By Tony Adams
The Belton Tigers, hosted their second Austin-area team in as many weeks Friday night at Tiger Field, as they hosted the Round Rock Stony Point Tigers.
In the absence of a sustained offense, Belton called on their defense to hold them in the game. In the end, Stony Point was able to muster four touchdowns and shut out Belton 27-0 on a windy night.
The wind picked up from the north at 20 miles per hour about 90 minutes before game time and dropped the temperatures from the 90’s at the start of the afternoon and into the low-70’s at the start of the game.
Belton’s defense started the game strong, with Garret Trout and Tevin Jones getting pressure into the Stony Point backfield, making a key run stop on second down and Ryan Johnson getting a pass defense on third down. Stony Point punted and Coby Potvin’s 15-yard punt return started Belton’s initial drive on their own 49.
Stafford connected with Potvin on a four-yard completion to start the initial drive into Stony Point territory. A pair of incomplete passes forced Belton to punt with the wind. Haygen Tibbetts blasted a 47-yard punt way out of the back of the end zone for a touchback.
On the next drive, Ryan Johnson and Ricky Martin came up big and shut down Stony Point. Johnson met receiver Justin Gamble over the middle as he turned upfield on a six-yard completion from Stony Point quarterback Tanner Aenchbacher. Martin and a pride of Big Red Tigers shut down Gamble again on third down.
Belton’s next drive started on their own 46. Kavan Johnson and Stafford runs set up a 13-yard completion to Bryce Thomas to the Stony Point 39. On third down and four yards to go on the Stony Point 33, Stafford threw a pass to Thomas over the middle at the 15-yard line incomplete with Terrense Lott draped on Thomas’ back, but no call was made. Belton was forced to punt, which Tibbetts got into the jet stream and flew it out of the back of the end zone for a touchback.
Stony Point took the next possession 80 yards. Lindley took a read option play 30 yards, but lost 12 of the yards on a spot-foul holding penalty. Lindley chipped away at the field, hooking up with Dom Williams, Gamble, and Dejour Williams to get the ball down to the Belton 8. An illegal procedure penalty moved the ball back to the 13, but Lindley ran the next play into the end zone on his own for a 13-yard TD. Alex Rivera’s extra-point made the score 7-0 with 4:09 remaining in the first quarter.
Anthony Mirabel’s 15-yard kickoff return set up Belton’s next drive up on the Belton 36. Potvin was able to pick up four yards on an end around and Stafford picked up a yard on a scramble. Tibbetts knocked a 46-yard punt down to the Stony Point 12 with 36.4 seconds remaining in the first quarter.
The offense of Stony Point put together a sustained drive, with a complement of passes to Gamble and runs by Lindley. Belton’s defense collectively made the Stony Point drive a tough one, staying on the field for 15 plays. Aenchbacher’s 1-yard TD plunge and Rivera’s extra point made the score 14-0 with 6:59 remaining in the first half.
Brandon Rhoads took the kickoff 34-yards down the sideline to the Belton 34 to start the next drive. Davion Peoples got a 5-yard gain to the Belton 39, but the offense could not gain a first down. Tibbetts’ punt went against the wind and ended up at the Stony Point 41.
Belton’s defense showed their teeth, as they stopped Stony Point for a three-and-out drive. Santiago Maya’s punt started Belton’s next drive on their 17-yard line.
Stafford’s quick feet and Kavan Johnson’s straight-forward running ability got Belton a first down on their next drive, as Stafford got 20 yards and Johnson five yards on a key third down put the Tigers in a fourth down and two yards to go situation on the Belton 37. Stony Point’s defense collapsed into the middle of the Belton interior and cut off Johnson for one yard loss, creating a turnover on downs.
The defense of Belton forced a turnover on downs to close out the half. On first down, Carlton Shanks III saved a touchdown by wrapping up Greg Wilson on a seven-yard gain. Matt Chapman wrapped up Dom Williams for a two-yard gain on second down and Ozbourne Seuteni’s backside pressure of Aenchbacher forced an intentional grounding penalty and a fourth down situation, Chapman, Shanks and Deandra Marshall stuck to their assignments in textbook style on fourth down and forced a turnover on downs, completing a solid defensive stand.
In the third quarter, Rhoads had a 30-yard kickoff return to the Belton 30. A holding penalty set Belton back to its own 20. Stafford found Kavan Johnson for a seven-yard pass, but was unable to convert on third down and Belton was forced to punt.
Stony Point took over on its own 45 for its initial drive of the second half. Michael Scroggins 23-yard gain on third down and one gave the visitors a first down on the Belton 23. Seuteni, Quay Harvey and Cody Garrett wrecked a first down attempt, dumping Lindley for a four-yard loss. Seuteni knocked Scroggins for a two-yard loss on second down. Lindley found Dejour Williams for a 12-yard pass, forcing a fourth down. Belton took a timeout on fourth down, as defensive coordinator Phil Shaffer and assistants Ervin Flowers and Al Maxwell pumped up the defense. Lindley converted the fourth down play for 10 yards and gave Stony Point a first down and goal-to-go on the Belton 6. Martin brought backside pressure on Lindley, forcing an incompletion on first down, Seuteni and Reagan Chapman stopped Scroggins for a three-yard gain and Garrett stopped Scroggins flush on the 2. Stony Point took a delay of game penalty and attempted a 26-yard field goal from the right hashmark. Rivera pushed the kick wide right, giving Belton another successful stand.
The Belton offense took the ball on the 20 with 5:59 remaining in the third quarter. Two Kavan Johnson carries gave Belton a first down on the 31. Stafford found Potvin for a 12-yard gain to the Belton 42 and Johnson’s seven-yard run got the ball to the 49. Belton was unable to convert on third down and Tibbett’s punt put Stony Point on its own 32.
Belton’s defense derailed Stony Point’s next drive. After a false start penalty, Martin made a tackle on Gamble keeping him from turning up field and allowed just seven yards. Following a fumble and loss of four yards on second down, Jones hauled down Gamble after a 15-yard gain, forcing a Stony Point punt. Maya shanked the punt, giving the Belton offense a short field to work with on the Stony Point 45.
Following a Stafford-to-Rhoads four-yard pass and Peoples three-yard run, an incomplete pass stopped the drive. Tibbetts punted and Gamble returned the ball to the Stony Point 21.
Stony Point’s next drive bridged into the fourth quarter. Lindley hit Dom Williams with a 12-yard pass for a first down. Collin Mask wrapped up Williams for no-gain on the next play. Lindley hit Gamble for a 33-yard pass play to break into Belton territory. Three plays later, Lindley broke away for a 26-yard touchdown. Rivera’s kick sailed wide right, leaving the score 20-0 with 9:17 to play.
Belton’s ensuing drive ended in just two plays. Following an incomplete pass, Stafford’s next pass attempt was intercepted by Lott and returned 34 yards to the Belton 1. Aenchbacher’s second 1-yard TD run of the game and Rivera’s extra-point made the score 27-0 with 8:48 remaining.
The Belton offense got the ball back to start the next drive at their own 40. Following a 5-yard pass play from Stafford to Potvin, Kavan Johnson broke away for a 54-yard touchdown that was called back for a holding penalty. The penalty still gave Belton a first down, but not the touchdown they desperately needed. Another Stafford-to-Potvin completion was sandwiched between incompletions, putting Belton in a must-convert, fourth down and eight on the Stony Point 43. Stafford found Potvin on the side line near the Stony Point 25 and had a bit too much mustard on the pass. Potvin made a one-handed grab while dragging his trail foot inbounds, but was called out-of-bounds, giving Stony Point the ball back on downs with 7:40 remaining.
Stony Point kept the ball away from Belton for the remainder of the game, picking up four first downs and sealing the shutout.
“The defense played well, but were on the field way too long,” said Belton head coach Bob Shipley. “That’s the offense’s fault. We couldn’t get on track and lost the line of scrimmage battle. It seemed like we dodged a few bullets with them and gave our offense a chance to get back into the game, but never really got on track. That it what it came down to.”
The athleticism at the quarterback position for Stony Point benefited the visitors, with Lindley and Aenchbacher able to run with ease at times.
“They threw the ball more effectively than we thought they would,” said Shipley. “We loosened up a little bit and they hurt us with the draw. With football nowadays, you have to control the line of scrimmage. Our defense gave us a chance to stay in the game, but couldn’t get anything going offensively.”
“I feel we could have done a whole lot better,” said Ryan Johnson. “I think we got out there and we tried our hardest. We can do better though.”
Belton travels to Waco ISD Stadium next Friday night to take on Waco High in their final tune-up before the District 12-6A schedule gets underway.