Tigers upset No. 6 Springtown, 27-13, in season opener
By Jay Hinton
Glen Rose Reporter
The Glen Rose Tigers opened the 2020 football season with a bang Friday night by posting a convincing 27-13 upset victory over No. 6 Springtown at Tiger Stadium.
For only the second time in the five-year tenure of Tigers head coach Cliff Watkins, the Tigers won their season lid-lifter, and it was their first victory in three tries over the Porcupines.
“It’s always good to get that first win under your belt especially against a really good opponent,” Watkins said. “Now we have to continue to concentrate on getting better every single week.”
The Tigers are back in action Friday (Sept. 4) when they travel to Gatesville for a 7:30 p.m. meeting with the Hornets.
The Hornets (0-1) are coming off a 45-16 loss to Llano in their season opener last week where they allowed 530 yards (413 in the air) to the Yellow Jackets.
The Tigers drubbed the Hornets 45-6 last season.
“We have a new set of challenges in front of us this week,” Watkins said of the Gatesville matchup. “With our first road game and coming off a good win in Week 1, we have to focus on us getting better this week and coming out Friday night and being better than we were last week.”
Glen Rose quarterback Austin Worthen rushed for 101 yards and a pair of scores, and he also threw for one against the Porcupines. That TD pass came on the last play of the first half to increase the Tigers’ lead to 20-6.
“We wanted to get some points out of that with just a few seconds left in the half but coming away with another TD was huge,” Watkins said. “We had some guys step up and make some great plays to make that 14-point swing.”
Flashback to the previous Tiger drive.
Glen Rose’s Hudson White took a reverse pitch from Worthen and found Reagan Rodriguez, who hauled in the pass inside the 5-yard line and then dived in for the 32-yard score, making it 13-6 with less than two minutes to play in the half.
On Springtown’s second play after the ensuing kickoff, the Tigers forced a fumble and Cory Aper pounced on it to give the Tigers the ball at the 23-yard line with time for two plays.
After an incompletion on the first play, Worthen connected with Kanyon Keese, who made a great effort to get a foot down in bounds for the score as time expired. Garret Davis converted the PAT to give the Tigers a 14-point lead at the half.
“Our defense was flying around,” Watkins said. “We were physical and played with a lot of energy. To be able to hold an offense like that to what we did is a great start to the season.”
The Tigers held the potent Porcupine offense to just 212 yards total offense (125 pass, 87 rush), and made big play after big play while holding Springtown to just two first-half field goals.
Late in the game, Springtown got a score to make it 20-13 and then got a stop on the Tiger offense to get the ball back with a chance to tie or take the lead. The Tiger defense, however, held the Porcupines on downs to preserve the win.
“We are playing physical football and have each guy doing his job,” Watkins said. “Causing more turnovers is a big focus for our defense this year, and we need to continue to win the turnover battle each week.”
Worthen also completed 8 of 16 passes for 130 yards. He rushed for an 11-yard TD for the Tigers’ first score and then he added his second score late in the game. White was 2-of-2 from the air for 50 yards and a score.
Behind Worthen, Sean Dodson rushed for 60 yards, while Keese finished with three catches for 81 yards and freshman Camden Raymond had five catches for 34 yards.
Glen Rose finished with 348 yards total offense (175 passing, 173 rushing).
Defensively, Jace Karels, who was in on the fourth-down stop late in the game, led the Tigers with 12 tackles and two sacks, while Keese added seven, and White and Aper added five each.