HASKELL — After losing two straight games against perennial playoff squads Crane and Sundown, the Forsan Buffaloes edged the Haskell Indians 14-7 on the road to open District 4-1A action with a win and improving their record to 5-2 on the season.
Haskell scored early on a touchdown pass to Warren Flye from quarterback Brett Shelton.
Senior running back Brendan Roman returned after being sidelined with a rib injury and racked up 127 yards on the ground and scored a Forsan touchdown in the first quarter of play.
In the second period, Garrett Kligore picked off Shelton for the final score of the game and after a 98-yard run followed by a valid point after kick the Buffs took a one-touchdown lead that wouldn't be relinquished for the rest of the outing.
It was a defensive dual for the entire second half, with Forsan winning the battle in trenches.
Buffalo Head Coach Jason Phillips was glad to come home with a district win and is now ready for a much-needed open week.
“I've never been so excited about having a week off,” Phillips — who has dealt with injuries to position players all season long — said. “We really need it. We are going to take the time to heal, work on some basic stuff and over a lot of film.”
Phillips cited the defense as the MVPs of the low-scoring affair.
“It wasn't our prettiest game,” Phillips said. “But it was good to see our defense step up and play with the intensity they did. They played well and stopped them when they needed to.”
The Forsan offense has been forced to improvise at the quarterback position since losing senior starter Marcus Cervantes early in the game the previous week.
Sophomore Polo Morin has filled in for the injured Cervantes, but went down himself last night after an unspecified injury.
Phillips placed the multi-purpose Trevor Burchett under center.
“We had some good drives,” Phillips added. “We started a lot from our own 20 and we would get 40-50 yards and that's it. There were improvements on both sides of the ball from the last couple of weeks. We had some junior varsity guys step up and make some big plays — we just need to get everyone healthy.”
When Forsan returns to action Oct. 26, they will be hosting the state-ranked, 6-1 Stamford Bulldogs.
COAHOMA — It wasn't a win, but it was something to build on.
The 1-5 Coahoma Bulldogs hosted district foe and local rival Stanton on Friday and although the Bulldogs were on the losing end of a tight 26-24 game, Head Coach Trey Gardner was proud of his team's efforts.
“We had a little more bounce in our step (Friday) night,” Gardner said. “We looked like a football team again. We have to maintain that and keep playing hard and take whatever happens at that point.”
Stanton drew first blood when Tim Anderson ran for a four-yard score, but Coahoma blocked the point after attempt and came up with a safety to make it a 6-2 game. It was a see-saw battle from then on.
Tanner Ruiz rushed for a 59-yard touchdown, but then, Buffaloes' quarterback, K.J. Glaspie found Reuben Cazares who caught a 13-yard touchdown pass. Ruiz again found the end zone on 35-yard quarterback keeper play to end the first quarter with a 16-12 Bulldog lead.
Glaspie has a 1-yard run for Stanton in the second period to tack on another six points for Stanton. Ruiz then added another touchdown for Coahoma with an eight-yard rush in the third stanza. Sealing the game for Stanton was Anderson, who scored on a one-yard run with 6:47 remaining.
The Bulldogs couldn't manufacture another touchdown.
Many Bulldogs have been battling injuries, including starting QB Ruiz who has played through a fractured wrist the entire season, but managed to account for three Coahoma touchdowns. Sophomore backup QB Braxten Iden substituted for Ruiz after Stanton began containing the explosive runner.
“We put Iden in in the second quarter,” Gardner explained. “It was really Stanton's doing. They came out the second half and made adjustments, so we went with Iden. We changed some things in the back field. Ruiz went in as tailback.”
The close match could have easily been a win, according to Gardner, but costly turnovers — two by fumble and as many by interception — halted Coahoma's progress.
“You can't win with four turnovers,” Gardner said. “We felt — for the first time in several weeks — our kids played well as a unit. Primarily it was the turnovers and our kick coverage on special teams that killed us.”
It may have gone down in the books as a loss, but there were silver linings mixed in with the mistakes which Gardner hopes to improve upon in the next game — a district match against a tough Sonora squad on the road.
“We did some things well,” Gardner added. “Our kids played hard. We like to feel that if we held on to the ball one of those times (when it was turned over), we would have gotten it into the end zone. Defensively, we played well, but we had some blown assignments and at time we didn't play well against the run. We had guys playing with fractured wrists, coming off of concussions, partially torn ACLs — they still played hard. I can't fault them, they were trying to win the ball game.”
• Grady (5-2) def. Garden City (1-6), 20-18.
• Klondike (5-2) def. Sands (4-3), 53-8.