BELTON — It’s safe to say that a stalled opening drive by the offense followed by a busted coverage on defense that turned into an 80-yard touchdown on the other team’s first snap weren't jotted down on the white board as must-dos prior to night’s game.
Sure, the first few minutes didn’t go well for Belton. After that, though, most everything went according to the Tigers’ actual plans.
Receiver Denver Holman and quarterback Connor Carothers connected on three scoring passes, Dean Blondmonville and the Tigers’ rushing attack got on track and Belton surged to a 45-24 nondistrict victory over Round Rock 24 hours after the game was originally scheduled.
“The main thing is event, response and outcome. You can’t control the event, sometimes you can’t control the outcome, but you can always control the response. You just have to play the next play. And they did a great job with that,” Belton head coach Sam Skidmore said.
The contest was set for night at Dragon Stadium in Round Rock but 30 minutes before the scheduled kickoff a weather delay was implemented and never lifted, forcing the postponement and move to Tiger Field.
So there were the Tigers and Dragons night, piling up the yards and points in the teams’ third straight meeting. Belton also won in 2016 and 2017.
“I was so proud of the kids,” Skidmore said of his bunch. “They did a great job refocusing. That’s the sign of a mature team.”
Carothers completed 19 of 27 passes for 272 yards and four touchdowns for Belton’s offense that gained 521 yards to Round Rock’s 445. Holman’s TD catches went for 39, 10 and 32 yards among his seven receptions for 149. After being held in check during Week 1’s loss to Austin Westlake, Blondmonville erupted for 167 yards on 17 carries and had his first two varsity TDs, too.
Quarterback Ryan O’Keefe, whose long TD pass to Garrett Miller less than 3 minutes into the game had the Dragons off and running, finished with 240 total yards, and running back Marquis Brown tallied 140 on the ground.
“It felt good to be out here playing with my family and everything,” said Blondmonville, whose teammate Marques Aguilar added 75 yards rushing. “Last week, we kind of struggled, but we played better together. The offensive line did good.”
Down 28-17, Round Rock embarked on its first possession after the break to Belton’s 17 where it faced a fourth-and-2. A wayward option pitch from O’Keefe to Brown threw the play out of sorts and Belton linebacker Jarrett Karnowski tackled Brown for an 8-yard loss to thwart the drive.
Belton went 75 yards the other way, finishing the march with Carothers’ 10-yard TD to Holman for a 35-17 lead. The two connected again for 42-17, and Logan Smith added a 30-yard field goal with left to seal it.
“We just came together as a team and played as hard as we could. We made our adjustments, got rolling and we got the outcome we wanted,” Karnowski said.
Belton’s answer to Round Rock’s early heave was efficient. The Tigers needed six plays to travel 68 yards, which included a 45-yard jaunt by Blondmonville and Carothers’ 12-yard TD connection with Anthony Brown.
Blondmonville’s 6-yard scoring run upped it to 14-6. After Beck Kipperman made a 39-yard field goal at of the second quarter, Blondmonville charged ahead for a 30-yard TD and 21-9 advantage.
O’Keefe’s 11-yard keeper shortly thereafter and Brown’s 2-point conversion run brought the Dragons within one score, 21-17, with before halftime, plenty of time for the Tigers to hit back before the break. They did with Carothers’ 39-yard TD to Holman for the 28-17 lead.