If you like watching exciting football, the Wildcats (0-2) have delivered mightily in their first two games. Unfortunately, scoring 33 points and 35 points still leave the Wildcat squad looking for their first win. Elgin showed the East View Patriots (1-2) that they truly belonged on the field, but when it counted, the Patriots made the plays to win the contest.
When the Wildcats first started playing these bigger schools from Round Rock, Georgetown and Leander, we were often obviously out-classed physically by these squads. That rarely happens anymore. This group of young men representing Elgin have competed well in recent years against much bigger schools’ athletes. They have gumption and spirit and will knock heads with whoever is on the other side. But what has not happened enough is the main ingredient to the whole thing: finish the game. I know the coaches, players and fans know the team is close…real close. But until the defense makes that stand to save the win, or the offense makes that long drive in the last couple of minutes to take the win, it will continue to be an “exciting but…” type of game.
The Wildcat trio of quarterback Peter McFarlin, running back Lyndon Rangel and receiver Trey I’som again showed why they are a force that will keep defensive coordinators up at night trying to figure out a way to stop the Elgin train. In this game, Rangel scored three times and finished with 123 yards rushing, for a total of five rushing touchdowns through the first two games. McFarlin scored a rushing touchdown and threw for another, making a total of three rushing and one passing scores through two games. I’som contributed 69 yards rushing and caught a 38-yard pass for a score. Kirgan added another 26 yards receiving to the offensive totals.
The offensive line continuously opened holes for the backs and helped several long drives end in success and scores. I was impressed with the tenacity of their blocks, keeping on top of the defenders until the whistle blew the play over. Abdias Castillo, Elias Tamez, Avian Veals and Wesley Harkins and the rest of the line fought hard all night to advance the offensive cause.
In a controversial call, Elgin’s award winning linebacker Willie Simmons was disqualified from the game after the very first offensive Patriot play. This affected the rest of the game, helping East View gash the ‘Cats defense for 326 rushing yards. Patriot running backs Quinton-Jackson and Huerta ran wild through the Elgin efforts to slow down the Patriots, especially in the second half. East View found they could run around their left end with pitchouts and reverses and make big yardage with impunity. At one point, they ran the same play four times in a row until they scored. They exploited this weakness time and time again in the second half. The Patriots also took advantage of great field position from the Wildcat kickoffs, as Elgin pooch kicks consistently gave them starting positions of their own 40-yard line to midfield to start their drives.
Yet even with this East View explosion, Elgin was in the game until the very end. With less than two minutes left, Braylon Owens forced a Patriot fumble and I’som fell on the ball on the East View 32-yard line. Unfortunately, two plays later, the Wildcat pass was intercepted in the end zone. Game over. It was exciting, but…
Head Coach Jens Anderson stated he was very proud of how the kids played in the face of adversity. He felt the early disqualification was in error and has provided films of the ejection and it seems the call was in error by the referee. There was another ejection later in the game. But Anderson agrees that calls are part of the game and there is still a contest to play. He was pleased with the offense but feels there is work to do in the perimeter blocking and pass blocking. Anderson added there is still a lot work in the passing game to accomplish, specifically in running the right routes and the depth of the routes run.
Defensively, he felt the 'Cats missed some tackles that allowed the Patriots’ long runs to be successful. He was pleased with the secondary holding East View well below their passing attack average. He added the kicking game is improving but will execute at a higher level as the season rolls on.
Elgin takes on a tough Cedar Creek (1-2) team on Friday, October 16, at 7 p.m. at Wildcat Stadium. The Eagles defeated Pflugerville Connally 20-13 last week.