisted, 8 solo) and Worthen added 10. Cory Aper, who also had a fumble recovery, Rodriguez and Jace Karels had nine, and Chris Huber added eight. Max Hood recorded the Tigers’ lone sack.
“I was proud of how we played and fought for 48 minutes,” Watkins said. “Obviously, we were disappointed we weren’t able to find a way to win it in the end, but we can learn a lot from a game like that and it will help us going forward.”