By Kevin Posival
Killeen Daily Herald
BELTON — Belton and Shoemaker combined for 92 points and more than 1,300 yards and, get this, only 56 in the air.
Belton running back Keith Daniels ran for 375 yards on 37 carries, breaking Ramonce Taylor’s record of 347 yards as a Belton junior in 2003, leading the Tigers to a 47-44 win over Shoemaker at Belton’s Tiger Field.
“What happened tonight, you had a shootout,” Shoemaker coach Ken Gray said, “and we came in second. Basically, you’ve got to stop the run and we didn’t do that.”
Belton’s defense wasn’t much better at stopping the Grey Wolves’ double-threat of quarterback Andre Smith and runnin back Dion Demers. Demers tallied 306 yards and two touchdowns on 21 carries and Smith had 222 yards and two touchdowns, also on 21 carries.
“Our big thing going into this game was not give up the big pass play,” first-year Belton coach Rodney Southern said. “They’ve been hurting teams with the deep ball and we didn’t want to give them that. We didn’t want to give them that many rushing yards either.”
Belton (3-3, 1-1 13-5A) trailed 23-14 at halftime, but scored on all five of its second-half possessions, including 14 unanswered points to open the third quarter to give the Tigers the lead, 29-23, for the first time since Cole Dominquez and completed his only pass of the night, a 20-yard strike to Jarrett Crowell late in the second quarter.
Shoemaker (1-5, 0-2) finally got on the board in the second half on a 17-yard run by Smith, but Michael Munoz’s PAT kick sailed wide right and the two teams were deadlocked at 29.
The two teams traded scores four times in the fourth quarter, with Shoemaker keeping the pressure on the Tigers by converting a PAT run and stayed ahead until Belton hit a 31-yard field goal with under a minute left.
The Grey Wolves started their final drive at their own 20 and got as far as the Belton 31 after runs of 30 and 14 by Smith, but on second-and-five, and more importantly, with only three seconds left the clock, Smith’s pass to M.J. Porter fell incomplete in the end zone and the Tigers had their first district win since 2005.
“The big thing for us is that it gets us back into the hunt going into next week against Temple,” Southern said. “They’re coming off of two big wins (the Wildcats beat A&M Consolidated 35-34 Friday night) so this will help.
“I’m not going to say this disrict is up for grabs, it’s too early. But ... you’ve got to play each week. If you would’ve told me there would be more than 1,000 yards of offense and 92 points scored here tonight, I’d thought you were crazy.”
Not only were both teams looking to crack the win column for the first time in the early District 13-5A season, but both Shoemaker and Belton desperately needed to notch a win, period. After winning its first game, Shoemaker has lost its last five while the Tigers ended their streak at three after going 2-0 to start the season.
Smith, Demers and Daniels surpassed 100 yards in the first half. Daniels led the bunch with 127 yards on 20 carries while Demers led the Grey Wolves with 117 on nine carries and Smith totaled 116 on eight.
Belton got on the board first with a fourth-and-goal carry from the 1 by Daniels on a second-chance opportunity. The Grey Wolves held Daniels on the first try for no yardage, but Shoemaker was penalized with an offsides call and Daniels was able to make good on the reprieve.
The Grey Wolves marched 86 yards in three minutes and Smith completed a 15-yard touchdown pass to M.J. Porter for his first completion of the night. A failed 2-point conversion kept the Tigers on top with just over 2 minutes to go in the first.
Halfway through the second, Smith got free on a 26-yard run that put the Grey Wolves up 12-6 after Shoemaker’s second 2-point conversion failed.
Dominquez completed his touchdown pass to Crowell and put the Tigers on top with 2½ minutes to play in the half, but Derrick Mays returned the ensuing kickoff 96 yards and Munoz connected on a 29-yard field goal with three seconds to play after Daniels had Belton’s sixth fumble of the game — but only this one was lost.
Contact Kevin Posival at email@example.com or (254) 501-7562.