By Nick Talbot
Killeen Daily Herald
BELTON - Belton needed a game to get itself back on track. Ellison just needed some momentum, any positive sign of life.
The Tigers got what they needed Friday. The winless Eagles did not.
Belton ran through the Eagles 37-0 at Tiger Stadium and kept itself in the District 12-5A playoff race.
Belton had lost to rival Temple 23-8 last week, putting it in a precarious playoff position.
"It wasn't that we were down last week, but I think we were focused more on the rivalry aspect than on the football game," said Belton senior Darius Ewing. "And you saw what happened.
"This week we had a chance to get our confidence back."
Despite the blowout win, Belton (6-2, 3-2) struggled in the red zone initially. After an offsides call, they had to settle for a 27-yard field goal by Carlo Mosnia, despite driving down to the Ellison 6-yard line. Then, on its next possession, Belton drove to the Ellison 9, only to fumble.
Kyle Rhoads, though, got the ball well outside the red zone on the Tigers' next possession, taking an end around and running 48 yards for Belton's first touchdown with 7:08 left in the second quarter.
"Whenever you get a big play like that it obviously sparks the offense," Rhoads said. "We have just been tired of fumbling the ball down in the red zone … so it definitely gave us a spark on offense and defense."
Then with 52 second left in the quarter, Donavan Williams scored on a 1-yard dive to put Belton up 17-0. Following a failed fake punt by the Eagles in the third quarter, Williams, who ran for 119 yards on 17 carries, rumbled 38 yards for another touchdown. This one put the Tigers up 23-0.
Belton added another score in the third quarter when Peter Shelburne, who finished 14-of-23 passing for 194 yards, found Ewing in the back of the end zone. Shelburne added a 23-yard touchdown run with 6:54 remaining in the fourth quarter to cap off the Belton scoring.
"It was a little better. We are still making some mistakes," said Belton coach Rodney Southern. "I'll take that, though. The main thing is we had to get over (Temple) and to do it this way and not give up any points is good."
Ellison's only effective offense was Isiah Cowan. The junior running back ran the ball non-stop for the Eagles (0-8, 0-5), racking up 22 carries for 125 yards.
However, he couldn't get them into the end zone. And worse yet, he left the game in the third quarter with an apparent leg injury.
Ellison only attempted four passes. All four fell into someone's hands. However, twice it was into the hands of Belton defenders as Rhoads and Kyle Battle both picked off Eagle quarterback Greg Bryant.
"I think a lot of people knew we had to go this week," Rhoads said. "We couldn't have any more bad games. So, we had to put the pedal to the metal and go."
The win setup a playoff scenario game between Belton and Bryan next Friday. The Vikings lost to Heights 17-14 and sit at 2-3 in district play and The Tigers are now in a three-way tie for third place in 12-5A with Temple and the Knights at 3-2.
"You can't downplay (the Bryan game) at all," Rhoads said. "It is a must win. We have to go get it."