By Jon Garrett
Killeen Daily Herald
LAMPASAS The good news for the North American Football League's Texas Mavericks was that, after missing a couple of games to stave off the effects of multiple concussions suffered earlier in the season, starting quarterback Russell Jacks looked sharp.
The bad news for the team was, well, that just about everything else was bad for the Mavericks as they dropped to 0-8 on the season with a 65-10 loss to the Austin Gamebreakers
Jacks completed 11-of-19 passes for 144 yards against the 7-1 Gamebreakers, perhaps the Southwest Division's toughest team and a preseason pick to compete for the NAFL title.
Led by running back Keith Clay, who scored four touchdowns on the night, and big-play receiver Kevin Williamson, the Gamebreakers rolled up 393 yards of offense against the Mavs, 300 of those yards coming in the first half, and turned what began as a close game into a laugher by taking advantage of several offensive and defensive miscues by Texas in the second half.
"For the first time, we can actually blame the defense for not showing up," said Mavs defensive tackle and former Killeen High standout Demond Benford after the game. "We knew we were going to have to come into this game with the right mental attitude. Once they got the momentum (at the top of the second quarter), we just couldn't get it back."
It was a 95-yard touchdown return of one of the two picks Jacks threw on the day, this one by the Gamebreakers' Correy Perez, that seemed to break the home team's spirit.
Perez jumped the slant route on Jacks' third-and-14 throw. Michael Clay's extra-point kick made it 30-8 and the Gambreakers never looked back.
The Mavs pulled within 23-8 by scoring their first points at home all season on a 16-yard reception by tight end Terrence Carter. Fullback Lee Moore added the 2-point conversion run.
Carter finished the night with 34 yards on three catches.
"Our team is just playing with a lot of heart, and our guys never quit playing," said an emotional Glen Covey after the game. "Our team has been through the roof (emotionally) the last three games. The guys are starting to have fun now. The staff is having fun.
"We're building a foundation and looking toward next year."
Two Mavericks were ejected during the game and both teams traded personal fouls throughout the contest, but in the end both teams huddled together in friendship and prayer.
After the shared fellowship, Gamebreakers coach Kerry Overton said that he knew coming in that the Mavs would not quit.
"They have a good organization and they have some very good athletes," Overton said. "We got some good play from Keith and (Carlton) Booe at running back and Kevin (Williams) at receiver."
Covey's team, which sparkled in the shotgun but had trouble snapping the ball under center and managed minus-49 yards rushing despite a couple of long runs by Trenton Cozby, won't have much time to work out the bugs. The Mavs will host the Texas Sharks at the Gavin Garrett Soccer Complex next Saturday in another 6 p.m. game. In their first meeting this season, the Sharks crushed the Mavs 62-12 on the road.
The Gamebreakers will have a week off to heal before traveling to Montgomery County to face the Bulldogs.
Contact Jon Garrett at firstname.lastname@example.org