A couple weeks ago the Tolar Rattlers were at their lowest point in the season, coming off a 27-point home loss to Scurry-Rosser.
My, how things have changed in a short time.
Now, the Rattlers (6-2, 4-1 in district) are on the verge of returning to the playoffs as at least the runner-up in District 6-2A Division II for a second straight season – and they still have a shot at grabbing a share of the title.
“I told the kids after Scurry-Rosser what’s going to define us is not what happened that night, it’s what we do from here on our,” said Tolar coach Mike Franklin.
But first, there is some other business to take care of, and the Rattlers definitely did that last Friday as they blasted Blooming Grove 50-10 at Rattler Stadium.
Tolar can clinch a postseason spot with a road win over Rice (3-5, 2-3) Friday. The Rattlers end the regular season at home against Rio Vista (2-6, 1-4).
“We’ve got a game this week,” said Franklin. “Rice is playing for a playoff spot. They can’t afford to lose one.”
In Friday’s win the Rattlers rushed for 338 yards on 36 carries, nearly 10 yards every time they touched the ball. In fact, running back Cory Solomon DID average over 10 yards (15-158), and quarterback Corbin Wood averaged more than 9 yards (11-103), with the duo combining for five touchdowns (Solomon 3, Wood 2).
Wood also threw for a pair of touchdowns to Dalton Shaw and Hunter Ryan.
Tolar jumped out to a 21-0 lead on the Lions, who had a chance to close to within a touchdown as the first half came to a close. But the Tolar defense held them to a field goal.
The Rattlers offense did not touch the ball for the final six minutes of the first half. The Lions scored a touchdown, and on the ensuing kickoff no Tolar player covered the ball – but a Blooming Grove player did.
A few plays later, the Lions found themselves facing a first-and-goal at the Tolar 2. The Rattler defense dug in and kept them out of the end zone.
In the third quarter, any chance of a Blooming Grove comeback went by the wayside as the Rattlers scored three unanswered touchdowns. One of the scoring drives required one play and another took just two.
One of Solomon’s touchdowns was also his longest run of the season, 62 yards.
Defensively, Hunter Ryan led the Rattlers against Blooming Grove with 11 tackles, an interception and a fumble recovery.
POSSIBLE TITLE SHARE
With two games left, Tolar still has a chance to get part of the district championship. Ironically, it will require a favor from Mildred, a team they shellacked 49-0 just under a couple weeks ago on the road. Mildred (6-2, 4-1 in district) ends the regular season against Scurry-Rosser (8-0, 5-0), and a win in that game could leave the Rattlers tied with those teams in the final standings.
But the Rattlers not only need a win from Mildred, they need a win by at least 15 points. The district caps margin of victory at 15 points – regardless of the actual score. With Scurry-Rosser reaching the cap in its win over Tolar, and Tolar doing the same in its win at Mildred, it would take a 15-point or more victory by Mildred to force the teams into a coin flip to determine their postseason seeding.
Interestingly, it would also mean all three victories against each other would be road wins.
LOOKING TO BIDISTRICT
If the Rattlers go on to finish second in their district, they will play the third-place team from 5-2A Division II. That is currently Henrietta (4-4, 2-1), but they play Alvord (3-5, 1-2) this week.
In the season finale, Henrietta plays co-leader Nocona, while Alvord plays last-place Wichita Falls City View.
Jacksboro, the other co-leader, hosts Nocona this Friday.
RATTLERS 50, LIONS 10
Bl. Grove 0 10 0 0 – 10
Tolar 7 14 21 8 – 50
First downs – Tolar 15, Blooming Grove 11
Tolar rushes-yards – 36-338
Tolar passing yards – 52
Tolar individual leaders
Rushing – Cory Solomon 15-158, 3 TDs; Corbin Wood 11-103, 2 TDs; Marcus Garcia 6-54.
Passing – Wood 9-17-0, 52 yards, 2 TDs.
Receiving – Dalton Shaw 2-21, TD; Hunter Ryan 1-10, TD; Garrett Winston 1-9.
Tackles – Gordon Lewis 11, Ryan 11, Wood 9, Kaleb Crawford 8, Blake Watson 8.
Interceptions – Ryan, Winston.
Fumble recovery – Ryan.
Winston 6-7 PAT kicks.
Endsley 2-point conversion run, blocked punt.
Wood 3 punts for 41.7 average.