Friday night’s District 8-5A opener between Temple and Shoemaker included all kinds of things — long touchdowns, drive-killing turnovers and momentum-draining penalties among them.
Because the second half did not include any points for the host Grey Wolves, the Wildcats could celebrate a hard-earned 37-27 victory at Leo Buckley Stadium.
After allowing 308 first-half yards as the teams played to a 27-27 halftime tie, Temple’s defense regrouped during the long intermission for homecoming and delivered a dominant, inspired performance in the second half.
The Wildcats permitted a mere 14 yards in the final two quarters, and Jeff Carr’s 20-yard touchdown run late in the third quarter and Cole Martin’s 35-yard field goal late in the fourth sealed the win for Temple (2-2).
“It feels so good to get a tough win. It’s tough to win at this place and Shoemaker’s a good football team,” Wildcats coach Mike Spradlin said after a game that ended at 11 p.m. “I can’t say enough good things about the halftime adjustments (defensive coordinator) Aaron (Dunnam) and his staff made. “We really challenged them to have fun in the second half. It was unbelievable.”
Added Temple senior strong safety Ladarius Thomas: “It feels amazing. We just came out in the second half and played harder on every level. It feels good to play a pretty good team and come out on top.”
Junior quarterback Ziere Banner had another big game for Shoemaker (2-2), passing for 213 yards and two long touchdowns and rushing 25 times for 147 yards, including scores of 20 and 40 yards. However, only 45 of his passing yards and 33 of his rushing yards came in the second half, and safety D’Artagnan Seay intercepted his deep pass with 1:32 remaining.
Carr rushed for 124 yards and the second half’s lone touchdown, which gave Temple the lead for good at 34-27. Senior quarterback Chase Truelove, making his first start after junior star Chad President’s season-ending knee injury two weeks ago, passed for 200 yards, including a 44-yard touchdown to DeAngelo Bell with three interceptions. Truelove also ran for 62 yards and scored a 22-yard touchdown.
The game began 22 minutes late after lightning was detected in the area and the stadium stands were cleared.
Martin sealed the win with Temple’s first field goal since 2011.
Temple racked up 299 yards total offense in the first half, but three times the Wildcats scored a touchdown only to allow the Grey Wolves to answer with a touchdown in 1:06 or less.
Temple started the scoring on the game’s first possession.
The Wildcats faced a fourth-and-11 situation at Shoemaker’s 44-yard line when Truelove passed down the right seam to a wide-open Bell, who with no defender within 10 yards cruised in for the touchdown and a 7-0 lead.
But Shoemaker needed only one play to strike back. Nahome Anderson ran a deep route down the left side and beat his defender to make a 65-yard touchdown reception from Banner, good for a 7-7 tie with 3 minutes gone.
The Wildcats’ next possession quickly ended in a punt, but a Shoemaker player inexplicably touched the rolling ball while Temple players crowded around to down it, and Temple pounced on the live ball at the Grey Wolves’ 22. From there Truelove carved through the Shoemaker defense, cutting to the right side and scoring untouched for a 14-7 Temple advantage with 7:44 left in the first quarter.
Shoemaker’s next two possessions ended with Banner fumbles caused by O’Sha Solomon and Dominick Thompson and recovered by Solomon and Ty McCorkle, respectively. But Truelove’s deep pass was intercepted by Robert Fischman at the Shoemaker 2 after the first turnover, and the Wildcat offense went three-and-out after the second fumble recovery.
The Grey Wolves forged a 14-14 tie midway through the second quarter when Banner followed a personal foul of Temple by charging through the middle of the defense for a 20-yard touchdown.