Ellison had to wait an extra day to open its season against Leander, but the Eagles didn’t have to wait long to get rolling Saturday thanks largely to Carl Robinson III, whose five first-half touchdowns propelled Ellison to a 56-21 win.
The senior signal caller ran for a score and tossed four more, and Ta’Von Gwynn hit Jayden Smith on a double pass for an 85-yard score, to stake the Eagles to a 42-0 halftime advantage that Leander was never able to overcome.
“I was ready,” Smith said of having to wait an extra day to play.
“Don’t make us wait,” Robinson added. “We’ll make you pay.”
In a half where the Eagle offense didn’t need help, its defense gave it to it early Saturday, as senior Jaira Baker scooped a fumbled and returned it 24 yards to the Leander 6 on the opening drive of the game.
Robinson followed by breaking six tackles in the backfield then barreling over a defender at the goal line for a 6-yard score on the next play.
The Eagles’ next drive lasted just two plays as Robinson found a wide-open X’zavier Green for a 43-yard touchdown and a 14-0 lead.
The ensuing Ellison drive went just three plays, as Robinson bought time, nearly took off, stayed in the pocket, then hit Smith, who outraced a defender up the sideline for a 68-yard touchdown.
The Eagles’ 21-first quarter points came in six plays and just two minutes, 25 seconds.
“It’s just the family part,” Robinson said of the fast start. “Just one play isn’t going to make that happen, but we’re all together and that’s what turned us up.”
The next Ellison drive was slowed by 30 yards in penalties but still ended with Robinson capping the march with an 8-yard touchdown toss to Gwynn for a 28-0 lead at the 10:33 mark in the second.
Robinson added one more first-half touchdown, a 17-yard touchdown pass to Darrell Peterkine, to cap his remarkable start. He finished 17 of 24 passing for 245 yards and four touchdowns and added 47 yards and a score on the ground.
Ellison, meanwhile, finished off the half with a double pass from Robinson to Gwynn, then Gwynn to Smith, who raced the rest of the way for an 85-yard touchdown.
“I had to show my teammates that I’m not slow,” Smith said with a smile, “because they keep saying I’m slow.”
Smith finished with five catches for 217 yards and two touchdowns.
Leander, however, outscored Ellison 21-0 in the third quarter to pull within 42-21.
But Ellison didn’t flinch.
Instead, the defense stiffened up — with Aubrey Kelley notching a pair of fourth-quarter sacks — and the running game took over, with Jaira Baker and Terry Gillespie adding rushing touchdowns while Peterkine picked up 57 of his 112 rushing yards in the fourth.
“Darrell’s a different kid this year,” Eagle head coach Trent Gregory said. “Darrell has matured and grown up, and I talked about that at our team meal and our team meeting the other day to let him know that he’s running really hard, and he’s being selfless.”
And thanks to a strong team effort Saturday, Ellison showed no ill effects of waiting an extra day before its season opener — and it was clear from the opening drive.