Tigers blank Community, meet Pleasant Grove Saturday
WAXAHACHIE — The Glen Rose defense was put to the test time after time in the first round of the Class 4A Div. II playoffs against Nevada Community on Thursday night, and each time, the Tigers responded in posting the 15-0 victory to advance to the area round.
“I couldn’t have been more proud of the way our guys fought through all kinds of adversity to win a playoff game,” Glen Rose football coach Cliff Watkins said. “Our defense kept stepping up and getting stops. That has to be one of the best defensive performances we have had in the last six years.”
With the win, the Tigers, winners of 10 straight games, will battle Pleasant Grove (6-5) on Saturday at 2:30 p.m. at The Star in Frisco. Advance-purchase tickets are $12 or $15 at the door.
“Pleasant Grove has the best backfield of any team we have seen this year but our guys are up to the challenge,” Watkins said. “We have to play with the same intensity this week for 48 minutes.”
The Hawks, who have won two state titles in three tries in the last four years, finished second in District 8-4A with a 4-1 mark. Their only loss came to district champ Gilmer. They enter the game with the Tigers after beating Canton 49-21 last week.
“They have played a brutal schedule. Their five losses are to five teams that all won their first-round playoff game and three of those five teams are ranked in the top five in the state,” Watkins said. “They’ve played in a lot big playoff games the past few years and they have gotten better as the year has gone on.”
In the win over Community on Thursday night, the Tigers held the Braves to just 137 yards total offense, and made two huge stops at the goal line to preserve the win.
“Getting stopped that close to the goal line takes a lot out of you as an offense and our defense was able to do that twice,” Watkins said. “We had 11 guys that were flying around and they were all determined to keep them out of the end zone.”
The Tigers scored on back-to-back possessions, and the first was set up when the defense forced a fumble at the 1, and one play later, the Tigers took the 7-0 lead when Max Hood, who also recovered the fumble, bulled in it.
After stopping a Community fake punt on the ensuing drive, Glen Rose’s Tristan Black increased the lead to 13-0 with a 3-yard run. Later in the second quarter, the Braves had their backs to the goal line again and this time, the Tiger defense got points with a safety to increase the lead to 15-0.
The Braves blocked a Glen Rose punt right before the half and drove to the 2-yard line before Canyon Costello intercepted a pass in the end zone to end the threat.
Later in the third quarter, the Braves were knocking at the end zone door again, and the Tigers forced a fumble (recovered by Black) to maintain the shutout.
Black and Caden McKenzie led the Tiger defense with 10 tackles each, while Chris Hubert had eight and Brenden Guptill and Hood added seven each.
Offensively, the Tigers completed just one pass, but rushed for 215, led by Braulio Silva, who finished with 117 yards on 22 carries.