By Melissa McCaghren
The Slaton Tigers had a huge challenger in the State ranked and 2019 Regional Finalist Abernathy Antelopes.
In the end, Abernathy scored two touchdowns in the fourth quarter to edge out the Tigers 21-13.
Although the Tigers came out on the short side, Head Coach Lawrence Johnson said he was overall happy with the results.
“We played a really good ranked team in Abernathy. They executed in times where we didn’t,” said Johnson. “Our kids played hard and gave great effort. We all have to execute better as a staff and a team.”
Slaton started the scoring off first, with Tae Thompson making a 30-yard field goal in the first quarter.
Thompson would then follow it up with a 34-yard field goal in the second to make the score 6-0.
Matt Vigil then scored the lone Slaton touchdown of the game, receiving a 45-yard pass from Ayden Ramirez.
Johnson said offense was good, both in scoring and protecting.
“Offensively, Matt Vigil had another good night statistically but Diego Maldonado was our offensive player of the game as an offensive linemen,” he said.
Abernathy would then score in the second on a two-yard run in the second quarter, then two more touchdowns in the fourth to win.
While Abernathy did have at least two touchdowns called back due to penalties, Johnson said defense was also a key to keeping the score close. “Defensively, our linebacker core lead the team statistically but our defensive player of the game was Elijah Williams,” said Johnson.
Williams had 11 total tackles in the game, seven solo and four assisted.
Ramirez completed 13 of 27 passing attempts for 235 yards. He had one interception.
Zephron Ortiz lead the way in rushing, rushing 22 times for 48 yards. Other top rushers were Jacorien Doss (once for two yards), Ramirez (four times for five yards) and CJ Anzley (three times for 10 yards).
Vigil lead in receiving, catching the ball seven times for 172 yards. Other top receivers for Slaton included Nate Bentancourt (once for 40 yards), Andre Trotty (once for seven yards), Anzley (once for 21 yards) and Eddie Betancourt (twice for nine yards).
The team punted two times for 30.5 yards.
The Tigers now look toward future weeks. “We will always enforce discipline in all three phases of the game and that will take care of the execution for us,” said Johnson.
“It is a growth period of learning when implementing a new scheme so mistakes are expected. We want to see less mistakes each week.”
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Editor’s note: Slaton was scheduled to play New Deal this Friday, but due to a recent outbreak of COVID in Slaton High School, shifting learning to virtual, this game along with Odessa Academy Sept. 18 will not be played.
The Slatonite will continue to conduct its weekly football contest during this time; however, a replacement team will be in Slaton ISD’s spot. Further updates can be found on the Facebook page, Slatonite.