Last week, rain dropped in sheets. The sky was clear and the air crisp Friday night. It still poured, though — a whole bunch of points.
It didn’t take long for Belton to figure out that a truck-load of touchdowns was in order after Ellison’s Tye Hill burst through the line for a 67-yard score 8 seconds into the contest. The Tigers obliged the shootout requirement, posted a single-game, program-record point total and took their first postseason step — qualifying.
A 30-point second-quarter — including the second of Marques Aguilar’s three rushing scores and three Connor Carothers touchdown passes — separated Belton toward halftime, and the Tigers kept the pedal down in the second half to outslug the Eagles 86-55 on a frenzied night at Leo Buckley Stadium.
“I’m very proud of our kids. They answered the bell every time like they always do,” Belton head coach Sam Skidmore said. “They are a gritty bunch. Lots to work on but couldn’t be prouder of their grit.”
Belton (6-2, 5-1 District 12-6A) clinched a program-record fifth straight playoff berth and remained in third place, a game back of Temple and Waco Midway with two regular-season tilts left. The Tigers also improved to 8-1 at Killeen ISD’s shared venue since 2014 after a back-and-forth spree that lasted for nearly 3½ hours.
The 86 points surpassed the previous modern-era mark of 70, which the Tigers posted against Round Rock Stony Point in 2016.
Carothers finished 18-of-26 for 248 yards and three TDs in two quarters of action. Backup signal-caller Ruben Jimenez took the reins in the second half, which began with Belton up 44-25, and completed nine of 10 passes for 250 yards and four scores.
Anthony Brown hauled in nine catches for 193 yards and three TDs, Anthony Fairbanks caught eight passes for 154 and two TDs, and Denver Holman added 99 yards receiving and a TD plus a 64-yard kickoff return for Belton. Aguilar recorded a season-high 132 yards rushing.
Jason Stephens and Tre Berry had an interception each for the Tigers.
Quarterback Breezion Spiller had 122 yards and three TDs rushing, and passed for another 253 and three touchdowns for Ellison (3-6, 3-4). Hill chipped in 131 on the ground for the Eagles, and the teams combined for a whopping 1,270 yards.
There were 664 yards and 69 points over the first 24 minutes, and the doors to a bonkers first half swung wide open on the first snap when Hill sprinted 67 yards for the Eagles’ 6-0 lead.
Belton countered with Holman’s kickoff return, and the lead was a hot-potato after that. The Eagles went up 12-7 on Spiller’s 6-yard keeper, Aguilar’s 4-yard TD made it 14-12 and Spiller bumped his team ahead with a scurrying 31-yard TD for a 19-14 advantage after one quarter.
Logan Smith’s 29-yard field goal cut Belton’s deficit to 19-17 before Spiller took off for a 37-yard score to push the lead to 25-17 at 11:07 of the second.
It was all Belton for the remainder of the period as Aguilar churned in from 5 yards, and Carothers hit Brown twice around a TD strike to Holman for the Tigers’ 44-25 halftime cushion.
FRIDAY'S 12-6A FOOTBALL
- Belton 86, Ellison 55
- Copperas Cove 50, Harker Heights 6
- Temple 52, Waco 0
- Waco Midway 56, Shoemaker 14
- BYE: Killeen
THURSDAY, NOV. 1
- Shoemaker (1-7, 1-5) at Copperas Cove (5-3, 3-3), 7 p.m.
FRIDAY, NOV. 2
- Killeen (4-4, 3-3) at Ellison (3-6, 3-4), 7:30 p.m.
- Waco (1-7, 0-6) at Belton (6-2, 5-1), 7:30 p.m.
- Waco Midway (6-1, 6-0) at Temple (8-0, 6-0), 7:30 p.m.
- BYE: Harker Heights