Catch him if you can

Caldwell running back slices orange through Tiger D
BY BILL MARTIN Reporter Sports Editor

Senior Justin Elliott made the catch but lost his helmet in making a terrific 31-yard grab to push Rockdale out of their own territory in Friday night's loss. Senior Justin Elliott made the catch but lost his helmet in making a terrific 31-yard grab to push Rockdale out of their own territory in Friday night's loss. Last season, District 24-3A featured arguably the two best running backs in the state in Madisonville's Chris Whaley and Navasota's Dexter Pratt.

Here's guessing that Caldwell Coach Dale Williams wouldn't trade his current running back for a roster full of Whaleys and Pratts.

Kyson Woolverton sliced up the Rockdale defense for 172 yards and five touchdowns on 33 carries in leading the upstart Hornets to a convincing 35-14 victory Friday night at Tiger Stadium.

The loss is the second straight for reeling Rockdale, the first time the Tigers have lost back-to-back games since early 2007.

The loss also puts a halt to a ninegame regular season winning streak and leaves the Tigers at 7-2 overall and 3-2 in District 24-3A.

The victory pushed No. 15 Caldwell to 6-1 overall and 3-0 in district, the last unbeaten team in the league.

While Rockdale takes the week off before finishing up the regular season at Taylor on Nov. 6, the Hornets host Taylor Friday and then travel to Cameron to take on the Yoe with an invitation to the playoffs in their pockets.

Caldwell is aiming for its first district championship since 1993.

Identical to last season, the Tigers must handle the Ducks to extend their season for the third straight year.

That gives them a week to lick their wounds from the Hornet stinging.

"They dominated on both sides of the ball," said Rockdale Coach Jeff Miller. "There's not much we could do to stop it."

"We've got to show a lot of character and get better in the next two weeks. We've got to try and get some of the momentum back."

A defense that was once the best in the district and the bedrock of the team, has now allowed 76 points and almost 800 yards in the last two contests.

The Tigers had become the resident experts in stopping a any offense that had a "T" in it, winning seven straight games again slot or wing T teams.

That streak came to a screeching halt.

With his extraordinary performance Friday evening, Woolverton has surpassed the 1,000- yard mark for the second consecutive season and has now scored 22 touchdowns, which puts him up among the leaders in the state.

In last year's 28-14 Rockdale victory in Caldwell, the Tigers choked off Woolverton's supply line and limited him to 58 yards.

There was no such resistance Friday evening as the 5-foot-9, 165-pound bruiser had his way as the Hornet offensive line pushed the Tiger defense all over the field with relative ease.

"We just stick to what we do best," Woolverton said after the game. "We try to come out and play power football."

"A ll the credit goes to our offensive line," said Williams, who was rewarded with a Gatorade shower by his team after the game. "They come off the line and they get no glory and nothing in the paper, but they come out every game and they're down there butting heads."

Caldwell wound up with 253 yards on 62 carries for an unspectacular 4.0 yards per carry.

But, the most telling statistic comes off the scoreboard: the Hornets had the ball in their possession for 34 minutes and 33 seconds of the 48 minute contest, compared to Rockdale's 14:27.

Even more revealing, the Tigers had the ball for only 5 minutes and 41 seconds in the second half and ran 15 plays from scrimmage for 56 net yards.

"You know coming in that you have to get the ball and keep it from them to be successful,' Miller said. "We ran 40 plays, that tells you a lot."

Several important factors also played into Caldwell victory.

For one, the Tigers turned the ball over a season-high four times on three lost fumbles and an interception.

"We put the ball on the ground three times and it was really costly," Miller said.

Secondly, the Hornets caught the Tigers off guard with their clandestine passing game, which totaled just 97 yards on three completions, but were huge in setting up two Woolverton touchdowns.

Entering the game, Hornet quarterback D.J. Cumby had attempted just 38 passes with 15 completions.

Thirdly, the Caldwell defense is much stouter than everybody thinks.

After allowing Navasota just 103 yards of offense two weeks ago, the well-rested Hornet defense held the previously potent Rockdale running game to 46 yards.

Quarterback Joe Sanders posted the highest passing numbers of his career with 180 yards after some spectacular catches by his receiving corps.

Brandon Gibbs led the way with his second career 100-yard game with four catches for 107, including one for 48 yards.

Tyler Wright gathered in four for 48 yards including a 14-yard touchdown catch right before halftime to tie the score at 14.

The way the Tigers erupted out of the gate and the way Caldwell responded, the game had all the earmarks of being a slugfest.

Rockdale charged down the field after the opening kickoff, needing just six plays and 2:09 to cover 58 yards and stake out a 7-0 lead on Sanders' one-yard sneak.

Sanders' 21-yard hookup with Wright and Greg Chelf's 24-yard burst up the middle, placed the ball on the one to set up the score.

Chelf finished with 42 yards on just nine carries and he toted the ball twice in the second half for just two yards.

The Tigers even forced the Hornets to punt after a 12-play drive moved them to the Rockdale 38, but a fumble on the Tiger's series at the 28 handed the ball right back to them and they responded quickly with Woolverton's first score of the evening to tie the game 7-7.

Further complicating things, Rockdale fumbled the ensuing kickoff and Caldwell was in business again at the 38, but the Tigers were able to force a punt and avoid the possible disaster.

Rockdale was unable to generate any points on their next possession despite a great 31-yard catch by Elliott where his helmet was knocked completely off.

The Hornets grabbed the lead for good on their next possession, driving 68 yards in nine plays and eating up four minutes of clock as Woolverton went on his longest touchdown trip of the night, from 16 yards away for a 14-7 lead.

24-3A STANDINGS
District Season
WL WL PtsOpp
Caldwell 4 0 6 1 249 97
Navasota 3 1 7 1 252 75
Rockdale 3 2 7 2 215 132
Madisonville 2 2 4 4 150 174
Cameron 2 2 5 3 243 193
Taylor 1 3 4 4 215 223
Rudder 0 5 2 6 137 230

Last week—Caldwell 35, Rockdale 14; Madisonville was idle; Cameron 34, Rudder 16; Navasota 44, Taylor 0.

This week—Rockdale is idle; Taylor at Caldwell; Madisonville at Bryan Rudder; Cameron at Navasota.

TIGER SEASON LEADERS

Rushing—Chelf 116-723 4 TD; Brooks 73-620 8 TD; Dixon 67-315 2 TD; Sanders 74-198 7 TD; Peters 7-55; Elliott 2-8, Farley 1-4; Wright 3-(-3).

Passing—Sanders 56-124-6, 860 yards, 6 TD; Wright 10-19-2, 198 yards, 3 TD; Chelf 1-1-0, 17 yards.

Receiving—Gibbs 14-230 1TD; Elliott 13-195 1TD; Wright 7-159 3TD; Mynar 5-132 1TD; Torres 5-76; Dixon 5 -25; Debault 4 -90; Chelf 3 -24; Brooks 2-10; Sanders 2-109 2TD; Estrada 2-6; White 1-10; Bishop 1-2, Farley 1-2; Lewis 2-5 1TD.

Tackles—David, L. 81, David, D. 74, Elliott 62, Burrough 55, Estrada 52, Clark 49, Wright 32, Mynar 30, Montoya 29, Gibbs 25, Gadison 19, Fowler 16, Monroe 14, Diaz 13, Dixon 11, Vasquez 6, Chelf 6, Barcak 5, Peters 5, Debault 4, Bishop 3, Farley 3, Lewis 3, Torres 3. Caldwell Rockdale 20 First downs 9 62-253 Rushes-yards 19-46 3-5-0 Passes 10-18-1 97 Passing yards 180 350 Total offense 226 3-35 Punts 3-39 1-0 Fumbles-lost 4-3 6-60 Penalties-yards 1-10

Score by quarters Caldwell 0 14 7 14—35 Rockdale 7 7 0 0—14

Scoring summary

First quarter ROCKDALE—Joe Sanders 1 run (Waylon Boyd kick) 9:50

Second quarter CALDWELL—Kyson Woolver ton 5 run (Trent Meckel kick) 11:53 CALDWELL—Woolverton 16 run (Meckel kick) 2:42 ROCKDALE—Tyler Wright 14 pass from Sanders (Boyd kick) :56

Third quarter CALDWELL—Woolverton 1 run (Meckel kick) 6:01

Fourth quarter CALDWELL—Woolverton 2 run (Meckel kick) 8:56 CALDWELL—Woolverton 1 run (Meckel kick) 4:38

The Leaders RUSHING— ROCKDALE: Chelf 9 - 42, Brooks 2-4, Dixon 1-2, Elliott 1-(-1), Sanders 6-(-1). CALDWELL: Woolverton 33-172 5 TD, Scott 16-86. PASSING—ROCKDALE: Sanders 10-15- 1, 180 yards. CALDWELL: Cumby 3-4-0, 97 yards. RECEIVING—ROCKDALE: Gibbs 4-107, Wright 4-48, Elliott 1-31, Dixon 1- (-6). CALDWELL: Gutierrez 2-68. TACKLES—Clark 15, David, D. 15, David, L. 13, Estrada 11, Gadison 11, Elliott 7, Burrough 6, Diaz 5, Gibbs 5, Fowler 4.


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