For a half of football, the “Big Blue Train” appeared to be back on track, but turnovers derailed the Navasota Rattlers attempt to pick up its first win of the season falling to the Rudder Rangers 41-24.
Navasota (0-3) struck first and struck fast in the opening quarter displaying big-play threats. Zack Dyer connected with La’Darrin Thomas for 27 yards and the first touchdown of the season for the Rattlers. Miguel Alvarado who provided the only offense for Navasota in the first two games with a field goal, booted in the point-after to give the Rattlers a 7-0 lead.
Kris Kindt booted a 33-yard field goal through the uprights for the Rangers lone score of the half.
Dyer helped the Rattlers score twice more before halftime, on a 76-yard pass to Tavarus Baker, and a 1-yard run. Dyer finished his night 6-of-17 passing for 190 yards and 2 touchdowns. Baker caught two passes for 107 yards.
Navasota came out lackluster in the second half holding onto a 21-3 lead. Three third quarter turnovers opened the door for the Rangers to mount the comeback.
“We did lots of good things in the first half and I was really proud of our kids,” explained Navasota head coach Casey Dacus. “We struggled the last two games offensively and I thought we looked a lot better and got on track in the first half. I’m not sure if we came out too relaxed in the second half but we’re going to have to review film and see where we made mistakes.”
The Rattler defense held tight on the first two turnovers limiting Rudder to a Kindt 25-yard field goal. Navasota marched down the field and Alvarado returned the favor with a 28-yard field goal for the Rattlers.
“We can’t turn the ball over and expect to win,” stated Dacus. “We have to learn how to close out the game when we have a lead and not allow them to get back into the game with costly turnovers.”
Rudder reeled off two touchdowns to end the quarter and five unanswered touchdowns to end the game. The third quarter scoring consisted of a 3-yard run by James Ayers and a 69-yard bomb from EJ Ezar to Keithron Lee.
Ezar punched a score in from a yard out in the final quarter and connected with Lee for a 30-yard pass with a Lee 3-yard touchdown run sandwiched in between.
Ezar was 10-of-17 passing for 214 yards and 2 touchdowns. He also rushed for 34 yards on 12 carries and had a touchdown.
Lee caught three passes for 116 yards and a touchdown and rushed for 44 yards and a touchdown on seven carries.
Rudder has a bye week before beginning District 10-5A play in Montgomery Sept. 27. Navasota has its final non district tune up in Madisonville Friday, Sept. 20, at 7:30 p.m. against the Mustangs.