Homecoming night may be the turnaround the Navasota Rattlers desperately needed heading into District 12-4A play. The Rattlers put together a dominant effort to pick up their first win of the season, 35-7, over the Huffman- Hargrave Falcons.
Hargrave (0-4) drove downfield on their opening drive but were forced to attempt a field goal. Jarrad Isaiah made his way into the backfield and blocked the kick. Chris Hickmon picked up the loose ball in stride and scampered 69 yards for the score. Juan Vargas booted in the point-after.
“Our coach does a tremendous job,” said Hickmon. “We use one side as a block and one side as a scoop and score and a safety blanket.”
Hickmon said he has a lot of experience picking up balls off the bounce, which he credits to the coaching staff. “It was really a good job coaching- wise,” he said. “They really do teach us a lot in practice. We have a 15-minute period in the morning where they throw balls at the ground and it bounces up.” Because of that drill, Hickmon said, “I was able to run in stride, catch the ball and be at full speed as I was catching the ball.”
Navasota Head Coach Casey Dacus said he was frustrated when the Falcons drove into the red zone on the opening drive of the game because the defense has generally started off good. “But we atoned for it by blocking the kick and scoring on the other end,” he said. “For an offense to not even be on the field yet and already have a 7-0 lead, that is very comforting for our offensive guys and I think that helped our guys settle in a little and relax.”
Jamall Thomas capped the Rattler’s first scoring drive with a 1-yard run. Vargas split the uprights to give Navasota a 14-0 lead with 41 seconds remaining in the quarter.
The Rattlers scored twice more before halftime. Following a forced fumble, quarterback Javyn Jessie carried it in from 4-yards out. Jessie then connected with Markerian Wesley-Stamps for a 19-yard score.
“I thought this was our best night by a long way,” said Dacus. “I thought last week we did some good stuff, and Javyn did some good stuff with his legs. We talked all week about how he has to do that for us to be successful moving forward. He is starting to realize his legs are a weapon which forces teams to play honest and that is going to help us down the road.”
At halftime all eyes were on the newly crowned Homecoming Queen, Jamiyah Thomas. She was escorted by Da’Corei Jackson.
Daquan Pratt got involved in the offense with a breakout night. He scored on a 37-yard pass from Jessie to begin the third quarter.
Hargrave finalized the scoring on a 2-yard run late in the fourth quarter.
“Going into district this is what we need,” said Hickmon. “It doesn’t take a lot to get Navasota going and this right here hopefully sends a message out to them. And if this doesn’t, hopefully next week will.”
Navasota (1-3) begins district play Friday, Sept. 22, at El Campo (2-2). Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. Hargrave plays at Columbus.