ROUND ROCK — The stage was set for the Belton Tigers, all they needed to do was finish off the Hollywood-worthy script to secure their first win of the season.
With less than 4 minutes remaining in Friday night’s game at Round Rock, Belton drove from its 1-yard line to the Dragons 5 on its final possession and looked poised to kick the game-winning field goal with 2 seconds left on the clock.
Belton kicker Zach White lined up the 22-yard attempt. The snap and hold were good, but Round Rock’s Ty Dillon broke through the outside edge and blocked the kick to preserve the Dragon’s 35-33 win at Dragon Stadium.
After both sides took timeouts, White came out to attempt the go-ahead kick, only Dillon had other plans.
“We learned how to play football and we gutted out some good plays in that second half. Now we have to learn how to do it for four full quarters,” Belton head coach Brett Sniffin said. “In two games, we’ve played four really good quarters, but we just have to make sure it’s four quarters of the same game.”
After allowing 29 unanswered points in the second half last week in its season opener, Friday marked an opposite performance after halftime for Belton (0-2).
The Tigers trailed 35-7 in the second quarter and 35-14 at intermission but rallied for 19 consecutive points. Jimenez — who finished with 315 yards passing and 139 rushing — had a 15-yard TD pass to Kanyn Utley, a 12-yard TD throw to Wriley Madden and a 54-yard scoring toss to Maurice Reed in the second half to make it a 2-point game with 7:26 left in the fourth quarter.
“As a head coach, I’m extremely excited about how hard we fought in the second half,” Sniffin said. “I’m proud of the effort and I was glad to see the kind of team we’re capable of being.”
Belton forced Round Rock to punt after Reed’s TD catch but fumbled the return, and the Dragons recovered the ball at the Tigers 14. Three plays later, Round Rock quarterback Seth Ford dived for the goal line but fumbled the ball back to Belton to set up the Tigers’ last drive.
Reed had a team-high 153 yards rushing for Belton, which outgained Round Rock 607-441.
It was a less than ideal start to the game for Belton, which gave up 21 points in the first quarter and 14 in the second. Ford opened the scoring with a 12-yard TD run, then connected with Keyon Johnson for a 61-yard touchdown pass. Israel Morgan added scoring runs of 16 and 20 yards to make it 28-0 with 8:41 remaining in the second quarter before Belton got on the board with an 85-yard kickoff return by Reed.
Belton’s defense forced the Dragons to punt on three of their first four possessions of the second half, with the other being a failed fourth-down conversion after Trent West broke up a pass late in the third quarter.
Malik Jackson recovered a fumble for the Tigers in the second quarter.
ROUND ROCK 35, BELTON 33
Belton 0 14 13 6 — 33
Round Rock 21 14 0 0 — 35
RR—Seth Ford 12 run (Collin Harwick kick)
RR—Keyon Johnson 61 pass from Ford (Harwick kick)
RR—Israel Morgan 16 run (Harwick kick)
Bel—Maurice Reed 85 kickoff return (Zach White kick)
RR—Morgan 33 pass from Ford (Harwick kick)
Bel—Bryan Henry 18 pass from Ruben Jimenez (White kick)
Bel—Kanyn Utley 15 pass from Jimenez (kick failed)
Bel—Wriley Madden 12 pass from Jimenez (White kick)
Bel—Reed 54 pass from Jimenez (pass failed)
First downs 25 19
Rushes-yards 44-292 32-249
Passing yards 315 192
Comp.-Att.-Int. 18-31-1 13-22-0
Punts-average 4-34 4-36
Fumbles-lost 2-1 2-2
Penalties-yards 6-62 6-60
RUSHING—Belton, Reed 28-153, Jimenez 16-139, Ritchie Willess 1-3. Round Rock, Morgan 18-124, Mason Schuler 4-65, Ford 8-55, Jayden Bright 2-5.
PASSING—Belton, Jimenez 18-31-1-315. Round Rock, Ford 13-22-0-192.
RECEIVING—Belton, Utley 8-130, Henry 7-111, Reed 2-62, Madden 1-12. Round Rock, Johnson 5-72, Morgan 3-63, Schuler 3-28, William Layne 1-23, Tyler Clifton 1-6.
- Austin Vandegrift 44, Ellison 7
- Pflugerville Hendrickson 24, Killeen 17
- Georgetown 38, Copperas Cove 14
- Harker Heights 49, Georgetown East View 21
- Round Rock 35, Belton 33
- Temple 28, Magnolia West 13