BELTON — Peter Shelburne only had to throw one pass in the second half.
And after leading Belton to 34 unanswered points and 249 yards passing in the first half, he deserved the rest.
Shelburne threw for three touchdowns and Belton had two interception returns for touchdowns as it defeated Round Rock 41-12 on Friday at Tiger Field.
“We just knew not to panic and we knew stuff was going to open up eventually,” said Shelburne, who was 12-of-20 passing for 258 yards. “They came out and played a lot of man coverage, thinking they could play with our receivers and we proved them wrong, I guess.”
Round Rock (1-3) started the scoring after backup quarterback Zach Belville, who replaced an injured Tyler Gerds midway through the first quarter, found Keyon Dilosa on a 31-yard strike. Deandre Story then scored from three yards out on the next play.
On the Dragons’ next possession, Bellville did it again. This time he hit Daniel Spells for a 42-yard bomb down to the Belton 2-yard line. Kirby McGuire ran it in one play later.
Then the Tiger offense started moving. Shelburne hit Brandon Rhoads for a 27-yard gain, and a personal foul put the Tigers at the Round Rock 12.
Camron Meyers had two straight runs to put Belton on the scoreboard.
The next Tiger drive took 12 seconds.
Shelburne found Derick Bates in one-on-one man coverage and hit him in stride down the sideline for an 80-yard score to put Belton (3-0) on top 13-12.
“It was just man coverage with the play action the safety bit on it and it was one-on-one,” Shelburne said.
The Tigers took even more
momentum recovering the onside kick — even if they didn’t score on the possession.
“We had not done that all year,” Belton coach Rodney Southern said. “I have been waiting for the right opportunity and obviously the kick was incredible. We didn’t score on that and we have to turn those into points.
“But, it shifted momentum.”
Belton scored the next time it got the ball, though.
Shelburne found Shane Stafford for a 33-yard pickup down the home sideline and then found Chase Thornal in the end zone.
At 20 unanswered points, Round Rock was reeling.
Then they intercepted Shelburne and seemed to steal momentum. But it only lasted one play.
Nate Mitchell stepped in front of Bellville’s pass on the Dragons first play and took it 17 yards for the touchdown, giving Belton a 27-12 lead with 2:09 left in the half.
“I had the jam on the receiver, so I started sinking,” Mitchell said. “I didn’t see the receiver, so I went under and caught it and took it in from there.
“I feel like it got us a lot of momentum and got us back in the game. The defense was ready after that.”
And still, the Tigers were not done.
After the defense forced a quick three-and-out, Shelburne had one more long pass in his arm, throwing a 50-yard strike to Rhoads down the sideline with 22 seconds left and capping off the 34-point turnaround.
“Anytime you hit a big pass play and probably the one to Brandon was the biggest of those because it was a back-breaker,” Southern said.
Belton cruised in the second half.
Garrett Curry intercepted Bellville again and returned it 52 yards for the score. And at 41-12, the game was all but over with 6:46 left in the third.
“The thing we told them all along was at some point we had to steal momentum and when we get it we can’t let them have it back,” Southern said. “After we got it we kept it.”
Contact Nick Talbot at firstname.lastname@example.org or (254) 501-7569