NAVASOTA – Madisonville capitalized on Navasota’s second quarter miscues to take the lead and defeat the Rattlers in their home-opener, 26-16.
Navasota (0-2) controlled the first quarter putting together a lengthy opening drive that chewed up over six minutes capped by Jamall Thomas’s second rushing touchdown of the season, this one good for four yards. Hudson Minor punched in the conversion to give Navasota an 8-0 lead.
“I felt like there were a couple instances where we had them [Navasota] stopped, but we let them out of the bag as I call it,” said Madisonville Head Coach Russel Urbantke. “We just had to sure some of those things up after that first drive. They [Navasota] did an awesome job driving down the field and moving the ball on our defense. Offensively I talked to our guys about how we have to respond.”
Navasota won the rivalry matchup 27-21 in overtime at Madisonville last season. “No doubt it means a lot,” said Urbantke about getting redemption for last season’s loss. “It is a rivalry, but they are all friends. And Coach [Casey] Dacus and I we’re best friends. We talk at least once a week. I consider him a great friend and he has a great team. That is the reason I am always up for playing Navasota because I can gauge where we are at.”
Madisonville (2-0) booted a punt deep into Rattler territory forcing Navasota to begin the drive with their heels near the goal line. A miscue on the handoff allowed the Mustangs to corral the Rattlers for a safety less than three minutes into the second quarter.
On the ensuing drive Madisonville capped the drive on a Phillip Green Jr. 2-yard run. Steven Payan booted in the extra point to give the Mustangs a 9-8 lead.
Navasota threatened before halftime, but the drive stalled bringing up a fourthand- long in no man’s land. With under a minute remaining the Rattlers elected to try a trick play instead of attempting a 47-yard field goal.
Receiver Cameron Quezada caught the lateral and attempted a pass downfield, but it was picked off by Lorenzo Johnson and returned for a 65-yard score. Payan tacked on the point after to give the Mustangs a 16-8 halftime lead.
“Right before the half we made a big mistake trying to run a trick play there,” said Dacus. “You know we work it every day and we didn’t get the look we wanted. I wish we would have just thrown it away like we’ve talked about, but we didn’t get that done. Obviously, hindsight being 20/20 I wish we hadn’t done that. I wish we would have run something out base there or tried the long field goal, but it would have been a 47-yarder. We were kind of in no man’s land there so we took a shot and it didn’t work out, so tip your hat to them for making a good play and we have to learn from it.”
After a scoreless fourth, Madisonville extended its lead on a 20-yard field goal off the leg of Payan with 6:28 remaining in the game.
The Rattlers trimmed the lead to three with 2:16 remaining in the game. Javyn Jessie connected with Cameron Ross at the 11-yard line, and Ross took it the rest of the way for a 17-yard touchdown. Navasota was forced to call a timeout to get the correct personnel on the field for the conversion attempt. The conversion was successful, but the timeout was costly leaving only two timeouts remaining with 2:16 left to play.
Madisonville recovered the Rattler onside kick attempt. Jyrin Burns escaped for a 40-yard touchdown run with 32 seconds remaining to finalize the score, 26-16.
“I told the guys after the game, we just made too many mistakes tonight,” said Dacus. “It really doesn’t matter who you play, if you make that many mistakes, you’re going to make it very difficult on yourself to win. And we did that tonight. We made it too hard on ourselves, and against a good team like Madisonville you can’t do that.”
Credit to them [Madisonville],” said Dacus. “They are well coached; they know who they are, and they did a good job of sticking to it. Especially in the second half, they got on track offensively running the ball and keeping it away from us.”
Navasota plays at Bellville, 7 p.m., Friday, Sept. 8. Madisonville travels to Fairfield (0-2) slated for a 7:30 p.m. kickoff.