BELTON — Saturday night’s 60 minutes of football at Crusader Stadium were a microcosm of Mary Hardin-Baylor’s season to date: suffocating defense and an offense that has just enough Jekyll to overcome its Hyde.
Second-ranked UMHB stonewalled Trinity to the tune of 184 total yards for the Tigers, and the Crusaders overcame three turnovers that killed scoring chances en route to a 49-7 victory that capped the first half of their regular season.
While knocking off Trinity for the fifth straight time, UMHB (5-0) stretched its regular-season winning streak to 39 games as it heads into a bye week — the first scheduled open date in program history — hoping to heal some key players and iron the kinks out of its offense.
“We’re still a work in progress. This open date comes at a good time for us,” Crusaders coach Pete Fredenburg said. “We have some guys who are banged up that we’ll get well.”
And as for the offense that racked up 414 yards but fumbled the ball away three times and couldn’t pick up a first down until late in the first quarter, Fredenburg has some plans for it, as well.
“We still didn’t throw the ball real well at times. We have to be able to get (defenders) out of the box,” he said. “When we spread the field, we’re having a hard time getting people to go out with us.”
The hit-and-miss aspect of the Crusaders’ offense had little consequence against the Tigers (3-2), who totaled minus-30 yards on the ground and had a handful of punts that traveled less than 20 yards.
“The defense obviously did a nice job of stopping Trinity’s stuff tonight,” Fredenburg said. “I’m really encouraged by our defensive line,
and our secondary is getting better.”
Senior free safety Cody Jones had a team-high seven tackles and junior
Cruback Eric Allen picked off Trinity quarterback Stephen Smith twice.
“From watching film, we knew what was coming a lot of the time,” Allen
said. “On the second one, I knew what was coming. I knew it was going to be the out route, so I beat him to the ball. The first one came straight
The Crusaders couldn’t turn either interception into points, giving the
ball away both times - first on a snap that hit the leg of a receiver
going in motion and second on a fumble by quarterback Zach Anderson inside the Tigers’ 20-yard line.
“We’re in the scoring area and fumble, and that drives me crazy,” said
Fredenburg, whose team also fumbled inside the Trinity 15 late in the
fourth quarter. “(Zach) does some good things, but he has to eliminate
Anderson was 11-of-18 passing for 103 yards and three touchdowns, one each to Kamray Runnells, Keith Reineke and Colton Jacob.
The offense’s primary workhorse was running back Caleb Moore. After
touching the ball only four times in the previous three weeks, the junior
turned 24 carries into 108 yards and a touchdown.
“It felt great,” said Moore, who is in the backfield after last year’s
one-season experiment at wide receiver. “I came out with the attitude that I had something to prove. I tried to run harder every time I got the
Michael Carpenter and Glen Gilliam also had rushing touchdown, and Derek Williams jump-started things on a cool Saturday night by returning the opening kickoff 98 yards for a 7-0 lead only 13 seconds in.
The Tigers’ only points came on a pass from Smith to Cody Sandman, who used a double-move to get behind the secondary and haul in the 33-yard touchdown reception.
Sandman’s catch cut Trinity’s deficit to 14-7 with about 11 minutes left
in the second quarter. From there it was all Crusaders, who limited the
Tigers to only 28 yards in the second half.
NOTES: UMHB senior DT Silvio Diaz did not play because of an injured toe. ... Senior RB Elijah Hudson, the Crusaders’ leading rusher, played
sparingly on special teams but did not carry the ball for the second
straight week because of a sore ankle. ... UMHB’s next game is Oct. 19
at home against Louisiana College. ... The only other two regular-season idle weeks in program history came in 2001 — when the McMurry game was canceled in the wake of 9/11 — and in 2005, when the Louisiana College game was canceled by the threat of Hurricane Rita.