Rice Ousts Eagles from Playoffs
The Rice Raiders beat the Lexington Eagles 21-11 Friday night in Navasota to eliminate the Eagles from the 2009 Class 2A state playoffs. This was the second time Rice defeated the Eagles this season. Lexington ends the 2009 season with a 6-5 record.
Rice took the opening kick off and marched smartly down the field for the first score of the game. The eighth play of the 71-yard drive was a 43-yard pass to Mario Hull from Myles Dumont. Christian Samaniego toed the first of three PATs.
Lexington took the ensuing kick off and started a march of their own. Lexington ran off eight plays to cover 48-yards before the drive stalled out. A a 25-yard punt put the Raiders deep into their own territory. A 30-yard pass to Hull got the Raiders out of danger and into Lexington land. The Raider drive also stalled and a 32-yard field goal tried. The three-pointer was short and Lexington took over at their 20-yard line.
Lexington put together their best effort of the night. 12-plays later, Mason Vecera toed a 37-yard field goal for the first Eagle points. Lexington used two rushes by Xavier Ward, four rushes by Clint Hutson, and three Kogan Garrett pass completions to move the ball. The balanced offense kept Rice at bay and Lexington was able to move the ball.
The kick off following the field goal allowed Hull to score his second TD of the night. Vecera’s first kick off went out of bounds. Rice exercised their option to have Lexington re-kick. Vecera nailed one of his deep kick that drove Hull back to his 11-yard line. The big receiver ran the ball back to make the score 14-3 Rice.
Lexington fumbled the ball on first down. Garrett passed to Dylan Iselt for 11-yards on second down, but a 13-yard loss on third forced a 33-yard Lexington punt. A couple of Dumont to Hull passes put the Raiders back on the board. The final pass covered 29-yards as Hull scored his third TD of the game, just as he had done earlier in the season in Lexington.
Defensive Coordinator Kirk Muhl made some changes at halftime, effectively taking Hull out of the game the second half. He had a player in front of Hull on the line of scrimmage and usually a Sherrill deeper down the field to help out. With the changes, Rice started to run the ball in the second half. Lexington continued to move the ball against the vaunted Rice defense. After taking the second half kickoff, Lexington moved the ball the first five plays of the half. A tipped pass was snagged by a Rice linebacker before hitting the ground. This gave Rice good field position that resulted in another failed field goal try.
Later in the third quarter, Lexington got it going. Ward rushed three times and Hutson three times. A pass from Garrett to Ward resulted in the lone Eagle touchdown of the night. Ward made a great effort to get the ball across the goal line as he stretched out the ball as he was being tackled.
After another Lexington foray into Rice territory that ended short of the end zone. Rice lost 10 yards on first down. The Rice center sailed the shotgun snap over Dumont’s head and out of the end zone for a safety. Lexington also got the ball in good field position on the free kick following the safety. Another Garrett pass was tipped and intercepted by a Rice lineman in Lexington territory.
Rice ran four plays and turned the ball back to the Eagles. The fourth interception by Rice ended the Eagles effort for the game and season.
Garrett completed 16 of 28 passes for 179 yards in the game. Senior Clint Hutson closed out his Lexington football career with 83 yards on 17 carries. Dylan Iselt caught six passes for 44 yards and Tevin Lovings caught five for 62 yards. Ward caught three passes for 48 yards and the only Eagle score.
As usual, the Sherrill twins led the Eagle defense. Spencer Taylor played especially well the second half as he was one of the main reasons Hull disappeared the second half offensively. Tyler Moerbe made five tackles from his defensive end position. Rice tried to run his end several times with little success.
The entire defense played very well the second half. The holes and pass routes that were open in the first half were missing in the second half.