When it rains, it pours.

And that didn't just apply to the weather Friday around Leo Buckley Stadium.

The Ellison Eagles returned a pair of kickoffs for touchdowns and went on to win their District 12-6A opener 35-16 over Waco.

It was the Eagles' first win of the season after an 0-2 start, and the first win at Ellison for new coach Todd Wright.

Luckily for both teams, the lightning that delayed other area games stayed away long enough for the game to be played uninterrupted.

After Waco took an early 6-0 lead, Rian McKinley returned the ensuing kickoff 94 yards for a touchdown. The Eagles led the rest of the way.

Ellison took command at the start of the second half when Tye Hill returned the kickoff 87 yards to send the Eagles to a 28-6 lead.

Ellison (1-2) had to battle past penalties throughout the game, with eight in the first half, one of which cost the Eagles a touchdown.

Between both teams, a total of 16 penalties were called throughout the game.

The Eagles’ first flag came on the kickoff and led to a rekick.

Waco (1-2) had an early illegal formation penalty at the start of the first quarter but the Lions got on the board first and took a 6-0 lead after the extra point kick was blocked.

Ellison quickly responded as senior McKinley scored on the kickoff in the middle of the first quarter.

The Lions brought in senior JaWayne Howard at quarterback. On fourth-and-11, after a 15-yard penalty put Waco at its own 8-yard line, Howard fumbled the snap and Ellison recovered, which put the Eagles on the 3-yard line to start their second possession of the game.

Within sight of the end zone, junior quarterback Breezion Spiller sprinted up the middle for another touchdown. The Eagles completed a 2-point conversion to take a 15-6 lead.

Spiller found his way into the end zone once more in the second quarter to put the Eagles up 21-6 after another 2-point conversion failed.

The Lions attempted a 42-yard field goal late in the half but it was no good.

After the break, Eagle senior Hill took the kickoff up the right side for a touchdown, his second kickoff return TD at Buckley this season.

The Eagles led 28-6 with 11 minutes, 45 seconds left in the third quarter.

Spiller later attempted a pass over the middle to wide receiver Gary Landrum but it was picked off by the Lions’ Rodney Ratliff.

Waco took over at its own 34.

Waco running back Randy Carpenter found his way into the end zone at the end of the third quarter to pull the Lions within 15 points, 28-13.

Looking to distance themselves once more in the fourth quarter, Spiller launched a deep ball for a 55-yard touchdown pass to Greg Cooke that put the Eagles ahead 35-13.

The Lions added a late field goal to cap the scoring.

The Lions have a bye next week before facing Waco Midway at home on Sept. 28. Ellison heads to Waco next week to face Midway (1-1 12-6A) at 7:30 p.m. on Friday.

fcardenas@kdhnews.com | 254-501-7562

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