Despite a 21-0 loss to Corpus Christi Calallen, Tivy’s young defense showed the maturity and intensity Coach David Jones has been looking for.
“Our kids on defense played awesome. They played their hearts out,” Jones said. “These boys (defense) can’t play that many snaps and the offense go three and out. We can’t do that. We have to make first downs.”
The Wildcats held the ball for most of the game, drilling the Tivy defense on the ground five yards at a time. At one point in the fourth quarter, Calallen held the ball for more than eight minutes, capitalizing on their strength and speed to wear down Tivy’s defensive players.
On the night, Calallen put up 243 rushing yards on 51 carries by eight different backs and were held to only 21 passing yards on five attempts.
Unfortunately, the Antler offense struggled for positive yardage throughout the game.
“It’s frustrating as heck,” Jones said. “We can not gain 8-9 yards on the first down and lose four on the second down. We have to move the ball.”
The Antler offensive performance was a statistical nighmare and truly uncharacteristic, logging 62 total offensive yards over four quarters of play. For the season, prior to the Calallen game, Tivy has recorded 1,168 of ground and air yards for an average of 292 per game. On Friday night, the offense was only able to manage four first down during the contest and gave up the ball three times on turnovers.
“We have to get better and we will get better on offense,” Jones said. “And if we play with as much heart and desire as the defense did tonight, we will win games.”
Calallen scored on their second possession of the game when Wildcats quarterback Terik Hickmon scampered in from eight yards out on a keeper. A miscue on the snap prevented an extra point kick. Calallen kicker Jordan King attempted a two-point conversion, but the throw was blocked by Tivy’s A.J. Ramirez. Calallen took the lead at 6-0 with 7:59 remaining on the first quarter clock.
The Wildcats would not sore again until the 4:35 mark in the third quarter when substitute quarterback Bryce Burnett pushed is way across the goal line from the 1 yard line. Burnett then connected with Epi Hinojosa for a two-point conversion, giving Calallen a 14-0 advantage over Tivy.
The final score of the game came when Wildcat Luke Medina rushed for 17 yards and a touchdown with 6:31 remaining in the game. King split the uprights to boost Calallen to 21-0.
The Antlers will have a week off next week and will return to the field on Oct. 8, when they kick off District 15-5A Div.II action on the road against Lockhart.
“We are going to work on getting better,” Jones said of how he and his team will make use of the extra week.
After the game, Jones told the players that “defense won and kicking won tonight.”
In fact. Tivy kicker Steven Grocki has been a consistent and solid player for the Antlers, taking on punting, kickoff and field goal duties.
Against Calallen, Grocki pounded the pigskin for two separate 60-plus yard punts, kept the kickoffs at the end zone and even made a save tackle in the back field on a punt return.