By Kevin Posival
Killeen Daily Herald
BELTON – For the second week in a row, the CenTex Barracudas' offense clicked in the first half and struggled in the second half, but unlike their losing effort last week against San Angelo, the Barracudas held their lead and put away the Alaska Wild 27-12.
The Barracudas nursed an eight-point lead with a lackluster offense in the second half. CenTex led by 14 at the break, but Clifford Carter fumbled the ball on the fourth play from scrimmage in the second half and the Wild marched the ball 38 yards in 3 minutes – aided by three CenTex penalties – to set Thomas Ford Jr.'s 3-yard run to pull the Wild within a single score.
"Anything the defense did, I can't be mad at them," Barracudas' head coach Stan Petry said. "They won the game for us."
Only the kickers seemed to struggle more than either second-half offenses both kickers combined to miss seven field goals. After Ford's score, CenTex's Lance Garner missed two and Alaska's Neil Collier missed one.
Donald Carrie marched the Barracudas 45 yards in just over three minutes in the fourth quarter and cemented the drive with his second touchdown pass to Olan Coleman, this one from 23 yards out.
But, the defense dealt the final blow.
Two plays after Coleman's touchdown, Wild quarterback David Short heaved a prayer that fell into Sean Hill's lap and the Barracudas were able to run the final four minutes off the clock.
"I knew we had it when Olan (Coleman) scored that last one," Petry said. "Our defense has responded the two times before. I knew if we could get some points we'd be good."
Coleman has had two receiving touchdowns in each of the Barracudas' last two games.
"That's really how our offense is," Coleman said of the Cudas' first-half jump. "We can make the big play at any time, it's the red zone that we need to work on."
The Barracudas only converted in the red zone once in their four trips, while the Wild was at 50 percent in their four appearances.
"We just didn't put the ball in," Coleman said. "The defense held us in this game."
Coleman caught six passes for 77 yards and Carter grabbed seven balls for 66 yards.
Carrie threw for 238 yards and three touchdowns on 21-ofr39 passing with no interceptions. Carrie also ran for a score with just under a minute remaining in the first half to give the Cudas a 20-6 halftime edge.
The Barracudas defense held the Wild offense to just 169 yards and neither team scored in the first quarter.
One minute and 20 seconds into the second quarter, Carrie connected with Carter a 21-yard scoring pass to open up the game's first score. Alaska answered on a 19-yard toss from Short to Nian Taylor with 10 to go in the second.
Carrie found Coleman for the first time in the endzone at the other end of a 24-yard scoring pass and with Garner's PAT, the Barracudas enjoyed an eight-point comfort zone.
Roderick Knight picked off his second interception in as many games on the Wild's next drive and the offense took advantage, driving the ball 45 yards and finishing with Carrie's three-yard scoring run.
The Barracudas host the expansion Katy Ruff Riders next Saturday with kickoff at 7:05 p.m.
Contact Kevin Posival at firstname.lastname@example.org or (254) 501-7562.