By TONY EIERDAM
LAKE WORTH – Showing the kind of heart, hustle and effort it takes to win football games, the Mineral Wells Rams can look themselves in the mirror with pride despite falling short in 16-6 loss to the Lake Worth Bullfrogs here Friday in a District 6-3A contest.
However, Lake Worth took an early lead and took advantage of five MWHS turnovers en route to the win.
Following the game, which in the second half was played in a driving rain storm, Rams head coach Chuck Lawrence could not have been more pleased with his team’s effort. The loss drops the Rams to 0-7 and 0-2 in district play.
“I am proud of my football team,” an emotional Lawrence said. “I told the guys after the game that Mineral Wells can be proud of this football team. I don’t care what the record is, they left it all out on the field and played their guts out.
“Our defensive line had good movement up front the entire game, and our linebackers were filling gaps . The defensive line played outstanding, and (cornerback) Colby (Kissinger) shut down their passing attack.
“We were getting decent pressure on the quarterback, and it was an all-around good defensive effort.”
The Bullfrogs scored a pair of touchdowns in the first half and let its defense decide the outcome of the game. The Bullfrogs recorded four interceptions – including two in the second half – recovered a fumble and put the game away with a safety in the fourth quarter.
“Lake Worth is pretty tough inside defensively,” Lawrence said. “We just missed on some passes, we had some drops and we had a couple of bad plays that put us behind the chains.
“It was just a combination of things.”
Bullfrogs quarterback Kelton Versey was his team’s leading rusher coming into the contest. And although he led Lake Worth with 162 yards on 19 keepers, the Rams’ defense held him pretty much in check. Versey opened the scoring through the air and connected on a 20-yard touchdown pass to receiver Damion Johnson, and he got away just one time on a 64-yard TD run.
Versey was most of the Bullfrogs’ offense in the first half as he accounted for 162 of his team’s 170 first-half yards.
Lake Worth held a 14-0 lead at the half.
But in the third quarter the Rams’ offense, plagued by an interception in the end zone and an incomplete pass on fourth down on a pass to the end zone in the first half, finally reached pay dirt.
On the first play of the “drive,” receiver-turned-running back DaShawn Hicks worked his magic. Hicks, who last week against Castleberry showed his speed by returning a kickoff 98 yards for a touchdown and almost returning another kickoff for a score, took a pitch and headed to his left.
The hustling Bullfrogs quickly cut Hicks off, but he reversed field and found daylight, sprinting 67 yards down the right sideline for a touchdown with 11:37 left to play in the third period.
Inspired by the score, the Rams’ defense held Lake Worth for the next three Bullfrog series on offense.
The first stop was a result of an interception by lineman Preston Hoskins, the second time the Rams forced Lake Worth to punt and on LWHS’ third offensive series of the second half MWHS held the hosts on downs.
However, the offense could do little with the momentum the defense was creating. The Rams’ offense ended two of the series with interceptions and the third series ended with Lake Worth tackling a scrambling Caleb Acosta in the end zone for safety to give the Bullfrogs a two-score cushion.
In the fourth quarter the Rams got the ball back after the defense recorded another stop, but were forced to punt.
The Rams’ final attempt to get back in the game saw Acosta complete a pair of passes to Kelly Williams of 17 and 15 yards, respectively, and another completion of four yards to Tristan Seargeant, but the drive ended on an incomplete pass as Lake Worth ran out the clock to preserve the win as the Bullfrogs move to 2-0 in 6-3A play.
“Again, I am proud of my football, team,” Lawrence said. “They fought and fought and fought, and Mineral Wells needs to be proud of these kids and proud of the football team.”