BELTON — A conversation with Lake Belton head coach Brian Cope rarely will lack a reference to the 212th degree, a mantra of extra effort he instilled into the program in its infancy.
It seems to be sinking in.
Whether it was Ty Legg’s diving interception to thwart one touchdown, receiver Connor Bartz tracking down a defender to prevent another, or backup quarterback Easton Hammond keeping the ship steady with starter Connor Crews dealing with a cramp, the Broncos momentum-shifting plays made the difference Friday night.
Lake Belton rushed for 252 yards, scored a TD in each quarter and posted a 28-14 victory over Cameron Yoe at Tiger Field to move to 4-0 this season.
Daniel Hardin led the Broncos’ stable of ball carriers with 81 yards on 13 carries. Micah Hudson tallied 60 yards, including a 15-yard TD, D’Arius Wilkerson had 51 yards and a pair of short rushing scores, Crews finished with 46 yards and Hammond converted a fourth-and-2 with a 3-yard run to set up a third-quarter TD.
“Daniel Hardin and D’Arius Wilkerson did a great job in the backfield. So did Micah, so did Connor, so did Easton when they had to,” Cope said. “Next man up. Total team effort. So proud of these kids and the coaching staff.”
Running back Phaibian Bynaum sprinted for second-half touchdown runs of 16 and 21 yards, and quarterback Ryan Muniz completed 16 of 23 passes for 157 yards and ran for another 88 for Yoe (0-4). The Yoemen, though, were hindered by a first-quarter interception — snagged by Legg — a fourth-quarter fumble and the hustle play from Bartz as time expired in the first half.
Ahead 14-0 and with Crews on the sideline, Hammond took over with 3:25 to go in the second quarter and moved Lake Belton to the Yoe 33 for one last play with 5 seconds remaining. His scramble resulted in a fumble that was scooped up by Yoe’s Fabian Salomon, who appeared headed for a TD. However, Bartz chased down Salomon at the 6 with no time left, preserving the two-score lead at the break.
“One of the big things that Coach Cope coaches is effort, being player-driven as a team and just giving effort in anything that you do, and I think that’s what that play shows,” said Bartz, who finished with three catches for 50 yards.
Yoe cut it to 14-7 on its first possession after halftime on Bynaum’s 16-yard TD. Hammond’s conversion deep in Yoe territory led to Wilkerson’s 2-yard score and the Broncos’ 21-7 advantage. Bynaum brought the Yoemen within seven through a 21-yard trip to the end zone, but Crews re-entered and delivered a strike to Jaylon Leza for a 64-yard TD and the final margin with 9:21 to go in the fourth.
“We didn’t make the plays we need to make to win a football game. That’s the bottom line. We’ll start winning when they decide they want to start winning,” Yoe coach Rick Rhoades said. “We stop making mistakes to beat ourselves, we’ll start winning.”
The Broncos were off and running out of the gates, their initial play on their first possession a 30-yard completion between Crews and Bartz. They eventually traveled 68 yards in eight plays, the last one Wilkerson’s 1-yard bulldoze into the end zone. Cole Jackson’s point-after kick made it 7-0 with 3 minutes gone.
The Yoemen looked poised to put up points on their opening drive, but Legg sat back in coverage, moved left and dived in front of Muniz’s intended receiver for an interception at the Broncos 3.
“I was at outside (linebacker) but we did a little bounce thing. I saw him running a post, so I sat for a little bit and right when the quarterback leaned back I broke,” Legg said. “Was a little late but then I dove.”
Lake Belton took over from there and Hudson cut left off tackle and danced 15 yards to the end zone on the 15th play of the drive for a 14-0 lead at 11:12 of the second quarter.
LAKE BELTON 28, CAMERON YOE 14
Yoe 0 0 7 7 — 14
Lake Belton 7 7 7 7 — 28
LB — Micah Hudson 15 run (Jackson kick)
Yoe — Phaibian Bynaum 16 run (Jesse Martinez kick)
LB — Wilkerson 2 run (Jackson kick)
Yoe — Bynaum 21 run (Martinez kick)
LB — Jaydon Leza 64 pass from Connor Crews (Jackson kick)
First downs 16 20
Rushes-yards 27-189 44-252
Passing yards 157 165
Comp.-Att.-Int. 16-23-1 11-19-0
Punts-average 3-36 2-36.5
Fumbles-lost 1-1 2-1
Penalties-yards 4-33 2-20
RUSHING — Yoe, Ryan Muniz 8-88, Bynaum 14-69, Jaidyn Sanchez 2-13, Fabian Salomon 3-10. Lake Belton, Daniel Hardin 13-81, Hudson 7-60, Wilkerson 12-51, Crews 6-46, Easton Hammond 4-16, team 2-(minus 12).
PASSING — Yoe, Muniz 16-23-1-157. Lake Belton, Crews 8-11-0-148, Hammond 3-8-0-17.
RECEIVING — Yoe, Kason Goolsby 9-81, Sancez 6-63, Pharrell Hemphill 1-23. Lake Belton, Leza 3-73, Connor Bartz 3-50, Hudson 3-30, Javeon Wilcox 2-12.
FRIDAY'S AREA FOOTBALL SCORES
- China Spring 47, Lampasas 7
- Florence 10, Goldthwaite 7
- Gatesville 40, Hillsboro 6
- Lake Belton 28, Cameron Yoe 14
- Salado 57, Mexia 0