GERONIMO – Navarro capitalized on a pair of firsthalf turnovers and used a potent rushing attack to power past Navasota 34-8, avenging last year’s loss.
Each team exchanged punts to begin the game, before Navasota turned the ball over on an interception. Chris Thompson plugged the hole on a third-and-1 play to force a fourth-and-2 at the Rattler 47-yard line. The Panthers rushed for 6 yards to pick up the first down. Navarro turned the turnover into points on a 6-yard run by Antwoin Mebane with 10:41 remaining before halftime. The kick hit the uprights Navasota turned the ball over on downs on the ensuing drive but recovered a Panther fumble at the Navarro 31-yard line on the next play. Jamall Thomas tied the game on a 4-yard run. The Rattlers took an 8-6 lead on Minor’s conversion run.
The Panthers answered, scoring twice to end the half. The first was a 37-yard run. Navarro recovered an onside kick on the ensuing kickoff. Samuel Sneed connected on a 32-yard field goal as time expired to take a 17-8 lead into halftime.
Navasota attempted an onside kick out of the gate but was called for two personal fouls — one for hitting a defenseless player. The penalties gave the Panthers great field position at the Rattler 21-yard line. Thompson made another huge stop for no gain on a third-and 6 play. Mebane converted the fourth down with a 9-yard run.
Navarro scored two touchdowns in the quarter and added a 30-yard field goal in the fourth to finalize the scoring.
Thompson had 13 tackles for Navasota including a tackle for loss. “There is obviously a lot of things we have to fix tonight, but Chris Thompson played well,” said Navasota Head Coach Casey Dacus. “He made lots of plays and seemed to always be around the ball. We can definitely build on that.”
Dacus said he is disappointed in the way his team handled adversity. “The thing I am most disappointed in is we talk all the time about adversity and having to handle adversity. And we didn’t do a very good job tonight of handling adversity. We kind of let it snowball on us, and it went downhill, and we couldn’t get it stopped.”
There were several plays that didn’t go the Rattler’s way including a pass that hit an official downfield and into the hands of the defense for an interception. Dacus said his team can’t let the wheels fall off. “We have to find a way to put a stop to it – dig our heels in the ground and say that’s enough. Get to the next play.”
Dacus said they have an older mature group of players who he has a lot of confidence in. “We have a chance to learn a valuable lesson, move forward and see if we can’t apply it next week.”
Navasota (0-1) continues its tough non district schedule Sept. 1, in the home-opener against the Madisonville Mustangs (10). Three of the four non district opponents for the Rattlers went at least three rounds deep in the playoffs last year.
Kickoff is slated for 7 p.m. First responders will be honored prior to kickoff.