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Two steps forward, one step back

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  • Article Image Alt Text
    Navasota quarterback Ja’Mar Jessie dives across the goal line in the Rattlers 38-14 loss to the Mexia Black Cats Friday, Sept. 11. Examiner photos by Erica Grifaldo
  • Article Image Alt Text
    The Navasota Diamonettes led by Nichole Phillips perform during halftime at the Rattler football game against Mexia Friday, Sept. 11.
  • Article Image Alt Text
    A Mexia ball carrier is brought down by a host of Rattlers. Mexia defeated previously unbeaten Navasota.

If the Navasota Rattlers were in a dance competition, taking two steps forward and one step back might be the winning routine but in the game of football it simply means the Rattlers 2-0 start to the season drops to 2-1 with a loss to the Mexia Black Cats 38-14.

Navasota (2-1) started how they wanted receiving the opening-kick and marching into Mexia territory. A Rattler penalty turned a third-and-short into a third-and-long play. Navasota quarterback Ja’Mar Jessie scrambled to evade pressure from the Black Cat defense, but he was hit as he attempted to make a pass downfield and his pass was picked off.

Mexia (1-2) capitalized on the turnover capped by a Lemarion Miller 6-yard run. Gustavo Martinez converted the point-after. Martinez added another score on the first play of the second quarter, splitting the uprights with a 31-yard field goal to give Mexia a 10-0 lead.

Navasota responded with a 10-yard dive across the goal line from Jessie. Miguel Alvarado booted in the extra-point to bring the Rattlers the closest they would be on the night. As Mexia’s offense exploded for a big score in the second quarter and two more in the third.

The first was Miller’s second of the night, this one from 45 yards out. Jerrell Wiley ran in the conversion. Trey Holdman caught two huge passes from Miller in the third quarter, one for 71 yards and the other 26 yards. One of the extra-points was missed and the Black Cats held onto a 31-7 advantage.

“We got beat in every phase, make no mistake about it. That was a thorough loss for us,” stated Navasota Head Coach Casey Dacus. “We took a big step back this week and it’s disappointing because we played so well the last two weeks. I don’t know if success got to us, but we have to go back to the drawing board and clean some things up.”

Navasota Running back Darius Randle provided the Rattlers biggest play of the game with a 71-yard run in the fourth. A successful kick by Alvarado capped the Rattlers scoring at 14. Randle had 14 carries for 130 yards to go with his touchdown. He also caught five passes for 53 yards.

Mexia finalized the score 38-14, on a 39-yard run and successful conversion kick.

“Tomorrow is a new day and we’re all emotional because it’s an emotional game. It’s hard when you invest the kind of time we invest – not just the players but the coaches – it’s hard to get beat the way we did tonight,” explained Dacus. “I think because we are a young football team and we beat Sealy in Sealy last week, we thought we were just going to roll out there this week and take care of business. It doesn’t work that way. This is a learning experience for our guys. A lot of them have never been through this before. We faced a little adversity with injuries. Some key guys got hurt and we had to overcome that. We weren’t mature enough to quite get over that hump just yet. Good news is we’re young and are going to get better from this.”

Navasota hosts the Hargrave Falcons for homecoming Friday, Sept. 18, at 7:30 p.m. Mexia hosts Salado the same date and time.