By Angel Verdejo
The Cove Herald
LEANDER - It wasn't just that Lampasas kept turning the ball over.
It wasn't even the way it kept happening.
It was the timing. Just when it looked like the Badgers were ready to cut into Leander Rouse's lead, they once again put the ball on the turf.
The Badgers turned the ball over four times - three on fumbles - as they dropped their first game of the year last Friday by a 29-13 decision at A.C. Bible Memorial Stadium.
"That's the most turnovers we've ever had - we've always won the turnover war," Lampasas head coach Joey McQueen said. "We didn't do it this time."
The turnovers - Rouse didn't turn it over at all - cancelled out a dominating Badger offense. Their running game accounted for 420 yards, with quarterback Brandon Scott (106) and backs Secody Howard (109) and Marcus Kehoe (150) all finishing over the century mark. The Badgers outgained Rouse 468-321.
Lampasas (3-1) even forced four Rouse (2-1-1) punts to its one and got a stop it needed to have early in the third quarter.
Down 22-7, Lampasas drove 80 yards on 12 plays with Scott finishing the drive from a yard out. The Badgers didn't convert a pass on the extra-point try, but trailed by nine points when the defense forced a Rouse punt.
The punt rolled down to the Badger 1-yard line, but Kehoe quickly gave the offense breathing room with 9 yards on first down. The Badgers went back to Kehoe, but he lost the ball on a second-effort try for yardage.
Dakota Unger recovered the loose ball and returned it for a would-be score. The play was ruled dead at the Badger 9 with a penalty against Lampasas giving Rouse first-and-goal at the 4. Two plays later, Rouse quarterback Michael Botello scored to put the Raiders up 29-13.
That was the same case on all three fumbles. Howard ran for the 13 yards on the Badgers' opening drive before the ball came loose.
And at the end of the game, Lampasas drove to the Rouse 6 before Scott nearly punched in a late touchdown. Instead, as he fought to get in the end zone, the ball again came out.
"That just killed us," McQueen said. "They didn't turn it over because they wanted to - they were running hard and it just happened. It wasn't like we had busted plays. It was on the end of runs.
"I can live with those. If we had busted plays - which we didn't - then I would be upset. But I'm not."
The turnover erased a valiant second-half effort.
Down 15-0, Lampasas scored right out of the gate in the third quarter. The Badgers went 96 yards on 17 straight runs and took 7:30 off the clock.
But Rouse had an answer. On fourth-and-13 from the Badger 33, Botello found Logan Kinder across the middle for the touchdown strike to push the lead to 15 points (22-7).
Rouse running back Ed Butts helped the Raiders capitalize on the Badgers' first turnover. The senior took four handoffs that covered 48 yards, running in the final 13 yards for the touchdown.
Butts finished with 208 yards on 20 carries, but didn't score again.
Gatesville 24, Glen Rose 14 - At Glen Rose, Gatesville waited until the third quarter to turn it on against the host Tigers, but when the Hornets did, they found their third straight win.
Three different Hornets scored in the third quarter in a span of just over two minutes, and Gatesville put away Glen Rose 24-14 last Friday at Tiger Stadium.
Gatesville (3-1) opened the scoring on a 1-yard run by Caleb Pratt with 7:27 left in the third quarter. Just 30 seconds later, Hornet quarterback Cole Edmiston found Colton Williams for a 51-yard touchdown strike.
Garrett Featherston then found the end zone on a 17-yard run with 5:16 left in the period. Sophomore Jake Kee led the ground attack with 96 yards, while Edmiston threw for 131 and ran for 40.