By Melissa McCaghren
It was a case of lights out football, figuratively and literally.
The Slaton Tiger football team didn’t let a 30 minute game delay due to an outage that knocked out the field lights affect them as they defeated the Sanford-Fritch Eagles 41-6 to open their season.
Head Coach Jeff Caffey was happy with the results, even if it was close in the first half, where Slaton was ahead by a mere point, 6-7.
“Historically, Fritch they’re fighters so I knew coming in we’d have to break them before it’d get bad,” he said.
“It’s not that we were off, they were playing not to lose, and we came out and re-established the line of scrimmage after that and it took off.”
Slaton struck first, with Laz Galindo scoring on a four-yard run. Sanford-Fritch responded with an 11-yard score of their own, but failed to score the extra point.
A few minutes later, it was too dark to play without stadium lights, and teams were sent to the field box to wait out the outage.
This could break a team, but for the Tigers, it may have helped them regroup. “Actually (we didn’t talk ) a lot other than the fact we had to come out mentally focused and be a little more aggressive and just do our jobs and our schemes,” said Caffey, “If you just do your job and do it to the best of your ability good things are going to happen because it’s the way it’s designed. There’s nothing complicated about it, it’s basically really simple.”
It showed the rest of the game for the Tigers.
Elijah Williams scored on a three-yard-run in the second quarter.
Galindo added to the scoring on a 10-yard-run in the second.
Zephron Ortiz scored two of the touchdowns in the third quarter, one on a 34-yard pass from Galindo and a nine-yard-run for the second.
“(He) had a great first varsity game at running back,” said Caffey.
Quevon McDaniel pulled in a 13-yard-pass from Galindo in the third to finish the scoring for the team.
Tae Thompson kicked the extra point in all but one of the touchdowns, when a two point conversion failed.
“The whole back line (did well),” Caffey said. “When you incorporate all four (in this scheme), they may stop one, they may stop two, but they’re not going to stop all four and you can tell who they game plan to stop.”
On offense, the team rushed 35 times for 264 yards, and had 92 yards receiving. Galindo and Ayden Ramirez made six of 10 passes, with zero interceptions.
“Offensively we had a big night, put up some yards and something we expected. We expected to be that way” said Caffey.
Defense also had a good night, keeping the Eagles to less than 50 yards rushing, 6 yards receiving, and having few passing attempts.
“Defensively I would say our defensive line had a great night but as a unit we held a little under 50 yard of total offense,” Caffey added. “I mean, you can’t do that with just two or three kids. It was the whole group. I was proud all the way around.”
He said however in spite of the good stats, the team did have a few minor issues. “Special teams had a few inexperience miscues, but they can be fixed in a week,” he said, adding he felt by the end of the ballgame they had it figured out.
That’s important going into this week’s game against the Brownfield Cubs. “We’re looking for improvement and I think that with what they do it plays into our head a little bit,” said Caffey. “I think we should dominate the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball, but I think special teams are going to play a huge part in this week’s game.
“We can capitalize on all three phases this week. I just want to see it get better as we go.”
He also said other factors off the field helped contribute to the win. “You always wonder what the first week of football season, the first real game is going to be like the whole day across the board was outstanding, from the pep rally to pre-game to the final, everything was what Texas high school football is supposed to be about. This is my third year – it’s never been on par like this,” Caffey said. “This is the first time since 2010 that I actually had a day like that and my hat’s off to everybody.”
The Slaton Tigers play Friday evening for their annual homecoming game at 7:30 p.m. at Tiger Stadium.
Tickets are general admission, $4 adults, $2 students. Non-school age kids ages 4 and younger are free. Reserve tickets are $5 and are available at the business office.