MESQUITE – Even novice football fans know that a team that commits 22 penalties and turns the ball over three times have no business even being in a game, let alone winning it.
But the Waxahachie Indians found a way to prove a lot of people wrong as they beat West Mesquite 29-27 on the road to get their first win of the year.
“We’ve had some ugly losses, but it’s good to get an ugly win,” Waxahachie football coach David Ream said. “It was sloppy. We made some mental mistakes and we’ve got to be more disciplined.”
The referees were flag happy at Mesquite Memorial Stadium as they tossed their hankies 33 total times costing the teams a combined total of 298 yards. Waxahachie was the offender 22 times for 178 yards.
“They were drawing offsides and making us jump on the line with the snap count,” Ream said. “But there’s no excuse for the personal fouls away from plays up on the sidelines. Your going to get some sometimes by playing hard and running into the quarterback or kicker, but there’s no excuse for the others.”
The players know there is no excuse for that and they are expecting their punishment in the next few days of practice.
“They are going to kill us with running,” Waxahachie running back Trevon Smith said. “We need it though. We can’t be doing that stuff.”
Smith should be used to running after he ran for all four of the Indians’ touchdowns and rushed for 205 yards on 23 carries.
While clearly all four touchdowns were huge, there may not have been a bigger play in the game than the two-point conversion the Indians pulled after Smith’s second score. Lined up in a swinging gate, the direct snap went to Quinn Sargent, who threw the ball to Kenneth Washington for the two points, which ended up being the difference in the final score.
Smith was motivated Friday night by the Wrangler players he faced last year on the freshman team.
“They were talking trash to me even though I destroyed them last year,” Smith said. “It felt good to go out there and score on them. I actually wanted to get six touchdowns though. I figured after I got three in the first half, I could get three more in the second.”
While he had to settle for four, he gave a lot of credit to his offensive line, especially one of the seniors.
“I just know I can follow Pat (Patrick Lawrence). He’s a D1 tackle and I know I can just follow his lead,” Smith said. “The whole line played a lot better than it did a week ago and that made it easier.”
Ream saw a lot of improvement in the offense in the first half of the game.
“I thought we did a pretty good job of moving the football and we had a couple big plays to get us going,” Ream said. “I thought the quarterbacks did OK, we just threw the one interception on the screen where we just couldn’t throw the ball over the guy. We worked all week on that and we came out and just made a mistake.”
Avery Jackson and Max McCulloch pretty much rotated the entire game with each getting a play here and a play there. McCulloch completed just one of his four passes and it was a 20-yard gain on a screen to Smith. Jackson completed three passes, but for just five yards. His biggest play though came with his legs.
West Mesquite started the second half with the ball, but was forced to punt after picking up just one first down. Chucky Woods made a tackle and broke up what would have been a first down completion on third down to force the punt.
The return was muffed and the Wranglers recovered the ball at the Indian 17-yard line. West Mesquite went for the end zone on its first play of the half, but the pass was picked off by Kenneth Washington. He caught the ball right around the goal line so ran it out just to be careful to avoid a safety and was tackled at the five-yard line.
Under the shadows of his own goal post, Jackson broke off an 80-yard run to get near the other goal post. He got caught from behind, but his main focus was on protecting the football after fooling the defense on a fake pitch draw play.
That led to Smith’s fourth and final touchdown, on a two-yard run with 7:42 left in the third quarter.
West Mesquite drove down on its ensuing drive and cut the lead to 29-14. After that touchdown, the two teams exchanged punts as the game entered the fourth quarter. On the second play of the final frame, the Indians threw the screen pass interception and the Wranglers took over on the Waxahachie 20-yard line. Two plays later, it was a one-possession game 29-21.
The two teams’ defenses stepped up and exchanged punts on the next two drives. That meant Waxahachie had the ball with 4:40 left on the clock and West Mesquite had two time outs remaining. Waxahachie ran the ball three straight times with Smith and the Wranglers took one of their time outs. The Indians had another offensive line penalty to set up fourth and seven at their own 36 with 3:20 left on the clock. In a gutsy call, Ream goes for a fake punt and Isaiah Parrish runs up the left sideline for a 20-yard gain.
“That’s something we had been working on all week and we knew we could get it,” Ream said.
Facing first and 20 at his own 46-yard line while West Mesquite has just one time out left and less than three minutes left in the game, Ream elects to call a pass play.
“We thought we could take a shot down the right sideline because we had Quinn n a one-on-one match up,” Ream said. “But the young quarterback threw it to the wrong side of the field and it was incomplete.”
That stopped the clock, but that wasn’t as disastrous as the next play. A busted play in the backfield led to a fumble by Waxahachie and it was recovered by the Wranglers inside the Waxahachie 20-yard line. On the very next play, West Mesquite scored from 13 yards out to make it 29-27 with 2:12 left in the game. Both teams take a time out to set up for the ensuing two-point conversion attempt. The play that West Mesquite drew up looked very similar to one of the heroes for the Indians.
“They actually ran the play earlier and I didn’t cover it well because their guy was open,” Indian corner back Rashawn Moser said. “And I wasn’t going to let it happen again.”
The pass got to the receivers hands, but Moser was able to bat it away and prevent the two-point conversion.
“I tried to jump it and get a pick, but when I tipped it, it actually went to him,” Moser said. “So my first thought was just to hit him because it’s not pass interference after the ball was tipped and luckily the ball fell.”
Sargent recovered West Mesquite’s onside kick attempt and all that was left was for the Indians to run out the clock. Smith broke off a 20-yard run on the first play of the drive, but was pushed out of bounds against his own sideline. That set off a skirmish that had just about all 11 West Mesquite players near the Waxahachie bench.
After each team drew personal foul penalties, two Indian players, Lee Wheaton and Elijah Brown, were ejected from the game for their involvement in the extra curricular. Ream said that both of those players will also be suspended for the first half of next week’s game.
That finally ended the excitement of the Indians’ first win of the season.
Waxahachie (1-1) now has a short week to prepare for rival Corsicana (1-2). The two teams will square off in Lumpkins Stadium at 7 p.m. Thursday. The game will also be carried live on TV on KTXA 21.