By David Tuma
It was real close and the team made improvement but it just wasn’t enough in a Tigers 44-35 loss on the road to Bryan. The Tigers came back twice in the game and the defense was drastically improved. Belton, after taking a first quarter lead, went flat offensively for two quarters and fell behind 31-14 to start the fourth quarter. They came back on a touchdown run by Shane Stafford and a touchdown reception by Olajuwan Taylor to make a game of it 31-28.
Bryan scored to put the game away 37-28 but the Tigers roared back and scored to cut the lead to 37-35 with just under three minutes to play. Belton kicked deep and Bryan was running out the clock and the quarterback got loose and scored with five seconds left to make it 44-35.
Belton’s offense had two first downs in the middle two quarters of play. The defense was put in bad field position time after time but they kept the Tigers in the game. Belton struggled in the passing game with some bad throws, dropped balls and poor route running during the middle part of the game.
In the end, the Tigers went with a different alignment on offense and might have found something that would balance their attack. Too many penalties on offense hurt them on drives in the third quarter when they couldn’t move the ball.
The defense improved but had trouble at times with sweeps and dealing with Bryan’s outstanding running quarterback. Cut back runs were a problem. Their top cornerback missed the fourth quarter.
Belton got the ball first and drove to midfield before being forced to punt. The Tigers defense held with Rodarius Burks getting a stop for no-gain. Kavan Johnson picked up a third and five. Stafford connected with Andre Ewing for 32-yards and Johnson scored from three yards out to give the Tigers a 7-0 lead.
Brandon Sullivan had a stop and Colby Priest had a sack for another three and out. Belton went three and out with two screen passes going nowhere. Bryan was stacking the line of scrimmage. Bryan scored off a cutback run by the quarterback to make it 7-6 with 1:48 left in the first quarter.
John Holmes converted a third and long with a 15-yard reception. Rhoads ran to the one yard line leading to a Stafford touchdown to make it 14-6.
Matt Chapman stuffed a screen pass on third down for a five yard loss to force a third three in out in four Viking possessions. The defensive play of the safeties were much more physical in this game. Belton had a holding call and it killed the drive and the Tigers defense forced their fourth three and out of the game.
Belton went three and out again and Bryan got their first drive of the game with 4:20 left in the half and scored to make it 14-14. Belton dropped the ball on a late field goal attempt to end the half.
Bryan used quarterback draws to move the ball to the Tigers 14 yard line. Tevin Jones had a stop and Priest came up with a huge third down sack to force a field goal that was good giving the Vikings a 17-14 lead.
The kickoff team was not in the middle of the field and Bryan kicked it there and recovered the ball and turned it into a 24-14 lead. Belton couldn’t move the ball and punted. Jones got pressure on the quarterback and Malik Green had the coverage and forced a punt.
The ball was tipped by the receiver and intercepted giving Bryan great field position again but the defense held.
Belton couldn’t move the ball and a bad snap led to a poor punt giving Bryan the ball at the Tigers 25-yard line. Bryan scored to take a 31-14 lead.
Johnson picked up 15-yards on a screen with the Tigers moving Rhoads and Taylor to receiver. Taylor had a 12-yard reception to the 12-yard line and Stafford ran it in to cut the lead to 31-21. Tevin Jones recovered the onside kick and Stafford hit Taylor on an inside slant for a touchdown to make it 31-28. Bryan scored to make it 37-28.
Stafford on third and long had forever to throw and improvised hitting Kavan for a 32-yard gain. Stafford motioned to Kavan and they made something out of nothing. Kyle Adamson scored on a 17-yard run to make it 37-35 with 2:52 left. Bryan scored with five seconds left.
Belton could easily be 2-0 on the season. They found something on offense at the end and the defense showed promise.