By Trent Friedel
St. Mary’s returned home for week three to face the North Caddo Rebels. The Rebels are possibly the team that started last year’s slide for the Tigers who were coming off a trip to the dome in 2015. After a compelling victory against Winnifield, the Tigers were looking to keep their explosive offense going. In the first two games the Tigers have amassed over 800 yards on the ground and over 400 through the air. You have to think the offensive line is getting the job done.
The Tiger’s would loose the toss and kicked to the Rebels to start play. The Rebels would score with barely a minute off the clock on a 63-yard pass. The PAT kick was blocked and the Rebels took an early 6-0 lead. The ensuring kick return was fumbled by Jasen Elie and the Rebels took over with good field position at the Tiger-37. On first down, Wes Manuel came up with a big sack for loss. Then, a jet sweep would fail and then a pass was deflected by Zack White and Jeremy Friedel snuffed out a draw play for a loss of yardage. The Tiger defense stiffened and forced a turnover on downs and took possession on their own 25. Tiger’s moved the chains a couple of time but also suffer some penalties. They would prevail on an 11-yard touchdown pass from Howell to Shelton with one minute remaining in the first quarter.
The Rebels would gain a short field advantage on the kickoff and took over at midfield. After several penalties of their own and a nice pass from Sanders to Coston, that would set up a strike from Sanders to Coston and the two-point-conversion was good. The score increased to Rebels, 14, SMH, 6.
Bailey Shelton had a good return of the kick, bringing the Tigers to a starting position on the Rebel-40. A couple of plays later Howell found Jay Parker in the end zone for a score but the two-point-conversion failed. Rebels 14 – Tigers 12. The Rebels wasted no time in scoring again. On the second play from scrimmage the shifty Tymon Sanders ran 63 yards for the score after eluding multiple tackles. The PAT kick was no good increasing the score Rebels 20 – Tigers 12.
Tigers would take the kick and score seven plays later on a 1-yard run by right tackle Matt Nelson. The PAT attempt was a repeat play with repeat results, tying the game.
The Rebels received the kick with about six minutes remaining in the half. On the third play after, Sanders was chased in the pocket and threw a lofty pass that was intercepted by Jeremy Friedel and ran back for would looked like it was a touchdown. However, a penalty called on the play sent the Tigers to the Rebel-35 yard line. Tigers could not capitalize on the pick and give up the ball on downs. Tiger’s defense would have some good plays including a sack by Jackson and Manuel on the ever elusive Sanders. The Rebels were threatening to score with less than a minute in the half but Shelton came up with a big interception at the 4-yard line. Tigers took a knee to run out the clock and the teams would go into the locker room knotted at 20.
The SMH Tigers got the kick coming out of the locker room and had great return by Shelton to the Rebel-39 yard line. A jet sweep by Shelton that would have been a score was called back for holding. St. Mary’s could not put it in the end zone again and would turn over on downs. The Rebels took over on their own 10 and move the ball well while committing several penalties but finished the drive with a 40-yard touchdown pass from Sanders to Brooks and the kick by Rodrigez was good. Rebels 27 – Tigers 20.
Rebels then attempted an onside kick that was brought in by Elie at the Tiger-45. Tigers drove 55-yards in 5 plays and scored on a short 5-yard run by Howell. Shelton’s two-point-conversion was good allowing the Tigers to take their first lead of the night, 28-27.
The Rebels started the fourth with the ball but were forced to punt shortly after. St. Mary’s had a nice punt return but it was brought back by a block-in-back call. On the first play following, Howell connected with Jay Parker for a long pass but Jay was stripped from behind by Sanders. Tigers cornered the Rebels at their own 5 yard line but gave up a pass. Then only 3 minutes left on the clock, James Brown would gash the Tiger defense on a 78-yard run for a score. With the two-point-conversion good, Rebels took over once more, 35- Tigers 28.
About a minute later, and after a very nice pass from Howell to Bankston, Howell would connect with Shelton for a 37-yard touchdown. The two-point attempted run failed and the score was Rebels 35 – Tigers 34.
Only about seven minutes remained but it was a hard fought battle to the end. Tigers attempted an onside kick but failed, giving the Rebels the short field. The Rebels would drive and score on a 3-yard run by Sanders and the kick by Rodriguez was good Rebels 42 – Tigers 34.
Tigers got the kickoff but could not get the offense going and had to turn the ball over on downs, giving the Rebels the ball at the Tigers-20. Tymon Sanders would score on a 5-yard run but the two-point conversion failed. Rebels 48 – Tigers 34.
The Tigers moved the ball with time running out. Howell connected with Shelton on a pass to bring the ball to the Rebel-11 yard line. Howell then took a sack and the Tigers would turn the ball over on downs after driving to the two-yard line. Rebels took over but on the first play James Durr met the running back head-on and stripped the ball. St. Mary’s regained a pulse and had the ball on the 4-yard line. On the first play Howell threw an interception that was quickly taken back by Bailey Shelton, retaining the ball. With 23 seconds in regulation, Howell ran in from 5 yards out on a busted play but the PAT was no good. The Rebels held on to win 48-40.
It was a tough loss for the Tigers who played hard but came up short. It was a penalty heavy game with Tigers having 12 flags for 135 yards and the Rebels 22 for 164. The Tigers passed for over 300 yards in the game and ran for 150. St. Mary’s looks to regroup on the road as they open district play against Block Friday, Sept. 22.