By Barrett Steed
HC Courier Sports
CROCKETT—The Crockett Bulldogs opened their regular season against the always tough to beat Trinity Tigers on Saturday, September 2.
After a grueling offseason, the Crockett Bulldogs kicked off pre-conference play against the Trinity Tigers in an exciting week one matchup and prevailed 30-22. Despite Harvey's best efforts dampening the Friday night lights, a relocation to the Monte Jack Driskell Stadium afforded both squads and fans a clear and sunny and perfect Saturday afternoon of high school football.
The Bulldogs' offense would get the first look on the field, setting up at the 32 yard line after a decent return from sophomore Trayvon Sandles. Senior Derrick Sherman stepped under center to lead Crockett in their first drive. Consecutive grinds from Sherman and a sweep from Sandles put the Bulldogs across midfield, setting up for a 27 yard scamper to the red zone by senior Victor Simon. Three tries later, a seemingly botched play would turn into six points as a cutback from Sherman and great block by senior Tyress Anderson capped off the sixty-eight yard drive with the first touchdown of the game. A two-point conversion gave Crockett an 8-0 edge over the Tigers with eight minutes remaining in the quarter.
Senior LT Tryon would make his presence known early, stifling the kick returner at the 23 yard line. The defensive line led by seniors Mario Monsivais and Darren Hubbard would not make ball movement easy for the Tigers and an excellent third down stop by Sandles forced Trinity to punt the ball away.
Crockett looked to make the most of their early second possession with junior AJ Owens in as quarterback. Despite hard-earned yardage from Owens and junior Malik Johnson, the Bulldogs would not be able to capitalize on the drive, turning the ball over on downs.
With just under five minutes remaining, the Bulldog turnover would seemingly give new life to the Tigers. But a continued effort by the Crockett secondary and containment by sophomore Allen Horace and senior Reginald Lockhart would keep Trinity from crossing the midfield and turning over on downs.
Both squads would swap possession of the ball in the final two minutes of the quarter and both would have no effect on the scoreboard with Crockett able to maintain an 8-0 lead in the first.
Trinity came out fierce in the second quarter of play. Great pass rushing by Horace would keep the Tigers on the ground and a Monsivais sack forced the Tigers to face a fourth and long situation. An opportune screen pass by Trinity would catch the defense off guard and result in a 53 yard touchdown play. The conversion would be no good, and Crockett kept their lead 8-6 over the Tigers.
The Tigers would recover a fumble near Crockett's red zone and begin their second scoring drive with excellent field position.
Excellent defensive efforts by Horace and junior Dae'Javon Bibbs would back Trinity up to the 42 yard line and force the Tigers to contend with fourth and long. But the Tigers would claw back with a hard strike to the end zone, taking the lead through the air, converting their fourth down into six points. This time the conversion would be good, giving Trinity a lead over the Dogs 14-8.
Crockett looked to battle back and erase the deficit, but an interception in the end zone would squash a great drive. With less than two minutes, the Big Blue defense would need to step up before the half. Pressure from Lockhart would force the Tigers to stare at third and long. A monster tackle by senior Jack Meadows would breathe wind into the fans and allow the Bulldogs to earn one more possession in the half.
With half the field between the offense and the end zone and just over a minute remaining, the Bulldogs needed to be perfect on the field. A quick but substantial gain of yards on the ground by Owens would kick start the offensive momentum. Owens would keep the ball again, this time sweeping for big yardage. Set up at the 20 yard line, Owens found Horace for the second Bulldog touchdown. The two-point conversion pass from Owens to sophomore Christian Brice would be good, and Crockett once again had the lead 16-14.
In the final play of the quarter, Trayvon Sandels would get the crowd going with an interception to lead the Bulldogs into the half.
With the two squads trading blows in the first half, the start of the third quarter would not disappoint. Trinity would convert another fourth down for big yardage, setting up in the Crockett red zone. Senior Jamorris Whitsey would make a big tackle forcing an uncomfortable third down, but the Tigers' running back found his way to the end zone to regain the lead 22-16 over Crockett.
Down but not out, the Bulldogs answered almost immediately. In a three play drive, Sherman would connect with Owens for a sixty-seven yard completion to put Crockett back on top. The two-point conversion gave the Bulldogs a little breathing room as they lead Trinity 24-22.
Back on top, Crockett looked to disconnect the phone on the Tigers who have been answering the Bulldogs touchdowns for touchdowns all afternoon. A great kick from Sanchez to give Trinity unenviable field position thanks to a joint tackle from Tryon and Lockhart re-invigorated the Crockett defense. Hubbard would again make his presence known on the defensive line, but a quick completion from Trinity earned a first down. Great pursuit by Brice and Tryon proved consequential for the Tiger offense forcing a second down and very long. Another huge hit from Meadows on the quarterback, causing a fumble, helped put the nail in the drive, forcing Trinity to punt the ball as if they did not want to hold it anymore.
Both teams would trade possessions in the final minutes, and a huge fumble recovery by Horace gave Crockett another chance to tack on some insurance in the quarter. Setting up at the thirty-nine yard line, Sherman would find Owens at the end zone for a spectacular touchdown catch, stretching the Bulldogs lead 30-22.
In the final quarter of play, the Tigers would attempt to get something going, but the Crockett defense was now firing on all cylinders. After an eight-minute plus drive from the Tigers, the hard-hitting and unrelenting Bulldog defense forced a turnover on downs. In Trinity's final possession, a heads up play by Owens to recover a bobbled pass, hauling in an interception to give Crockett the ball with less than two minutes remaining. A series of kneels and the afternoon's contest would end with a Crockett Bulldogs' win over the Trinity Tigers 30-22.