Call it a statement win.
Not many people predicted the Lampasas Badgers would defeat Smithville. And those that did — outside of Lampasas, of course — could not have imagined what happened Friday.
The Badgers ran over Smithville on Friday 47-6, dominating on the ground and with big plays. Steven Jazdyk broke free for an 89-yard kickoff return. Gary Spencer had a 62-yard touchdown run. Jazdyk had a 61-yard touchdown run and Bobby Joe Nielsen scored on a 25-yard interception. The big plays turned what was a reasonably close game on the stat sheet into a colossal blowout.
Simply put, the Badgers are contenders again.
And it did not take long to get there, unlike in years past. In 2011, behind Secody Howard, Brandon Scott and perhaps the most talented class in Lampasas history, the Badgers went 10-2.
Last season, they went 1-9 and it looked like the run former coach Joey McQueen (22-14 in three years) had started was over. The two years prior to that run Lampasas was 0-20.
But that run — and some familiar territory — was what it took to draw current head coach Brian Emerson to the job. Emerson led Blanco to a state title in 2001.
Now, he has Lampasas believing he could do the same for it.
Hornets beaten in the air
Not once, or twice, but three times Waco Reicher did it.
Payne Sullins to Andrew Estes. That was the combination that worked.
The duo hooked up in the first quarter as Sullins found Estes open for a 66-yard touchdown strike. Then in the third quarter, the duo hit another bomb, this time for 74 yards. In the fourth quarter, the touchdown pass was for 63 yards.
Overall, Reicher had 317 yards passing on only 21 attempts. Meanwhile, the Hornets had only 69. Gatesville won the battle on the ground by the same margin (230 to 61), but the big plays did the Hornets in at the end.
Salado flies into a hole
Rockdale had a 10-play, 60-yard drive to start Friday night’s game. Salado fumbled on its third play. Rockdale then scored again. Salado then went three-and-out, and, again, Rockdale scored a few plays later. With two minutes still to go in the first quarter, the Tigers were up 20-0.
When it finally looked like the Eagles had some momentum after Hayden Ebeling intercepted a Rockdale pass in the second quarter, Rockdale’s Hayden Offield returned an interception 78 yards for a touchdown.
“We fought, we came out and a couple plays and controversial situations we were in we had to try to overcome, but they made the plays when it counted,” Salado coach Brent Graham said afterward. “A 14- point swing (if we didn’t throw the interception) there before half would have made it a seven-point game and things could have gone different.”
- Lampasas at Austin Travis, at Burger Stadium, 7:30 p.m., Thursday: After demolishing Smithville by 41 points last week, the Badgers are out to prove it was not a fluke against the Rebels on a rare Thursday night matchup.
- Gatesville vs. Waco University, at Bulldawg Stadium, 7:30 p.m, Friday: The Hornets hit the road again as construction continues on their new stadium. This time they play in Copperas Cove.
- Salado at Lorena, 7:30 p.m. Friday: The Leopards jumped on Madisonville early in a 30-22 win Friday, much the way Rockdale jumped on top of the Eagles. Salado will need a better start against Lorena if it wants to get its first win under new coach Brent Graham.
- Florence vs. Thrall at Lumpkins Stadium (Waxahachie), 4 p.m. Saturday: The two teams from the Austin area make the long drive up to Waxahachie for another Dale Hansen Classic showdown. The event features a three-game exhibition that kicks off Friday at 7:30 p.m. when the Italy Gladiators take on the Malakoff Tigers. On Saturday, the Tigers take on the Buffaloes, and the second game, slated to begin at 7:30 p.m., showcases the Alvarado Indians and the Mexia Blackcats.
BY THE NUMBERS
60 — Total-yard advantage Lampasas had over Smithville. The margin of victory, though, was 41.
203 — Total yards Gatesville gave up on three plays to Waco Reicher.
1.0 — Yards Salado averaged per rush against Rockdale. The Eagles had 31 yards on 30 carries.
595 — The total yards alowed by Florence in its blowout loss to Rosebud-Lott.