Tolar entertained its homecoming crown with a 39-0 domination of previously unbeaten De Leon Friday night at Rattler Stadium, allowing just five first downs and 64 yards.
The Rattlers’ defense turned in its best performance of the season as Tolar improved to 2-1 with its second win in a row.
Five different players scored for Tolar, which racked up 279 yards with a balanced offensive attack. Cory Solomon scored on TD runs of 4 and 1 yards, and finished with 115 yards on 18 carries.
Tolar scored twice on special teams – a 5-yard punt return by Conner Robinson and a spectacular 70-yard punt return by Zack Hasegawa.
The Rattlers continued to distribute the quarterbacking duties between starter Corbin Wood and Dakota Endsley. The two combined to complete 10 of 13 passes overall with no interceptions for 120 yards.
Tolar head coach Mike Franklin said the coaches had talked to the Rattlers about tackling well, and the defense never let up all night.
“We had nine or 10 people on the ball carrier all the time,” Franklin said. “Our defense is pretty good. That may be an understatement. We’re being very aggressive and swarming. We’re going to cause a lot of people a lot of problems.”
The scoreless first quarter ended with the Bearcats making their biggest dent into Tolar territory as they drove to the Rattlers’ 31-yard line. But on the next play, a fumble recovery by Tolar’s Landon Morris ended that threat.
A 48-yard punt by Corbin Wood pinned the Bearcats deep in their own territory. Four snaps later, severe pressure on De Leon punter Kaleb Nowlin – plus a dropped snap as he tried to kick from his end zone – resulted in a high, short kick that Conner Robinson returned 5 yards for a touchdown.
B.J. Dollins kicked the extra point for a 7-0 Tolar lead with 21 seconds left in the second quarter.
Dollins capped an eight-play, 52-yard drive with a 1-yard TD run with 21 seconds remaining in the half.
An ill-advised fake punt attempt by De Leon failed, setting up Solomon’s first TD with 6:17 to go in the third quarter.
After Weston Phillips’ fumble recovery gave the Rattlers the ball at the De Leon 22-yard line, Solomon bulled into the end zone again as Tolar gained a 27-0 edge at the 4:06 mark in the third quarter.
Endsley connected with Garrett Winston on a 13-yard TD pass with 8:47 left in the fourth quarter as Tolar made it 33-0.
After Tolar stopped a De Leon drive on a three-and-out series, Hasegawa received a punt at Tolar’s 30-yard line and headed up the left sideline. As he neared traffic inside De Leon’s 35-yard line, teammate Grant Winston made an outstanding block to open the rest of the way for Hasegawa’s TD return that completed the scoring.
Zyane Gumler, a senior linebacker for Tolar, said the Rattlers were telling each other to “fire up” before the game, and they just ran fast to swarm the ball carriers.
“We didn’t let up,” Gumler said. “We had to take it to them.
“It feels great – especially the first home game and homecoming.”
Class A, Division I De Leon, a Wing-T offense which had thumped its first two opponents, Baird and Roscoe, by a combined margin of 82-6, got beyond midfield only twice against Tolar.
“That Wing-T, slot T is hard to prepare for in one week,” said Tolar defensive coordinator Gregg Lee. “We gave the kids a blueprint, and they did it to a tee.
“We knew we could play with with. We didn’t know we could shut them out. They’ve been racking up plenty of offensive stats, so to do this is a credit to our kids.”
Lee said while the entire defense was outstanding, he also credited Corbin Wood at safety and Justin Brown at linebacker with containing the Bearcats extremely well.
“They allowed other people to make plays,” Lee said. “That was the key. They did things to mess up (De Leon’s) blocking assignments.”
Tolar’s offense racked up 10 first downs in each half, but Franklin said the unit didn’t really start cooking with fire until the second half.
“We started executing. That’s what we talked about at halftime,” Franklin said. “The plays were there, we just were not executing.
“We picked up the tempo in the second half. They (the Bearcats) were gassed. They were tired and we were pumped up. We kept the throttle on.”
Tolar is idle this week. The Rattlers will begin play in its new District 6-2A Division II alignment at home on Sept. 28 with a 7:30 p.m. game against Dallas Life Oak Cliff.
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Rattlers 39, BEARCATS 0
De Leon 0 0 0 0 – 0
Tolar 0 14 13 12 – 39
T – Conner Robinson 5 punt return (B.J. Dollins kick)
T – Dollins 1 run (Dollins kick)
T – Cory Solomon 4 run (Dollins kick)
T – Solomon 1 run (pass failed)
T – Garrett Winston 13 pass from Dakota Endsley (kick failed)
T – Zach Hasegawa 70 punt return (pass failed)
De Leon Tolar
First downs 5 20
Rushes-yards 32-56 33-159
Passing yards 28 120
Comp-att-int. 2-4-1 10-13-0
Punts-avg. 5-32.6 3-37
Fumbles-lost 3-2 1-1
Penalties-yards 9-65 12-94
De Leon – Robert Smith 8-35, Kaleb Nowlin 13-29, Mike McLearen 4-5, Team 1-(minus 3), Joshua Brownlee 6-(minus 10).
Tolar – Cory Solomon 18-115, Corbin Wood 8-31, Dakota Endsley 1-30, B.J. Dollins 3-3, Colt Arrington 1-0, Team 2-(minus 16).
De Leon – Brownlee 2-4-1, 28 yards.
Tolar – Wood 6-7-0, 72 yards; Endsley 5-7-0, 48 yards.
De Leon – Nowlin 1-20, Smith 1-8.
Tolar – Garrett Winston 3-41, Landon Morris 3-28, Zack Hasegawa 2-17, Justin Brown 1-13, Grant Winston 2-21.
Tolar interception – Justin Brown.
Tolar fumble recoverIES – Landon Morris, Weston Phillips.