Arlington’s victory over Houston came with a price — 27 sprints on Labor Day.
The number of points scored against the Tigers on Friday is how many sprints they ran on Monday for conditioning.
“I told them it feels a lot better to run this after a win than it would have a loss,” said Arlington head coach Adam Sykes after the Tigers ran away from Houston 42-27 in a Region 7-6A match on Friday at Houston.
The Tigers don’t seem to mind.
“It will be all right. It makes you better,” said Arlington wide receiver and punter Hunter Goodman, who caught his first touchdown of the season, a 28-yard pass from Tate Kolwyck, in the second quarter.
Kolwyck ran all over the field, completing 22 of 28 passes for 341 yards, throwing five touchdowns and rushing for 27 yards to help Arlington get to 1-0 in the region, 2-1 overall and continuing to erase the memory of a 36-35 season opening overtime loss to Raleigh-Egypt.
“I’m still mad about Raleigh-Egypt. Everybody is still mad but we are pushing through,” said Kolwyck.
“This gave us a bunch a confidence and momentum. It was good our offense started clicking and getting into rhythm and showing signs that we can do what we want. We are still not playing clean all the way but it’s going to happen. I think they focused more on the run and to hit them behind on throws and hit them hard opened up the run more. Kenneth Walker just show showed strong he was. He just opened everything up.
“It shows that we can be one of the best teams in the state if we come out every night like that.”
Walker rushed for 129 yards of Arlington’s 166 yards on 15 carries and scored two touchdowns. He caught a 38-yard pass from Kolwyck to get the Tigers’ first TD which came with 11:49 left in the second quarter.
Leading 21-14 at halftime, Arlington opened up the game more in the third quarter when Kolwyck threw a touchdown to Devin Chandler for 56 yards with 10:37 left to make it 28-14 and then Walker ran 49 yards for a touchdown with 7:43 left for a 35-14 lead.
“That was big. We did it quick and put the dagger in them,” said Kolwyck, who threw a 9-yard touchdown pass to Chandler for a 42-17 lead with 3:12 left in the third.
Chandler finished with a game-high 156 yards on nine receptions and three touchdowns while Kenneth Walker III caught two passes for 58 yards, Hunter Goodman five for 56 yards, Jorge Avalos three for 46 yards and Caleb Nelson three for 39.
“It’s great to have great attributes like that. It’s easy for me to just hand it to everybody and let them do all the work,” said Kolwyck.
Sykes said, “Tate played well. He struggled a little bit with accuracy his first two games. Some were his fault. Some weren’t. We had some dropped balls the first couple of games. Tonight he was throwing like we wanted him to and he was making some good decisions with the ball and not making mistakes which is what we try to tell him. If something is not there, throw it away. He did a good job with that tonight. He ran our offense well.”
Arlington had 507 yards total offense.
Houston head coach Will Hudgens said, “Tate is an unbelievable player. There is a reason he is a four-year starter. You don’t get experience like that very often. When you do and get a guy that talented with that much experience it’s a burden to you. If you give Tate a little bit of time and you are off one of those receivers, they do a tremendous job of getting open and Tate will pick you apart. He did that tonight. He played very well. It was tough. You want to try to dictate the pace when you play Arlington.
“If you get in a run and gun shoot out with them they have plenty of weapons and do a really, really good job of what they do. Hats off to Arlington. They are a tough team. They had a good game plan from a defensive stand point and offensively.”
The Mustangs (0-1 in Region 7-6A, 1-2 overall) had explosive games from sophomore Grayson Hitt and junior Chris Colebank. Hitt caught six passes for 74 yards. Colebank ran for 159 yards on 21 carries and scored the game’s first touchdown, a 69-yard yard up the middle for a 7-0 lead with 9:39 left in the first quarter. The 76-yard drive took four plays.
“He (Colebank) is a great young man and works his butt off. He has been on our scout-team guy the last two years. He has been beaten up and it was his opportunity and he took advantage of it. We feel like we have a really good young backfield with Chris, with Lincoln (Pare) and with Ethan (Burns) and Seth (McKay),” said Hudgens.
Houston senior Jackson Little said of Colebank, “He can run the ball for sure. Our line was blocking for the running backs. “
Hudgens said, “Lincoln and Chris are our guys right now.”
Pare, a sophomore, gained 23 yards on four carries and had eight catches for 59 yards. Pierce Farlow had three catches for 25 yards and Darby Smith one catch for 12 yards. Burns and McKay, both sophomore quarterbacks, led Houston to 312 yards total offense (142 rushing, 170 passing).
“I think they do a great job just being sophomores. I think there is more for them to build off of because they are so young, they are hungry and they compete with one another in practice,” said senior Trey Davis of Burns and McKay. “They did a good job of commanding the offense tonight. Get rid of the mistakes that we made and we will be in the ball game.
“I like the way the kid worked his tail off,” said Davis of Hitt. “I see it every day in practice. I liked what he brought to the table. I was excited for him. We are a younger team on offense. If we as seniors can help the younger players in any way possible to bring their confidence up that is always good. They know their abilities and what they can do.”
Hudgens said that Hitt is “another guy that we are going to find some ways to get the ball to more often and let him do some work for us. We have a very optimistic outlook. We are a young team and growing each week. We are going to make mistakes. We just have to ride that wave and get some momentum. I told them after, ‘Now is the time you have got to come close with each other and don’t turn on each other. The football will bounce our way sooner or later.’”
The bond among the Mustangs is strong, said Little.
“We have got a bond I have never had with other teammates going through high school. I have never had that good of a bond with all my boys.”
Shane Ptacek said, “We can rely on each other no matter what.”
Davis added, “Keep your head up. Every team goes through a tough time. It’s about brotherhood and at the end of the day, no matter how tough it is, you have to band together through wins and losses and stay strong together.”
Hudgens thought the pace of the first half played in the Mustangs’ favor.
After Colebank’s touchdown, Emmanuel Chi kicked his first of two PATs. One of the highlights for Houston came in the first quarter when punter Nick Anewalt kicked a 53-yard punt from his 11-yard line to the Tigers’ 18. For the game Anewalt averaged 46.4 yards per punt with his longest 64 yards. Anewalt followed his 53-yarder with a 43-yard punt when the Mustangs were facing a fourth and eight at their 37-yard line.
During the drive Arlington’s Ethan Asher had a 10-yard sack of Burns.
With the Tigers on their 22, they scored on a 78-yard drive highlighted by a 20-yard pass from Kolwyck to Chandler. Kolwyck’s screen pass to Walker went for a 38-yard touchdown and placekicker Conner Ford tied the game at 7.
Houston fumbled on its next possession and Goodman recovered at the Mustangs 28-yard line. The next play Kolwyck threw a touchdown pass to Goodman. Ford gave the Tigers a 14-7 lead with 10:52 left in the first half.
“I was at the right place at the right time and picked it up,” said Goodman, who averaged 34.5 yards on two punts. His first TD of the season “was good. It was nice. It felt good. I am just glad the line gave Tate time to find the open man.”
Sykes said, “Hunter hasn’t had a breakout game the first two games so tonight it was good for him to get that first touchdown. That way he can star rolling like he did last year and make some good plays. He is going to be fine. He is a guy who we depend on offensively. He knows that we need big nights from him every Friday night to be successful. “
With a sensational catch by Hitt on a pass from Burns, the Mustangs later got to their 43-yard line. A 10-yard run by Burns got to the Arlington 33 and from there Burns threw a touchdown pass to Hitt with 7:11 left in the second quarter. Chi tied it at 14.
A 16-yard run by Walker to the Houston 29-yard line after Kolwyck threw a first down pass to Chandler set up the Tigers’ touchdown that would give them a lead they would never lose. Kolwyck’s 29-yard touchdown pass to Chandler made it 20-14. Ford made it 21-14 with 4:26 left in the first half.
“We keep getting off to slow starts but our guys stay the course and they run what we ask them to run and played their tails off the whole game,” said Sykes. “We saw a few things offensively that we could try to exploit on them and our offensive line did a great job opening holes for the running backs and the running backs made some good cuts. When the running game gets going it opens up our passing game which we need to be successful.”
The Mustangs tried to cut the 21-14 deficit in the second quarter when Chi attempted a 40-yard field goal but missed. By halftime Kolwyck had 196 yards passing. Arlington had 277 yards total offense while Houston had 199.
“We were up 21-14, we kept stepping on the gas,” said Goodman.
Opening the second half, Arlington took a 28-14 lead after an 80-yard drive. Kolwyck’s 24-yard pass to Avalos put the Tigers on their 44 before Kolwyck threw to Chandler for a 56-yard touchdown with 10:37 left in the third quarter and a 28-14 lead.
Later, Calvin Robertson had a 7-yard sack of Burns at the Houston 43. On Arlington’s next possession, Walker ran 49 yards with 7:43 left for a 35-14 lead. Ford kicked the PAT. Arlington had 441 yards of offense by then.
‘Kenneth is a real good running back. We knew that the linemen did a great job of giving him some looks and when he sees the crease he is going to hit it full speed. When he is in the open field I don’t think anybody around this area is going to do it better,” said Sykes.
Chi’s 47-yard field goal pulled Houston to within 35-17 with 4:50 left in the third.
“We were strong coming out,” said Little. “We didn’t lay down. It seemed like we didn’t keep the drive going when they got it to 35-17. They broke it out. You always win from losing. We have got to come back and grind harder on Monday and do what we have got to do.”
Kolwyck to Chandler struck again as Arlington had back-to-back 21 point quarters. Chandler scored on a 9-yard touchdown pass with 3:12 left in the third quarter for a 42-17 lead. A 16-yard pass from Kolwyck to Avalos and a 27-yard pass from Kolwyck to Nelson fueled the drive.
Houson’s leading unassisted tackler with five (three assisted), Ptacek said, “We played pretty well throughout the game. We had too many plays (on us). We made too many mistakes and too many penalties. They came out ready in the second half. It took us awhile to get going in the second half. The deep pass plays and long runs hurt us the most. You can always build from a loss.”
Houston fumbled four times losing two and was penalized 10 times for 89 yards. Arlington fumbled once but recovered it and had five penalties for 28 yards.
In the fourth quarter, McKay had a 23-yard run to the Arlington 36 but the Mustangs fumbled at the 29-yard line.
Arlington was on its 44-yard line after Little made two tackles in the drive. Goodman was about to punt when the snap sailed over his head and Goodman was tackled in the end zone for a safety with 5:37 to play.
Trailing 42-19, Houston scored with 13 seconds left in the game when McKay hit Smith with a 12-yard pass. Pare ran the 2-point conversion to cut the deficit to 42-27.
Kolwyck said that Arlington’s defense “played crazy tonight.”
Cezzane Bush had 12 tackles including 10 solo and two assisted. Logan Feathers had eight (six solo), Robertson five solos, Asher four solos and one assisted. Mitchell Faulkner had five tackles, Thomas Maclin four, Nelson three, Goodman three. Arlington had six tackles for losses and four sacks for 30 lost yardage.
For Houston, Jacob Christofferson had 10 tackles with four solos. Little had five tackles with four assisted. Bruce Brown had four assisted tackles and two unassisted.
“The biggest thing we are 1-0 in the region. This year with the playoff system the way it is not everybody makes it so you have to be top four. That was a big steppingstone for us,” said Sykes. “I am glad the way our defense played. A couple of times the offense put them in bad situations. I went for it on fourth down and didn’t get it and then the punt snap over the head. The defense bowed their neck and kept them out of the end zone and that is huge. They are moving forward with their confidence. Sometimes in a game they are going to have their backs against the wall and we will have to make plays, and they did tonight.”
On Thursday nights, seniors meet at different players home on Thursday for dinner.
“We are a close-knit group and we love each other and we are great friends,” said Goodman. “I hope we come back and keep getting better and take this momentum into next week’s game.” Arliington hosts Southwind at 7 p.m. this Friday.
Hudgens said that his team will work on fundamentals in practice this week, preparing for a 7 p.m. game at Bolton on Friday.
Hudgens said, “Defensively, we put ourselves in some bad spots and we can’t do that.”
He was pleased that Matt Needham stepped in for Kip Frankland who had an injured ankle. “He did a really good job of fighting and giving us great effort up front.”
The Mustangs still have their goals.
“I would like to take my team to state. That has always been a goal of mine,” said Davis. “My senior year I will do whatever is in my power. I will play whatever position I need to and do whatever the team asks of me as a team player and hopefully hold up that gold ball and get a ring.”
BILL SORRELL is a freelance writer for The Bartlett Express and other Journal West 10 Media LLC publications. Contact him at email@example.com.