Fast offense, sharp defense equates to 48-0 win over University
By Tony Adams
The Belton Tiger Football/Bob Shipley-era got underway at Waco ISD Stadium Friday night as the Tigers took on the Waco University Trojans.
The Tigers were 2-8 in 2013 and University was 1-9 last season. So both teams looked to get their new seasons off right.
Belton completely dominated the game from start of the game, scoring on their first two possessions and getting an all-around great effort from their defense, as the Tigers defeated Waco University 48-0 in the Derrick Jones Kickoff Classic.
Shane Stafford started the game with an 18-yard scramble setting up first down on the Belton 44. On the next play, Stafford found Coby Potvin for an 18-yard completion to put the Tigers in University territory. Davion Peoples, getting the start for the injured Kavan Johnson, took the next handoff 20 yards to the University 20. Stafford found Potvin for a 20-yard TD pass. The drive went 75 yards in just 1:12. Belton was up 7-0.
The Tigers’ defense stepped up on the ensuing drive. Reagan Chapman stopped speedy Xavier Tomlinson for no gain on the first play. The Tigers forced a fumble on second down, but the Trojans recovered. Joshua Browning’s third-down pass fell incomplete and University was forced to punt the ball. Potvin returned the punt 20 yards to the University 44.
It took Belton just 18 seconds for their second touchdown. Stafford hit Brandon Rhoads over the middle and got a crushing block from Potvin to spring Rhoads for a 43-yard TD. Blake Odell’s extra point made it 14-0 with 8:59 left in the first quarter.
The defense stepped up and shut down the Trojans on another three-and-out drive. Ozbourne Seuteni, Matt Chapman and Tevin Jones stepped made key defensive plays during the drive and gave the ball to the Belton offense.
After the teams traded possession, the Tigers scored near the end of the first quarter. Starting the drive on their own 36, Stafford found Potvin for completions of 24 and 23 yards. Stafford had a 22-yard run following a penalty and then found Bryce Thomas for a 14-yard TD pass. Odell’s point after kick made the score 21-0.
Following another University three-and-out, Belton put together a 13 play, 80-yard drive, taking 3:26. Stafford found Rhoads on a 19-yard pass and Davion Peoples ran for an 8-yard gain to put the offense near midfield. Stafford connected with Tonee Muldrew on an 11-yard pass on fourth down and six yards to go on University’s 36-yard line. The Tigers worked the ball methodically down the field and worked Peoples into the end zone on 8-yard TD run. Odell kicked the ball true through the uprights to make the score 28-0 with 7:34 to go in the first half.
Browning’s elusiveness was a key to earning the Trojans their first first-down of the ball game at the 6:00 mark of the second quarter, But the drive was thwarted when Garret Trout sacked Browning for a six-yard loss, forcing another University punt.
Stafford and Potvin connected again to start the next drive, this time on a 15-yard reception to the Belton 40. Stafford found Haygen Tibbetts later in the drive for a 20-yard gain to put the Tigers into the red zone. Olajuwon Taylor scored from a yard out with :57 remaining in the half to make the score 35-0.
University tried desperately to get on the board near the end of the half, but the Belton defense forced a fumble and Quay Harvey recovered on the University 47-yard line. The half ended with Belton up 35-0.
The Trojans held the ball on the second half’s opening possession for nearly half the third quarter. Thomlinson and Browning accounted for 10 of the drive’s 12 plays. The drive stalled on a full blitz on fourth down and 14 yards-to-go on Belton’s 41-yard line, creating a turnover on downs.
The first drive of the second half was fruitful for the Tigers. Stafford hit Muldrew on a 13-yard pass to start the drive. Peoples carried the ball six yards to the University 40. C.J. Jones got his first carry during the drive and gained 12 yards to the University 26. The drive stalled there, giving Odell a shot at a 43-yard field goal. He put all he had into the kick and landed just behind the crossbar to make the score 38-0.
University’s next drive was their deepest penetration of the ball game into Belton territory. The Trojans went from their own 23 to the Belton 31, But great defense, led by Jones, Matt Chapman, Seuteni and Trout pestered University into a fourth down and 16 yards-to-go punt.
Tibbetts took over at quarterback on the next drive, guiding the team down the field in 11 plays and 68 yards, burning 3:32 off the clock. Taylor had a 12-yard run to start the drive and a 21 yard run in the middle of the drive. He and People kept working in tandem, eating up yardage before Taylor scored on a 6-yard run. Odell’s point after made the score 45-0.
Belton’s special teams continued it’s great evening when they forced a fumble on the ensuing kickoff and recovered the ball on the University 26. Belton was unable to move the ball far, but added three points with an Odell 29-yard field goal to make the score 48-0 with 4:10 remaining in the ballgame.
University’s last ditch effort to score ended with 2:10 remaining on another forced Belton fumble.
The Tigers bled the clock and picked up their first shutout of the season, as well as Bob Shipley’s first win as the Tigers’ head football coach.
“I was proud of the tempo our kids played with 50 plays in the first half,” said Shipley. “Defense played a great job, but there’s a lot to correct. I don’t mean to sound pessimistic, but as coaches we’re always looking for something to improve. We’ve got to keep getting better and get in better shape. I was very happy with our tempo on offense.”
Potvin was a big surprise on offense, supporting the offense with key catches for the Tigers in the ball game. Having that special baseball bond with Stafford (who received the Derrick Johnson Kickoff Classic Offensive Player of the Game) with being teammates since childhood and raking time away from football for two seasons, he looked to be in amazing shape.
“I felt I did really good and my teammates helped me get open,” said Potvin. “Shane (Stafford) didn’t throw a bad ball to me all night. I really enjoy being around my teammates and it’s the reason I came back.”
Matt Chapman was pumped about the defensive effort, especially with the secondary holding the University offense to minimal yardage.
“It’s awesome to see a zero on scoreboard,” said Chapman. “Looking back on last year and starting off with this, I would have never expected this. We’ve done a lot of work and it shows.”
The defense came together as a whole against University and the zero on the scoreboard was an impressive output.
“We really have pulled together as a team this year and it really shows,” said Chapman.
Jones agreed that the mentality and the attitude of the team has improved drastically.
“I have to give credit to my D-line,” said Jones. “They really opened it up for us. It’s like Derrick (Johnson) and the coaches said: there’s always something that you can do to help your game defensively. The mentality has changed and we really have come together.”
Jones felt great about the shutout and received the Derrick Johnson Kickoff Classic Defensive Player of the Game, but he knows it’s still early in the season.
“It’s to the highest it can be right now,” said Jones. “Honestly, last year was a disappointing year. It feels good to pitch a shutout, but there is always something you can work on.”
The Tigers take on Pflugerville Hendrickson at 7:30 p.m. Friday night at Tiger Field.