By Princess McDowell
Killeen Daily Herald
When it mattered, Belton’s special teams did not come through for the Tigers.
Belton fell to Ellison, 20-16, Friday night at Leo Buckley Stadium.
Tigers kicker Hugo Cruz went 2-for-4 on field-goal attempts, with the two he missed hitting the goal post. He also averaged just 21 yards on three punts.
“Our special teams have been really good all year. We just had breakdowns tonight,” Belton coach Rodney Southern said.
Cruz started the game kicking well, hitting field goals from 27 and 29 yards. The field goals cut the deficit to six, but he didn’t convert another in the game.
The first miss came early in the fourth quarter with Belton down 20-14. The 44-yarder fell well short of the crossbar.
“He’s going to have to kick a long one, and he’s going to have to hit that one (well),” Southern said.
The second, from 26 yards away, hit the left upright before bouncing back onto the field. Belton could have tied the score with those field goals.
The one special teams play that worked well for Belton was a fake punt in the first quarter. The Tigers were looking at a fourth-and-inches on their own 46-yard line when Southern gave the call to go for it.
The Eagles were caught off-guard as the ball snapped directly to Kevin Thornton, who ran for 19 yards.
Southern said he chose to go for the fake punt because of the field position and momentum that the Tigers had. It worked, and Tiger running back Keith Daniels scored on the next play with a 35-yard run.
The early aggressive move to go for the two-point conversion put Belton ahead, 8-0.
The Tigers wouldn’t lead again.