By Melissa McCaghren
The Slaton Tigers’ motto this year has been “Respond to Adversity.”
That seemed to be the case in the first half of the Tigers’ 30-13 win, where unusual scores, turnovers and other action lead to an atypical game.
Head Coach Lawrence Johnson said however this unusual action is one reason for the team’s victory. “There were a lot of momentum changes throughout the game and that’s to be expected with this new upcoming rivalry,” he said. “Turnovers and big plays were the difference between the first and second half.”
The first quarter had a single touchdown, when Brownfield scored on a 35-yard fumble return.
When the Cubs attempted a two point conversion, they fumbled the ball, and Jacorien Doss recovered it and went on to return it two points for Slaton. “(Jacorien) had some help from Chris Rader to spring him down the field for the score,” added Johnson.
There were a total of six fumbles lost by both teams during the night, three each for the Cubs and Tigers.
In the second, Brownfield would score on a 28-yard pass, and got the extra point.
Slaton returned the score with two of their own.
The first was by Laz Aguirre, who recovered a Brownfield fumble in the end zone.
“There was a collective effort on defense to generate five turnovers,” said Johnson of the entire game.
Andre Trotty would also score in the second on a 16-yard pass from Ayden Ramirez.
In the third, Trotty would score again, this time on a one-yard pass from Ramirez.
The quarterback would then earn his own touchdown in the fourth on a 24-yard run.
“Ayden stepped up offensively and made some pull reads to create big offensive plays. One that resulted in a rushing TD for him,” said Johnson.
Tae Thompson kicked all four extra points.
Overall, Slaton had 286 yards on the night to Brownfield’s 199.
Ramirez completed seven of 19 passes for 124 yards, with no interceptions.
Top rusher was Zephron Ortiz, who ran the ball 19 times for 123 yards.
Other top rushers were Ramirez (four times for 29 yards), TJ Payne (four times for 15 yards), Jacorien Doss (twice for 19 yards), Eddie Betancourt (once for nine yards) and Elijah Williams (once for two yards).
Top receivers were Trotty (twice for 61 yards), Matt Vigil (three times for 50 yards), Ortiz (once for nine yards) and Betancourt (once for four yards).
The team punted six times, averaging 32.3 yards a punt.
This week, the Tigers will face the Lamesa Tornadoes (Tors), in their last home game of the regular season.
Johnson is working on improving the offense even more than what was seen this past game. “We are looking for our offense to score points and manage the clock. We did a better job managing the time with a higher sense of urgency,” he said.
“Defensively, we will be tested in an assignment based triple option scheme from Lamesa. We will have to be disciplined with our eyes and key our reads for run/pass responsibilities. Swarm mindset has been a big part of generating turnovers so we expect our defense to set our offense up with good field position.”
Johnson has admitted he hasn’t seen where the Tigers stand as far as District, but has added that, unlike Cross Country, UIL has kept the teams advancing to playoffs at four for football.
That said, there is a reason for waiting. “We want our team to focus on the task in front of us,” said Johnson. “The District standings will take care of itself and our team is only thinking about Lamesa.”
Game time is at 7 p.m. Friday evening. Those who cannot attend the game can hear it on KSSL’s radio station and watch it Slaton ISD’s YouTube page, SlatonTigers.
(Editor’s note, information is as of press time Tuesday, Oct. 20. Any changes or postponement of the game will be posted on The Slatonite’s webpage and on Facebook, Slatonite).