No coach in his right mind would ever want his team to need 35 yards to pick up a first down, but Marty Herbst looked on as his Waco High team faced that scenario twice in the first half Friday against Bryan Rudder.
Both times, the Lions had just the answer — throw it to Quinn Williams.
The senior receiver ran down the middle of the field unchecked for a 40-yard touchdown on third-and-35 in to open the scoring, and his 60-yard catch and run on first-and-35 set the Lions up for their second touchdown of the game.
The Waco High defense did the rest, forcing three first-half turnovers and five overall, and the Lions shook off a slow start to send the homecoming crowd home happy with a 35-6 victory at Waco ISD Stadium.
“We’ve known from the start we have an explosive offense, and we showed it on those downs,” Herbst said. “You hate to have the holding calls that put you in that position. We know holding is part of the game, but I told the guys at halftime I think we lead North America in holding. That’s something we have to improve on down the road, especially against quality teams.”
Terrance Hamilton rushed for 124 yards and two touchdowns, and Josh Hamilton added a 92-yard sprint to the end zone on his only carry of the night for the Lions (4-2, 1-1 District 18-5A), who rebounded from a disappointing 35-31 loss to A&M Consolidated to open district last week.
Waco High quarterback Jaylen Harris finished with 146 yards and two passing TDs, the second of which came on a 21-yard screen to Randy Carpenter after Wilson’s 60-yard reception to cap a 92-yard march. Harris was intercepted once.
The Rangers (0-5, 0-1) spent most of the night handing off to Kevonte Johnson. The senior running back ran for 172 yards on 35 carries, but lost all three of his fumbles. Rudder picked up next to nothing threw the air. Hunter Dobbins was 2-for-10 for 7 yards and an interception, and Casey Shutt and Felix Conde were both incomplete on their only attempts.
“We had several starters out on defense, and we had some guys starting that usually wouldn’t,” Herbst said. “We knew our opponent tonight pretty well. They ran the ball on us pretty well, but some of that was personnel. Those guys got some experience tonight, got a lot of snaps, and that will help us down the road a little bit.”
Rudder finally got on the board in the fourth quarter, when Isaiah Searcy jumped an out route from Waco High backup quarterback David Moreno and took it back 80 yards for a touchdown on his second interception of the night.
It was only the Rangers’ fourth touchdown of the season, and the first from a player other than Johnson.
“A lot of distractions when you have homecoming and pep rallies and all that, and those are things coaches don’t look forward to having,” Herbst said. “Historically we haven’t performed that well when we have those kinds of distractions, but that’s why you don’t schedule the No. 1 team in the state for homecoming as well.”