Anything can happen in a rivalry game.
Friday's Battle of 287 between Waxahachie and Ennis became a game of catch up for the Indians really quick.
The Indians trailed 21-0 after the first quarter and never could catch the Lions in the 61-28 loss.
“They were a better football team obviously. They have three or four D1 guys that are better than anything we've got,” Waxahachie football coach David Ream said. “We're a year away from being a better football team. We had to play the perfect football game tonight and we didn't do it.”
Ennis had 12 rushes for 156 yards and two touchdowns by Baylor-commit Terence Williams and quarterback Devin Smith completed 11 of 14 passes for 187 yards and four scores.
Ennis had already clinched the district title the week before, but wanted to make sure it finished undefeated.
“It got a little chippy at the end. After last week's emotional game, our guys were edgy,” Ennis coach Jack Alvarez said. “But they should be on the last game of the year. We wanted to finish our season strong.”
Ennis didn't finish strong last year and after winning its first eight games, lost its last three.
“We started 8-0 and got beat by Lancaster and Waxahachie. Lancaster went to state, but we feel like we should have had that one and Waxahachie beat our butts,” “That kind of bothered us all offseason and the kids came out extra motivated because of that.”
Ennis got its revenge against Waxahachie on Friday as it accumulated 677 yards of total offense, 490 on the ground. The Lions' averaged 16.34 yards per carry. Big plays helped that number as Ennis had rushes of 72, 75, 65, 83 and 56. Only two of those directly scored touchdowns.
The 72-yard run by Smith would have been a score if Waxahachie cornerback Rashawn Moser had given up on the play, but he didn't and hustled down to catch him at the two-yard line. It wasn't enough as the Lions scored on the next play to go up 14-0 eight minutes into the game.
Waxahachie was forced to go three-and-out on the next drive and four plays later, Ennis was in the end zone again on a pass from Smith to Tre Elliott.
The Indians countered with their best drive of the night, a 15-play effort that took 6:42 off the clock and ended when Trevon Smith ran into the end zone untouched from four yards out. That drew the Indians back to within 14 points, but that was as close as they got.
Ennis scored on its first play of the next drive, a 75-yard run from Williams, and from there on out it was all Lions.
“Their drives are short and it doesn't take them long to go the distance,” Ream said. “They've got a guy going to Baylor and a guy going to Texas Tech, we're not going to play with those guys right now.”
Waxahachie had its backs against the wall early and had to go for it on four fourth downs to try and keep up with Ennis and converted just one of them.
“We moved the ball well in the first quarter, they never stopped us, we stopped us,” Ream said. “The same we true in the fourth quarter. We just ran out of downs sometimes. You get three touchdowns downs, you have to make some kind of commitment.”
Waxahachie had 382 yards of offense and was led by the return of its sophomore running back. Trevon ran 18 times for 146 yards and a score. He missed the last game due to an ankle injury. He seemed a bit hobbled as the game went on, but stayed in the contest.
Waxahachie put together a nice, quick drive to end the first half. Avery Jackson connected with Isiah Parrish for 13 yards then Trevon broke off a 39-yard run to get the Indians inside the Ennis 10 with 10 seconds left in the second quarter. On the final play of the half, Jackson hit Parrish on an eight-yard post route to make it 34-14 at the half.
Ennis scored on its next three drives to go up 54-14 before the Indians put together another long drive. The Tribe went 64 yards in eight plays and Max McCulloch hit Elijah Brown for a 28-yard score with 6:51 left in the game.
Waxahachie got a little more momentum when D.A. Donalson picked off an Ennis pass and returned it 15 yards to make it 54-28, but one more Lion score sealed the game.
The Indians (2-7, 1-6 in 15-4A) obviously didn't have a great season, but they do have a lot of youth coming back next year that they can build upon.
“We've got some evaluating to do and some mental aspects to look at, but we gave all of our effort in every ball game,” Ream said. “I wasn't concerned about the effort, we just have to become better athletes.”
But Friday's game wasn't about the young players. It was the final game in Waxahachie for 30 seniors. For most of them, it was their final football game ever.
Senior lineman Patrick Lawrence is already committed to play football for Baylor, but he wanted to play his final season as an Indian with no regrets.
“It's been a fun season. We didn't have a great record, but we played hard and the guys stayed positive the whole year,” Lawrence said. “I'm happy for the younger class because they are going to step up. I just wish we could have done better.”
When you look for leaders on this team, it's hard to miss Lawrence's 6-foot-6-inch, 250-pound frame and his strong work ethic.
“I've been taught since I was younger to always be a hard worker. I owe it to my parents and all the coaches I've had to help me get to where I am,” Lawrence said. “It doesn't come easy. I've loved every minute here playing and working with these guys We all played our butts off.”
While players like Lawrence, Parrish and Adrian Zavala were among the most notable of the seniors on the team, there were dozens more behind them, pushing them to be great.
“Those guys are as good of leaders as we've had. What could have been a sour year, they came in with a good attitude and good effort every day,” Ream said. “We've got some guys like Reagan Wallace and Colt Thompson who come after it and worked hard every day. They didn't get a lot of playing time, but contributed as much as anybody and are high character kids.”