By TONY EIERDAM
GLEN ROSE – Missing six starters due to injury to begin the game, the Mineral Wells Rams put on their best performance of the young high school football season despite falling to the Glen Rose Tigers, 35-13, here Friday night in a non-district contest.
The loss drops the Rams to 0-3, while Glen Rose moves to 1-2.
Playing without its top three running backs – Josh Hardee, Devon Edmond and Kolby Parks – and using a makeshift committee of ball carriers, including receivers DaShawn Hicks and Kelly Williams, the Rams rushed for 230 yards on 37 carries and outplayed the hosts in the second half.
“People don’t understand how wounded we are,” Lawrence said. “We got kids playing 120-130 plays, and these kids are fighting.
“We made a couple of defensive adjustments that helped, and the kids fought hard for four quarters.
“Our kids gained a lot of confidence with their play in the second half.”
The Rams’ offense began to click in the third quarter. The offense got a spark when defensive lineman Angel Gutierrez recovered his second fumble of the contest.
The MWHS defense would force four turnovers in the game as Hicks had an interception and Elijuan Combs recovered a fumble.
Gutierrez’s recovery gave the Rams the ball at the Tigers’ 30.
Williams, who would account for 88 total yards, began the drive with runs of 8 and 12 yards to give MWHS a first and goal from the hosts’ 10.
On third down quarterback Caleb Acosta scrambled for seven yards to set up a fourth and goal from the Tigers’ 2.
On fourth down, Williams blasted off right tackle and into the end zone for the first touchdown of the season for the Rams’ offense. Patrick Folkner booted the extra point to cut the Tigers’ lead to 28-7.
Glen Rose scored touchdowns in the third and fourth quarters, but Hicks gave Rams fans a glimpse of what he can do on the gridiron in the fourth period.
Hicks, a regional champion and state qualifier last year in the 100-meter dash, completed a 52-yard drive with a 20-yard sprint down the left sideline for a touchdown.
Lawrence was pleased with the heart and hustle of his undermanned squad, particularly late in the game.
“We throw our four fingers up in the air (at the beginning of the fourth quarter) for a reason,” he said. “It is part of the Mineral Wells tradition now, and we won the second half 13-7.
“If we had not have spotted them two – just bam, bam – touchdowns, it’s 20-13 and the entire game could have changed.”
Lawrence was asked after the game if Rams’ fans could expect the same on offense next week against Iowa Park (7:30 p.m. kickoff on Homecoming Night at Ram Stadium).
“With Hardee, Edmonds and Parks down we don’t have any choice but to put them (Tristan Seargent, Williams, Hicks) back there,” he said. “Our offensive staff put in mega hours this past weekend putting in (Friday’s) game plan.
“We drove the ball down the field two or three times in the first half but we couldn’t punch it in.
“We finally got it punched in during the second half, and I am very, very proud of my offense and offensive staff.
“Our kids executed well in the running game, they had a great week of practice and they bought into the game plan.
“My coaches put them in the right positions and they executed and made the plays.
“I told the kids after the game that we won the second half and without the two early touchdowns it’s 20-13 and who knows what would have happened from there.
“But the kids fought hard, the offensive line played well and I am so proud of them.
“We are going to get healthy, and when we do you better look out.”