By Kevin Posival
Killeen Daily Herald
BELTON — CenTex head coach Chris Duliban said his defense wanted to make a statement after Katy put up 72 points on it last week.
The Alaska Wild, who had the second-best defense in the league and sat fifth, just behind CenTex, in the IFL standings, looked more like their 2007 team that started 0-12 and less like a team trying to get into the playoffs.
And, the CenTex defense ... well, they wait for Katy next week after holding the Wild to just 56 total yards in the Barracudas’ 54-7 win Saturday night at the Bell County Expo Center.
“We’re just relentless,” said recently acquired defensive lineman Kai Zeiglar. “We have three guys on the same line and everybody’s going to eat. We stayed hungry.”
Zeiglar led the defense that barely yielded a glimpse of the Barracudas’ side of the field.
Zeiglar, a Copperas Cove graduate who just signed with the team on Wednesday, registered six tackles — three for a loss and two sacks — and the Barracudas defense held Alaska (4-5) to just 68 rushing yards and minus-12 through the air, and had a shutout until Alaska quarterback Keith Smith connected with Thomas Ford Jr. on a 23-yard scoring pass halfway through the third quarter. Prior to that, the Wild’s longest play from scrimmage had been a 6- yard completion late in the second half.
“That happens when you get torched for 72 points,” Duliban said of his defense. “They weren’t satisfied with what happened last week and they were hungry. They wanted to go out and make a statement that we do have a solid defense and a hungry defense.”
CenTex quarterback James Brown threw for seven touchdowns and 262 yards and led the Barracudas (6-4) to scores on nine of their 13 drives.
Kelvin Irving (8-63 receiving) and Olan Coleman (7-102) each caught three touchdown passes and Darrick Wallace (3-26) caught one in the second quarter to give the Barracudas a 24-0 lead at halftime.
“(Offensively) we’re starting to get to know each other a little bit better,” Duliban said.
Alaska held Brown and the Barracudas scoreless in their final three possessions of the first half, but CenTex would score seemingly at will in the second after the Wild forced the Barracudas to settle for a Lance Garner 29-yard field goal halfway through the third quarter.
Two and a half minutes after the Wild’s only score, Brown hit Coleman for the second time in the game and Coleman ran more like a fullback than a receiver into the end zone to give the Barracudas a 34-7 lead.
From there, the Barracudas’ defense tightened up even more. Tim Cook batted Duane Corlett’s desperation pass back into the quarterback’s face mask on first down and then another aggressive pass rush forced Corlett into throwing an interception to Deron Ellis that set up a 10-yard touchdown pass to Irving at the end of the third quarter.
John Machado registered a sack on the Wild’s first possession of the fourth quarter and Brown again found Irving for a score, this one 13 yards out and with 9:43 left in the game. Then Brown hit Coleman on a 31-yard heave four minutes later.
“We did a little bit better job of spacing with the receivers and blocking with linemen and used some different blocking schemes,” Duliban said. “We’re happy with the win and we’re looking forward to next week with Katy again.”
Brown and the offense were nearly as punishing in the first half as the defense. They racked up scores on their first four possessions and put up 115 yards to Alaska’s six.
Brown had a pair of 17-yard touchdown tosses to Coleman and Irving wrapped around a Garner 19-yard field goal in the first quarter as the Barracudas jumped out to a 17 point lead.
Brown then hit Wallace on a 10 yard pass less than three minutes into the second quarter and before Alaska had even registered its first first down.
With the Barraucudas up 24-0, Alaska finally settled itself, but mostly on defense as it held CenTex out of the end zone twice once the Barracudas had penetrated the Wild five.
Brown was sacked at the 15 on a fourth-and-goal with under seven to play and then Alaska blocked Garner’s 15-yard field
goal attempt with less than a minute to play in the half but neither the offense nor defense slowed down.
Contact Kevin Posival at email@example.com or (254) 501-7562.