MILDRED – It was more than an ordinary high school football upset. It was an epic display of domination.
The Tolar Rattlers were issued a challenge to “shock the world” after they had been shocked in their last outing by Scurry-Rosser.
Tolar made it happen in dramatic fashion as quarterback Corbin Wood had 295 yards of total offense and Garrett Winston scored 25 points – including three toucdown receptions – as the Rattlers routed 2012 Class 2A Division II state finalist Mildred 49-0 at Asby Field.
Both teams are now 3-1 in district, 5-2 overall. Each trails league-leading Scurry-Rosser by a game in the district standings.
While Tolar has already lost to Scurry-Rosser and has defeated Mildred, Scurry-Rosser and Mildred are slated to meet in the regular-season final at Scurry-Rosser. If Mildred can regroup and pull off what would now be considered an upset, the three teams could end the season tied for the top spot in district.
After a 41-14 loss to Scurry-Rosser the previous week, Rattlers’ defensive coordinator Gregg Lee had written “Shock the world” on a message board in the Tolar field house. The message obviously got through, as the Rattlers shut out a team that had scored an average of 54.6 points in its five victories this season after winning 13 of its 15 games last year.
In its most recent outing before Friday, Mildred pasted Tolar 70-14.
“That was our goal, to shock the state tonight – and it was a team effort tonight. It was huge,” head coach Mike Franklin said.
“We’ve been looking for that turning point. That might be it,” Lee said of the triumph. “If we execute like that offensively, defensively and on special teams, we’re going to be a pretty good team. I’m really happy for our seniors.”
Wood passed for 214 yards and four TDs in all, and added 81 yards rushing on 12 carries.
The Rattlers recorded 27 first downs and racked up 547 yards in total offense, while the defense forced eight punts, and allowed only seven first downs and one pass completion.
Franklin said the Rattlers responded in a positive way after their 41-14 loss at home to Scurry-Rosser.
“They weren’t happy about what happened last week,” Franklin said. “They took it personally. We believed in them.”
The dynamite that has powered much of Mildred’s offensive output, senior running back and kick returner Draylon Sterling, played sparingly and appeared to have an injury to his left ankle entering the contest.
In last year’s 56-18 win over Tolar, Sterling scored four TDs and gained 212 yards on 14 carries. Sterling, who rushed for almost 2,000 yards in 15 games last season, carried only three times for 9 yards Friday.
He didn’t take a handoff until midway through the second quarter. He didn’t play again after getting beat while running with a visible limp trailing Winston down the middle on his 34-yard TD reception with 4:44 left in the third quarter.
Franklin said that with or without Sterling, Tolar’s defensive effort was impressive against a team that had thoroughly dominated so many teams over the past two seasons and was ranked No. 10 in the state in Dave Campbell’s Texas Football Magazine preseason poll.
“Sterling is a heck of a player, but they still had 11 people on the field,” Franklin said. “It didn’t make a whole lot of difference.”
“Our plan (on defense) was to keep it simple, and they followed it to a T,” Lee said. “Even when (Sterling) got the ball, we shut him down.”
With Sterling on the sideline in the first quarter, Tolar quickly took control by scoring on its first two possessions, and rolled to a 28-0 halftime advantage.
Winston’s first TD catch, from 4 yards out, came on Tolar’s first possession, at the 8:20 mark in the opening quarter.
Running back Cory Solomon, who had 109 yards on 21 carries to lead the Rattlers in rushing, scored on a 5-yard run as Tolar gained a 14-0 lead with 3:42 to go in the quarter.
After one of only two punts in the game for Tolar, the Rattlers rolled off two more first-half TDs – a 1-yard plunge by Gordon Lewis and a 21-yard strike from Wood to Winston.
Wood hit Blake Watson on a 61-yard bomb on Tolar’s first possession of the second half with 8:56 to go in the third quarter, and connected with Winston again, this time on a 34-yard pass, for a 42-0 lead.
Mildred recovered a Tolar fumble early in the final quarter, then got a 68-yard run from Trent Cecil that put the Eagles in position to try a 39-yard field goal three plays later. But Tolar’s Hunter Ryan partially blocked the kick.
Six plays later, Marcus Garcia took a handoff and darted 20 yards for Tolar’s final TD, capping a six-play, 65-yard drive.
“Everyone played good together,” said Winston, who made all seven of his extra point kicks and gained 59 yards on his three TD catches. “We were determined to come out and beat Mildred. We worked hard all week. We showed improvement and played better tonight. We have the potential to do it.”
Friday was the first district loss for the Eagles since 2010, and the first time Mildred has been shut out since 2009.
BLOOMING GROVE NEXT
The Rattlers will play play host to Blooming Grove Friday. The Lions (3-4 overall, 2-2 in district) led Scurry-Rosser 21-20 at halftime last Friday, but fell 54-21.
“It’s going to be another big test,” Franklin said. “We can enjoy this (win over Mildred) but we’re already talking about Blooming Grove.”
Overall team size is one of the key factors working for Blooming Grove in producing a strong ground attack, according to Franklin. He said the Lions average about 270 to 280 pounds across the line.
“They’re huge,” he said. “They’re big, and they’re going to pound the ball at you.”
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Rattlers 49, Mildred 0
Tolar 14 14 14 7 – 49
Mildred 0 0 0 0 – 0
T – Garrett Winston 4 pass from Corbin Wood (Winston kick)
T – Cory Solomon 5 run (Winston kick)
T – Gordon Lewis 1 run (Winston kick)
T – Winston 21 pass from Wood (Winston kick)
T – Blake Watson 61 pass from Wood (Winston kick)
T – Winston 34 pass from Wood (Winston kick)
T – Marcus Garcia 20 run (Winston kick)
First downs 27 7
Rushes-yards 47-273 32-175
Passing yards 274 12
Passes 17-28-1 1-15-0
Punts-avg. 2-27.0 8-31.6
Fumbles-lost 2-1 1-1
Penalties-yards 7-55 8-80
Tolar – Cory Solomon 21-109, Corbin Wood 12-81, Marcus Garcia 4-29, Dakota Endsley 4-22, Nathan Langston 3-19, Garrett Winston 1-16, Gordon Lewis 1-1, Heston Buckelew 1-(minus 3).
Mildred – Trent Cecil 12-169, Mike Muncy 1-23, Draylon Sterling 3-9, Hunter Freeman 5-0, Joey Palos 1-(minus 1), Will Burnham 6-(minus 25).
Tolar – Wood 13-22-1, 214 yards; Endsley 4-6-0, 60 yards.
Mildred – Burnham 1-15-0, 12 yards.
Tolar – Blake Watson 1-61, Winston 3-59, Dalton Shaw 5-51, Buckelew 1-21, Endsley 1-12, Rodie Brister 2-12, Garcia 1-16, Conner Robinson 1-15.
Mildred – Muncy 1-12.