BELTON — It turned out to be pretty perfect — at Tiger Field and elsewhere — for Belton.
Denver Holman returned the opening kickoff for a touchdown and later added a punt return TD. Anthony Brown tied the single-game school record with four touchdown receptions. The defense yielded a season-low point total. A bevy of upperclassmen, including injured quarterback Connor Carothers, took the field on senior night. Sophomore signal-caller Ruben Jimenez didn’t just dip his toes into the varsity waters in his first start but instead made quite a splash.
And a few minutes after Belton’s 63-7 rout of Waco on Friday night, it was announced over the public address system that Waco Midway had toppled Temple, giving the Tigers a chance next week to claim a piece of the District 12-6A title with a win over the Panthers.
To think Belton head coach Sam Skidmore’s main request of his players Friday was to have fun.
Check that off and a whole bunch more.
“I wanted to see us on defense flying around and selling out. I wanted to see us have good pass protection and us clicking on all cylinders (on offense),” Skidmore said. “So, I just wanted us to come out and have fun and play with a lot of energy.”
A week after hanging 86 points on Killeen Ellison, Belton (7-2, 6-1), which already had its playoff spot locked up, went right back to piling up points against Waco (1-8, 0-7).
Jimenez, who took over for Carothers in the second half last Friday after Carothers suffered a season-ending separated left shoulder injury, completed 14 of 17 passes — including his first six attempts — for 253 yards and five touchdowns, all in the first half. He’s thrown for 503 yards and nine TDs over his last four quarters after having just 46 yards passing through the first seven-plus games.
Carothers was inserted with less than 2 minutes to go and kneeled out Belton’s final possession, exiting to an ovation and plenty of taps on his helmet from teammates.
“I like that he has the confidence. We come into every practice and give him encouragement,” Belton receiver Anthony Brown said of Jimenez. “We do a good job, us receivers, of being in the same spot and being reliable for him. We made the transition easy for him and he’s really stepped up.”
Jimenez connected with Brown for touchdowns of 9, 45, 48 and 22 yards.
The latter was set up by Tre Berry’s fourth interception of the season and put the Tigers ahead 49-0 with 2:19 before halftime.
Seth Hussey took over at QB in the second half and led a pair of drives capped by D’emante Smith TD runs of 25 and 28 yards. Smith finished with 92 yards rushing on six carries. Martin Compean added 66 yards on the ground, and Anthony Fairbanks had a 38-yard TD catch.
Holman’s 79-yard second-quarter punt return was his second such score of the season. His first, in the opener versus Austin Westlake, went for a school-record 84 yards.
Octavius Davis and Trey Harrison each had a sack for Belton’s defense.
“We worked hard this week. We are really excited about that victory,” linebacker Jarrett Karnowski said.
Added Brown: “I think this week, importantly, we focused on the little things. We get the big things done. It’s time for us to focus on the details before the deep playoff run we’re about to go into.”
One more outing to go before that, though.
“Midway is a good football team, we’re a good football team so you just have to go play the game,” Skidmore said. “It’s fun to have something riding on it. Coach (Jeff) Hulme does a fantastic job over there.”