BELTON — There was turf freshly adorned with logos, player introductions with spotlights and the feeling of football in the air.
Then the CenTex Cavalry took to the field and fell on their swords.
The home opener of Central Texas’ newest sports franchise was an inauspicious debut Saturday night, when the Cavalry struggled in all facets of the game during a 69-21 loss to the Texas Revolution.
At sparsely populated Bell County Expo Center, the Champions Indoor Football league contest was a rout from the get-go. The Revolution scored touchdowns on their first three possessions — needing only nine snaps to do so — and led 21-0 at the 2:05 mark of the first quarter, by which time CenTex had totaled minus-5 yards.
It didn’t get much better from there for the Cavalry.
Quarterback Chris Dixon of the Dallas-based Revolution was 9-of-13 passing for 152 yards and four touchdowns in the first half alone, including scoring throws of 28 and 45 yards to Joe Adams along with a 27-yarder to Clinton Solomon as Texas built a 34-7 advantage by intermission. Dixon finished the night 17-of-25 for 243 yards and six touchdowns.
The Cavalry, who released quarterback Deron Ellis after their 55-37 season-opening loss to the Dallas Marshalls on March 4, never found a way to move the ball consistently. New QB Bryan Hicks got off to an 0-for-6 start, was 5-of-17 for just 35 yards by halftime and finished 13-for-39 for 133 yards and three scores.
“We have a bunch of guys from a bunch of different backgrounds that just started working together. We’re just kind of getting it going right now,” said Hicks, who had TD throws of 8 yards to Darren Mathis, 28 yards to Donovan Rasberry and 32 yards to Allen Daniels.
“Of course it’s no fun to lose by this score, but (the Revolution) has a bunch of guys that have been playing together for five years. We’re a bunch of throw-together guys that are just now putting it together.”
CenTex managed only eight first downs and didn’t surpass the 100-yard mark until more than midway through the fourth quarter, finishing with 138 yards.
“It’s a matter of timing, getting rid of the ball. In the first game, we had receivers wide open and just didn’t give them a chance. In this game, it was kind of the same thing,” CenTex coach Michael Finney said. “It’s Hicks’ first year, and he’s coming along. People have to believe from the bottom all the way to the top.”
The Cavalry’s problems weren’t limited to the offensive unit. The Revolution — one of the more established, successful franchises in the CIF — moved the ball at will against the CenTex defense most of the night, scoring on all but three possessions and totaling 339 yards, and the Cavalry had two field goal attempts blocked.
“We’ll get back to work and make changes and all of that stuff along the way,” Finney said. “With the support of our organization, there’s going to be some changes that go along with it.”