Roughriders slip by Gladewater, 41-40

UP NEXT: Tyler Chapel Hill — “Tyler Chapel Hill is extremely skilled. They have a great quarterback and a great running back and are extremely athletic in the skilled positions both offensively and defensively.”
“We're excited about where we are and are hoping to build upon that as we move forward.” — Head Coach Scott Ponder

The Center Roughriders had a big second half comeback to edge out the Gladewater Bears, 41-40, Friday night at Roughrider Stadium in a game which could have notched a victory for either team right down to the wire.

While the Riders set the stage for an outstanding rushing night by senior KeAmodre “Redd” Horace at the 10:21 mark in the first quarter, the lead was short lived. Horace took a handoff from quarterback Jake Hanson from mid-field and eluded Bears defenders at the line and them outran them to the goal line.

But Gladewater scored at the 5:06 point of the quarter had a 1-point advantage at the end of the period. They scored and followed that with a successful 2-point conversion.

The Bears came back early in the second period as Triston Holmes held on for a quarterback keeper to put they ahead at the 9:42 point. Gladewater again went for a 2-point conversion, but this attempt was not successful and they led 14-7.

The Bears extended that lead about half way through the second quarter followed by a successful point after kick to put them up, 20-7, with 6:16 to play in the first half.
The Roughriders came back with their owning scoring play about two minutes later when Hanson hit Markel Johnson, who had a Bears defender on his back, in the end zone from about 15 yards out.

Gladewater took that 20-14 advantage to the locker room at halftime.

But Center capitalized on a Bears' turnover early in the third quarter to tie things up, 20-20, after the PAT field goal did not make it through the goalposts. The Center defense held Gladewater scoreless in the third period while the Riders finished the quarter in a big way.

The Roughriders came back with less than a minute left in the third quarter on a 90-yard run by Horace to put Center up, 27-20.

But the Bears were not to give up and got on the board again in the fourth to take a 27-26 lead. Gladewater advanced their lead when they blocked a Center punt in the fourth with another score, 34-27.

The running and dodging ability of Horace came through for the Center offense in a big way in the final period.

With 6:25 left in the game Horace tied things up again, 34-34. But the Bears took the next Riders' kickoff on a D.J. Allen run down to the 5-yard line,. That set up a Triston Holmes TD putting Gladewater up 40-34.

Horace scored his third TD of the second half with 4:49 to play to give the Roughriders a 40-40. Center's clutch PAT was good, putting them up 41-40.

Horace scored twice in the fourth quarter as the Roughriders overcame two big special teams plays by the Bears to move to 2-1 on the year. Gladewater drops to 1-2.

For Roughriders' fans, it was an exciting game. Perhaps a little too exciting for Scott Ponder, and the Riders' coaching staff.

Coach commentary

“I'd rather it not be quite that exciting,” Ponder said. “It was a huge victory for us, our kids played great and our coaches did a great job of preparing a game plan and preparing the kids. Then they went out and really executed the things we wanted them to do by the letter.”

Defensively, the Roughriders changed things up a bit.

“There were a lot of adjustments and a lot of curve balls with slight, subtle adjustments we did,” he said. “Those were key in the victory. The defensive staff, Coach Munoz, Coach Hagler, Coach Harrison, Coach Harrison and Coach Carver did a great job of getting them all to play together.”

Adjustments throughout the course of the game helped throw off the Bears offense.

“Some of that resulted in some big stops with Jake Liker coming up with blocks and one-on-one tackles on their All-State running back from last year,” Ponder said. “That was a key in the win.”

Offensively, the Riders line and blockers were able to open holes for Center's senior running back KeAmodre “Redd” Horace, he said.

“They created the space for KeAmodre to run the ball and then KeAmodre just doing what he does in being a great football player,” Ponder said.

There were a lot of key factors involved,” he said. “There were a lot of good things and a lot of hard work coming to fruition. The boys played extremely well and we were extremely proud of our effort.”

Ponder said Gladewater was a top 10 team last year, in the semi-finals, with a legitimate chance of making it to the state playoffs at AT&T Stadium.

“Anytime you beat a crew like that you've got to feel good about yourself,” he said. “We're excited about where we are and are hoping to build upon that as we move forward.”

Looking toward this Friday's 7:30 p.m., kickoff at Roughrider Stadium, Ponder said the Riders have another big challenge in their way for notching another mark in the win column of their season.

“Tyler Chapel Hill is extremely skilled,” he said. “They have a great quarterback and a great running back and are extremely athletic in the skilled positions both offensively and defensively.”

The Roughriders will have to show up ready to play their A Game.

“This going to be a game where you're not going to out-athlete Tyler Chapel Hill by any means,” Ponder said. “We're going to have to go out and play great on both the offensive and defensive lines.

“We need to prove that we're stronger, bigger and have more depth than they have,” he said. “We need to go out and play well on the lines. If we do that we'll have an opportunity to have success on Friday night.”

Ponder said Center cannot go into the game thinking a win will be a cinch.

“They're really gifted,” he said. Chapel Hill beat Terrell, 51-42, Friday night. On Sept. 4, they defeated Kaufman, 38-33, and Chapel Hill took a 65-33 victory over Splendora on Aug. 28.

Friday's game is the Roughriders' homecoming game.

“That's always very exciting for the kids, the fans, the school and the community and we're very excited about doing our part,” Ponder said.

For more photos from last week's game, please visit: https://www.smugmug.com/app/organize/Center-Roughriders-edge-out-Gladewater-41-40

Score by quarter

Team            1st.       2nd       3rd.     4th      Final

Center.          7          12          13        14       41

Gladewater  8          12            0         20       40

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