By TONY EIERDAM
SPRINGTOWN – Many times in high school football, play on special teams can make the difference in a ball game between two competitive teams.
Two plays on the kickoff teams spelled doom for the Mineral Wells Rams, who saw a six-point halftime deficit turn into a crushing defeat as Springtown came away with a 47-6 win here Friday night in a District 6-3A contest.
The loss drops the Rams to 5-4 overall and 2-2 in district play. To qualify for the playoffs, the Rams must beat Kennedale on Friday at Ram Stadium and hope 1-3 Castleberry defeats 2-2 Lake Worth.
Should Mineral Wells and Lake Worth finish with the same 6-3A record, the Bullfrogs would advance to the playoffs by virtueof their win over MWHS two weeks ago.
Trailing 13-6, Springtown took advantage of sloppy tackling and returned the opening kickoff of the second half for a touchdown.
After the Rams failed to move the ball, the Porcupines scored again, this time on an 18-yard pass from freshman Landry Turner to receiver Caleb Whiteman to extend the Springtown lead to 27-6.
However, on the ensuing kickoff, Springtown booted a line-drive kick into the wind that bounced over the head of Rams set back Omery Trevino.
Trevino, thinking the ball would reach the end zone and result in an automatic touchback, watched as the ball came to rest at the MWHS 2-yard line. But with plenty of time to pick the ball up, Trevino instead stepped aside as a hustling and alert Springtown coverage man scooped up the football and ran it in the end zone.
By rule, the kicking team cannot advance the ball, and one play later the Porcupines increased their lead to an insurmountable 34-6 when junior quarterback Caleb Moore snuck in from two yards out.
Springtown added another score in the third period and closed the scoring with a fourth-quarter touchdown.
“We had an absolute special team meltdown in the third quarter,” Rams head coach Chuck Lawrence said. “That turned a good game into a not-so-good game.”
The Rams trailed 13-6 late in the second quarter when Springtown threw what appeared to be an interception. The ball was tipped, and hustling defensive end Hunter Moss picked off the ball and scooted 20 yards down the right sideline to the end zone.
However, a late flag was thrown, and the Rams were called for a face-mask penalty. Officials gave the ball back to Springtown, claiming the foul occurred before the change of possession. The TD would have given the Rams a tremendous boost.
The MWHS defense had practically shut down the Springtown offense, and the Rams out-gained the Porcupines in total yardage at the half.
But instead of a 13-13 tie at the half, Springtown held on to a one-touchdown lead at the break.
Lawrence said he was not happy about the explanation given to him by officials.
“The official told me the face-mask penalty occurred before the pass,” Lawrence said. “That was a huge call. There were three or four huge calls in the first half that cost us points.”
That set up the unusual start to the third quarter as Springtown elevates its district mark to 3-1, and clinched a playoff spot.
Despite the loss, the Rams can still reach their goal of postseason play.
“I thought the defense played well, but I also thought the offense played well, but all units played well in the first half,” Lawrence said. “It was a well-played football game (before the third quarter), and my hat is off to our coaches for putting in a great game plan.
“It just kind of melted on us in the third quarter, and it got out of hand quickly. We just have to go back and regroup. We can still make the playoffs if we beat Kennedale and Castleberry beats Lake Worth, so we are still in it.”
Springtown gained early field position by sending a punt form midfield deep into Rams’ territory. MWHS was forced to punt, and it would be the line three-and-out for the rams in the first half.
The punt was returned to the Rams’ 13, and three plays later Whiteman scored on a three-yard touchdown run. The extra-point attempt failed as the hosts led 6-0.
The Rams came bak with an eight-play, 83-yard yard drive that ended on a 31-yard touchdown run up the middle by sophomore Josh Hardee.
Two key plays kept the drive alive. The first came on a 13-yard draw play by Gilbert Castorena that brought the ball close to midfield.
The second came on a 19-yard pass from quarterback Caleb Acosta to Castorena on a screen that gained 19 yards.
Castorena’s PAT kick sailed wide as the game was tied, 6-6.
Springtown took a 13-6 lead when Landry threw to Ryan Hester for a 24-yard touchdown play.
By TONY EIERDAM
- Local Sports
Lady Rams run away with district opener vs. Castleberry, 16-2
While the rest of Mineral Wells ISD was relaxing on spring break, the Mineral Wells Lady Rams were going to work. In their District 6-3A opener, Tuesday night, at Kessler Field, the Lady Rams demolished the rival Castleberry Lady Lions, 16-2, in just four-and-a-half innings, bringing their season record to a glowing 17-5.
The weather wasn't the only thing heating up, Monday afternoon. The Mineral Wells Lady Rams (16-5) were simply on fire in both phases of the game as they crushed the Graham Lady Blues, 10-0, in five innings at Kessler Field.
Protecting their home turf
After finishing the first day of the Mineral Wells Tournament a perfect 3-0, the Mineral Wells Lady Rams (15-4) were back in action Friday with a double-header to close out the home portion of the tourney.
Rams shine at Brock Tournament
BROCK – The Mineral Wells Rams (9-6) had a strong showing at the Brock Tournament, Thursday and Friday, as they continued to lay a firm foundation for the rest of their season.
After over a month of speculation, the Ram faithful have a new leader in which to place their hope.
Friday night, the Mineral Wells ISD Board of Trustees announced their decision to hire Waco Midway's Co-Offensive Coordinator Gerald Perry as the new Athletic Director and head football coach of Mineral Wells High School.
The Mineral Wells Lady Rams (14-3) got everything they hoped for and more in the opening day of the Mineral Wells Tournament, Thursday, at Kessler Field. They swept the competition in a triple-header and dealt with a wide variety of situations, overcoming each.
Gordon, Strawn fill up all-district hoops teams
The All-District 17-1A-II teams for both boys and girls basketball have been announced and rivals Gordon and Strawn have left an indelible mark on the 2013-24 edition with the two schools combining for six players on the boys team and a whopping 11 girls receiving honors.
Lady Rams Softball begins MW Tourney
Hot off of a 5-1 showing at the Wichita Falls Tournament, the Mineral Wells Lady Rams softball team (11-3) will open tournament play against quality competition again today from the comfort of their own home.
Four Ladycats garner top 11-1A-I awards
Palo Pinto County's most successful basketball team of the 2013-14 season can now add a bushel of accolades to an already memorable, Regional Championship year.
MW boys place third, girls seventh at Ram Relays
The Mineral Wells boys and girls track teams were on full display, Saturday, in front of a hometown crowd at the Ram Relays as the varsity girls team took seventh place with 42 point and the varsity boys finished third with 90 points.
- More Local Sports Headlines
- Lady Rams run away with district opener vs. Castleberry, 16-2