Daily Light Sports Editor
GREENVILLE — Indian head coach David Ream had been waiting three weeks to see the type of offensive explosion he was accustomed to seeing last year.
It finally happened.
Quarterback Boomer Collins accounted for 323 yards and five touchdowns and two other running backs went over 89 yards rushing as the Indians beat Texarkana Texas High 49-35 at Greenville’s T.A. Cotton Ford Stadium.
“This was big, we needed to get things going with our offense,” Collins said. “Coaches have been telling us all week that we needed to dig deep and everyone on this team dug two feet deeper than we needed. The offense, the defense, everyone did great.”
For the past two weeks the Indians had survived because of a defense that was allowing an average of 129 yards per game. Waxahachie’s offense made it clear early that it was not going to rely on the defense for a third straight game.
The Indians built a 21-7 lead in the first quarter and never trailed although Texarkana tied the game twice. Collins threw touchdown passes of 35 and 67 yards and an 11-yard touchdown run in the first quarter.
“Boomer’s the one that makes this offense go and to do that he’s got to be able to run the ball as well as throw it,” Ream said. “The big plays add up, but when we needed to we ate up a lot of clock.”
The offensive outburst could not have come at a better time for Waxahachie as the Indians begin district next week.
“We knew we wanted to play well enough to have some momentum going into next week’s game,” said. Ream, who coached at Texarkana Liberty-Eylau before taking over in Waxahachie. “We’ve been on the kids pretty hard all week and I think we hurt some feelings. We told them they were going to have to play for 48 minutes and that’s what it took.
“Texas High has a good football team and after living there for 11 years, it’s nice to beat those guys.”
Waxahachie went 82 yards on just seven plays to open the game with the drive culminating in a 35-yard touchdown pass to Roderick Jefferson. The Indians were forced to punt on their next possession, but Texas High fumbled the return and Waxahachie recovered the ball on the Tigers’ 16-yard line.
It took the Indians just two plays to convert the turnover into points as Collins scampered 11 yards for a 14-0 lead.
After Texas High cut the lead to seven, Collins connected with Sidney Easley for a 67-yard pass on the first play of the next possession. The Tigers closed the roller coaster first quarter with a 61-yard touchdown run by Leroy Jones that brought Texas High within 21-14.
Easley caught his second touchdown pass of the game late in the second quarter as Collins found him in the corner of the end zone for a 22-yard touchdown reception with 49 seconds left in the first half. The touchdown gave the Indians a 28-21 lead heading into halftime.
Texas High came out in the third quarter determined to run the ball with Jones. On the Tigers’ first drive of the second half Jones ran the ball five times for 56, including a 17-yard touchdown run that tied the game at 28-28.
After being forced to punt on their first possession of the second half, the Indians’ offense went back to work late in the third quarter. Collins capped a 10-play, 67-yard drive with a 1-yard touchdown run on the first play of the fourth quarter.
It did not take long for the Indians to extend their lead as less than three minutes later, after a Texas High punt, sophomore wide receiver Sam Gagliano took a reverse and went 85 yards for a score with 8:57 left in the game.
Texas High, down by 14, was in need of a quick strike and tried to throw the ball deep three times, but never converted a pass longer than six yards on its next possession. The Tigers eventually scored to pull within seven, but the Indian defense forced Texas High to take more than five minutes off the clock to do it.
“They were able to score, but it took them a while to do it, which is a credit to our defense,” Ream said. “They were looking for a big play, but our defense made enough plays to make them bleed the clock.”
Waxahachie was facing a third-and-nine at the Tigers 40-yard line with less than a minute to play and all the Indians needed was a first down to seal the win. Dominique Carson got the first down and a lot more as he ran 40 yards for the game-clinching touchdown with 40 seconds left.
“We were able to put it away early last week, but it was good to see them put away a close game late,” Ream said. “Texas High is a good team and they’re going to beat a lot of good football teams. Hopefully we’ll meet them again sometime in the playoffs.”