FORSAN — After winning their first four games of the season, the injury-plagued Forsan Buffaloes have now dropped two straight after a 43-0 rout by the Sundown Roughnecks on Friday at Buffalo Stadium.
Forsan — despite missing five offensive starters — the Buffs looked strong early in the matchup as Forsan kept the chains moving, but were ultimately stopped by an aggresssive Roughneck defense — who clearly used its size advantage over the Buffaloes.
During the punt marking Forsan's third possession of the game, junior lineman Ausden Medrano appeared to roll his ankle and was unable to play the remainder of the game.
Medrano's loss would increase the number of starters on the offensive side of the ball out with injuries to six.
Despite a solid first quarter, Sundown's momentum picked up early in the second quarter when Kaleb Branton ran in a two-yard touchdown followed by an extra point to give the Roughnecks a 7-0 lead.
Forsan's next punt return would prove to be even more costly.
This time it was starting quarterback Marcus Cervantes who took a hard hit while returning the ball and would be sidelined for the rest of the outing.
“It's crazy,” Forsan Head Coach Jason Phillips said of his team's injuries. “We definitely had to move some guys around, but we can't use the injuries as an excuse. Whatever 11 guys we have out there on offense, we expect them to go out there and make plays.”
Meanwhile, the Roughnecks scored two more unanswered touchdowns in the second quarter, increasing their lead to 20-0
Junior Trevor Burchett replaced Cervantes at first, but Sundown's relentless pressure forced Phillips to put sophomore and third string QB Polo Morin under center.
The score may not reflect it, but it appeared to be a good move.
Morin completed 9-of-18 passes for 115 yards and kept Forsan's hopes of a rally alive — at least for a while — by making big plays including two consecutive first down passes to TE Kade Fannin and a 19-yard bomb to receiver J.T. Breyman, putting the Buffs deep in Roughneck territory with one second to go before the half.
The effort fell short as an incomplete pass to Fannin ended the quarter.
A Sundown safety and two scores on the ground all but sealed the game for Sundown as its 36-0 lead headed into the final quarter of play proved insurmountable.
The Morin-led Buffaloes tried, but couldn't put together a scoring drive and the Roughnecks improved to 5-1 on the season.
“(Morin) did a great job,” Phillips said. “He really stepped up and did some good things out there. We need that from everybody until we can get healthy again. Defensively, we were doing exactly what we needed to do early in the game — and even later in the game they played great at times — we just have to play well all four quarters.”
Forsan's meeting with Sundown was the last nondistrict meeting for the Buffaloes as they get ready to face the 3-3 Haskell Indians on the road next week.
Phillips said that aside from getting healthy, he plans to focus on consistency in order to help improve his team's play heading into district play.
“We kind of had mood swings as a team (Friday), Phillips added. “We have to make sure as a team, we don't go through these mood swings. We have to play all four quarters and hopefully we can do that and get our confidence back.”