LAMPASAS — After two consecutive years of consistent success, the Lampasas Badgers are off to an inauspicious start to 2021, dropping to 1-3 after a 47-7 drubbing at the hands of the China Spring Cougars on Friday evening.
An explosive, 27-point outburst by China Spring in the third quarter solidified the first two-game regular season losing streak for the Badgers since 2018, when they lost three in a row early in the season of a 7-5 campaign.
Ethan Moreno scored the lone touchdown for the Badgers, who struggled to get things going offensively for nearly the entirety of the game.
Moreno’s 11-yard score came with 1:13 left in the first quarter to cap off one of only a few drives that the Badgers sustained enough momentum to move the chains.
“We just weren’t ever able to get any traction going offensively at any point,” said Lampasas head coach Troy Rogers after the game.
The Badgers offense accounted for just 179 yards of total offense and eight first downs in the game.
The Badgers’ troubles in the second half were compounded by the Cougar defense forcing three turnovers, including a 43-yard interception return for a touchdown.
A first-half interception meant the Badgers turned the ball over four times in the game.
“Of course, the four turnovers don’t help anybody,” Rogers said. “You’re not going to be able to beat anybody when you turn the ball over four times — I don’t care who it is. Especially not an opponent like China Spring.”
The Cougars came into the game ranked No. 5 in the Class 4A, Division II rankings.
Rogers added that the output was sort of indicative of the Badgers' play of late, saying they have “kind of sputtered offensively” the last couple of weeks.
“We need to kind of get back to finding what we can do to get back in a rhythm and make our quarterback comfortable so he feels good about things,” Rogers said, adding that it’s not anything that is “unfixable.”
Badger quarterback Dylan Sanchez struggled, completing just eight of his 24 pass attempts for 74 yards and three interceptions.
Looking at the positives, Rogers highlighted the play of his defense in the first half.
“The first half I thought we played well enough defensively — we were in the game,” Rogers said. “We gave them a late one right before half to give them a 10-point lead.”
Rogers recalled the 3-yard touchdown run by Dawson Exline of the Cougars. The touchdown was set up by a long gain on fourth-and-3 on the previous play.
Cougar quarterback Major Bowden found wide receiver Tre Hafford on a quick out. Hafford evaded a diving tackle attempt by a Badger defender and hurdled over another downfield, giving him a few extra yards on the 40-yard catch-and-run.
“Like I said, that first half was good football by our defense,” Rogers said. “You know, again, take away some big plays here and there and we’re all over that.”
The Cougars used that late score to give them momentum after half. Receiving the ball to start the second half, China Spring went to work quickly to extend the 10-point halftime advantage into a 40-point blowout.
“Our depth issues showed up kind of glaringly,” Rogers said, adding that many of his players see snaps on both sides of the ball.
“When you’re tired, you’re tired,” Rogers said. “And that’s just one of those deals that we’re going to have to learn how to deal with, because we have what we have and I think we have a good team. We just have to make sure that we’re fresh and we’re able to play every snap whistle to whistle.”
The Badgers are scheduled to go back on the road for a matchup with the Gatesville Hornets, who beat Hillsboro 40-6 on Friday.
“Gatesville is much improved than they were when we last played them, which was two years ago,” Rogers said of the 2-2 Hornets.
In 2019, the Badgers easily defeated the Hornets 59-0 at McKamie Stadium in Gatesville. Last year’s matchup was canceled due to coronavirus issues.
“We know we’re going to be in for a dogfight next Friday,” Rogers said.
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