BELLAIRE- A lack of offensive rhythm was too much to overcome as the Bellaire Episcopal Knights defeated the Navasota Rattlers 28-3 in the season-opener.
Episcopal (1-0) scored twice in the opening-half on a 2-yard run by Joaquin Marion in the first quarter and on an Arden Napier 18-yard reception from Nick Mayberry. Drake Bastia completed both scores with the point-after.
Navasota junior kicker Miguel Alvarado nailed a 44-yard field with 3:29 left in the first half for the Rattlers lone score.
“We never found our rhythm early in the game and put ourselves in some holes and behind the chains and when you do that against a team like Episcopal, you’re going to struggle,” explained Navasota head coach Casey Dacus. “We have to do a better job on first and second down to give ourselves a third and manageable and not be behind the chains and I felt we played too many downs behind the chains.”
Marion scored his second touchdown on the night with 14 seconds remaining before halftime escaping for a 21-yard run to give the Knights a 21-3 lead.
The Rattler defense held Episcopal scoreless in the third quarter. “I thought their effort was tremendous,” said Dacus of his defense. “Like I told the kids in game one you’re not expected to be perfect. We made lots of mistakes. A lot of things we’re going to see on film that we are going to need to clean up and correct, but the one thing I’m proud about is the effort from our kids. They competed their tails off. Offensively, we didn’t do a good job of executing but defensively we competed our tails off.”
Mayberry connected with Ethan Tuckwood for a 6-yard strike for the game’s final score in the fourth.
Episcopal gained 358 yards on offense and limited the Rattlers to 122.
Zack Dyer was 4-for-17 passing for 36 yards, and one interception.
Navasota had a new coach leading the defensive charge for Navasota. Michael Nichols replaced Jason Davis as defensive coordinator and Nichols son Zack is also a coach for the Rattlers. “I’m having a great time being back on the field especially with my boys,” said Nichols. His son Aaron Nichols plays football for Navasota as well.
“We’ re installing a completely new defense and the kids have bought into it and have worked hard. Their doing everything we ask, were going to make mistakes like we did more in the first half than the second half. I thought they did a great job adjusting in the second half.”
Bellaire Episcopal plays at Sam Rayburn Friday, Sept. 6, at 7 p.m. and Navasota hosts the Sealy Tigers Friday at 7 p.m.