Tolar couldn’t overcome multiple injuries and Comanche’s powerful rushing attack in a 31-20 football loss to the Indians Friday night at Rattler Stadium.
Not only did the loss of standout running back Cory Solomon and starting quarterback Corbin Wood in the first quarter greatly hamper the Rattlers, but several other key players were also hobbling or sidelined during the tough clash with the Class 2A Division I school.
Tolar head coach Mike Franklin said that among those out at various times during the game with injuries, in addition to Wood (separate left shoulder) and Solomon (ankle sprain), were wideout/linebacker Rodie Brister (ankle), wideout/defensive back Kaleb Gilliam (ribs), wideout/defensive back Dalton Shaw (ribs), lineman Kaleb Crawford (wrist fracture), wideout and defensive back Walker Shelton (separated shoulder) and offensive lineman/linebacker Hunter Ryan (hamstring), along with a couple of reserves.
In Tolar’s next game, a non-district contest Friday at Class 2A De Leon, Solomon and Shelton will not play, Franklin said. The decision on Wood’s status will come late in the week, but junior Dakota Endsley is first off the bench and played most of the Comanche game. The other injured players will be available Friday, including Crawford wearing a cast. Denton will start at running back, and both Shaw and Rodie Brister can play quarterback if needed.
“We got beat up a little tonight,” Franklin said. “Some of it was their physical play and some of it was freak stuff. We had a lot of kids playing spots they hadn’t played (because of injuries). They stepped up, and I’m proud of their effort.
“I’m proud of our kids’ effort. We never quit, even with all our injuries and moving people around. We kept at ‘em.”
Franklin said they weren’t surprised by the strong showing turned in by the Indians.
“We knew it was going to be a bloodbath,” he said. “We knew we had to play, but I thought we’d get them with our foot speed.”
With some of their fastest players having to leave the game early, the dynamic changed.
Franklin said Solomon’s injury happened when a player fell on his already-sore ankle. Wood’s injury came while he was playing on defense.
Solomon, who had more than 1,700 yards rushing last season, was limited to four carries for 14 yards.
Tolar (1-1), a member of District 6-2A, Division II, struck first as Dalton Shaw hauled in a 62-yard touchdown pass from Wood for a 6-0 lead with 8:47 left in the opening quarter. But the Indians (2-0) then used their size advantage to get their ground game rolling.
Comanche outgained the Rattlers 355 yards to 46 on the ground overall, led by Jaden Roberts with 19 carries for 137 yards. Roberts scored on a 38-yard run with 10:44 left in the second quarter, breaking a 6-6 tie.
After that, Comanche quarterback Caisson Montieth added his second rushing TD of the game, and capped the scoring with an 18-yard scoring toss to Roberts.
Tolar’s second score came at the 10:30 mark in the second quarter when Kaleb Gilliam’s 89-yard kickoff return tied the game again, at 13.
Blayne Denton’s 1-yard run, capping a 72-yard, 11-play drive, gave Tolar the lead, 20-19, with 9:28 to go in the third quarter.
But from then on, Comanche outscored Tolar 12-0.
“We’re right in it until they score that last touchdown,”
Franklin said. “My fear was we’d have trouble stopping them because Comanche is so big and physical. But I thought we’d outscore them.”
“Without Corbin Wood and Cory Solomon, that really hurt them because they are great football players,” Comanche head coach Stephen Hermesmeyer said, noting that his Indians kept the chains moving, grinding it out with the rushing game. “We moved the ball and played efficiently.”
Franklin said, “It was a physical game in the trenches” but said many of the injuries were just freak accidents.
Without Wood, the Rattlers couldn’t use their expected game plan of alternating quarterbacks. Junior Dakota Endsley threw for 100 yards, completing 11 of 29 with no interceptions.
“Dakota came in and did a good job,” Franklin said. “I’ve got to look at the film and see how many passes were dropped – a bunch.”
The Rattlers have an open date the following week before beginning their District 6-2A, Division II schedule in Dallas on Sept. 27 at Life Oak Cliff High School.
The Rattlers’ matchup Friday at Class A, Division I De Leon will be their first road game of the year.
“They’re not as big and physical, but they run the same style of offense (as Comanche),” Franklin said of the 2-0 Bearcats. “They’re going to run the football. The good news is, our offensive and defensive lines are intact.”
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Indians 31, Rattlers 20
Comanche 6 13 6 6 – 31
Tolar 6 7 7 0 – 20
T – Dalton Shaw 62 pass from Corbin Wood (run failed)
C – Caisson Montieth 1 run (kick failed)
C – Jaden Roberts 38 run (Cesar Martinez kick)
T – Kaleb Gilliam 89 kickoff return (Garrett Winston kick)
C – Montieth 1 run (kick failed)
T – Blayne Denton 1 run (Winston kick)
C – Payton Nance 9 pass from Montieth (run failed)
C – Roberts 18 pass from Montieth (kick failed)
First downs 24 11
Rushes-yards 56-355 20-46
Passing yards 63 162
Passes 5-6-0 12-30-0
Punts-avg. 4-26.0 5-33.8
Fumbles-lost 3-1 1-0
Penalties-yards 5-40 8-63
Comanche – Jaden Roberts 19-137; Caisson Montieth 15-86; Jesse Luker 12-49; Payton Nance 3-38; Kaleb Ward 3-26;
Wyatt Mankin 2-16; Cash Mankin 2-3.
Tolar – Dakota Endsley 9-22; Cory Solomon 4-14; Blake Watson 1-5; Blayne Denton 6-5.
Comanche – Montieth 5-6-0, 63 yards.
Tolar – Endsley 11-29-0, 100 yards; Corbin Wood 1-1-0, 62 yards.
Comanche – Bryan Goodman 1-21; Layne Hicks 1-21; Nance 2-21; Roberts 1-18.
Tolar – Dalton Shaw 4-93; Carson Becker 3-35; Garrett Winston 3-21; Kaleb Gilliam 2-13.