Spring tops Dekaney in first meeting

QB Kenric McNeal

After being trounced by Tomball – a team currently found residing in the next-to-last spot in the district 13-5A standings – and losing senior QB Kenric McNeal all in last week's contest, the Spring Lions (13-5A, 3-1 overall, 1-1 district) were looking for a win. While intra-district rival Dekaney showed some spark and flashes of promise, the Lions easily overtook 35-0 the Wildcats Friday.

After being trounced by Tomball – a team currently found residing in the next-to-last spot in the district 13-5A standings – and losing senior QB Kenric McNeal all in last week's contest, the Spring Lions (13-5A, 3-1 overall, 1-1 district) were looking for a win. While intra-district rival Dekaney showed some spark and flashes of promise, the Lions easily overtook 35-0 the Wildcats Friday, October 3, at Leonard George Stadium.

This was the second loss in a row that Dekaney suffered blowouts at the hands of its district mates, following an ugly 52-7 loss to Westfield the previous week.

Although the Wildcats are still seeking their first win of their inaugural season, fans should take heart for a few reasons. Offensively, junior HB Cordarrel Sweeney and sophomore WR Greg Livingston should offer some hope. Both athletes rank among 13-5A's top 10 in yards rushing and receiving, respectively, and generally do everything they can to provide quarterbacks Keenan Atilee and Anthony Joyce with options. And despite last week's horrific loss to Westfield, the defense seems to be gelling nicely; in fact, despite the offense not seeing much of the field, Dekaney's defense has given up only 1113 yards this season, good enough to be ranked fifth of ninth in a district brimming with cutthroat D. When considering they're comprised of underclassmen and playing in one of the toughest districts in the state, that's a huge accomplishment for the young Wildcats.

In McNeal's place, senior QB Roman Johnson, who hasn't seen many snaps since McNeal took over the position last season, proved himself to be a capable, steady quarterback, leading the Lion offense down the field and into the red twice in the first quarter, albeit with mixed results. From early on and throughout the game, Johnson partnered with junior running back Corey Phillips, proving himself to be a tremendous stand-out talent, even in an offense peppered with stars like fellow junior RB Darel Haynes and senior WRs Dakota Dill and Josh Rowe, throughout the game. Phillips ended the night with 122 yards rushing and two touchdowns. On their first trip down the field, after Johnson failed to complete a pass in the endzone to Phillips, junior K Brian Baich took the field to attempt a 26-yard field goal. It was no good and, coupled with the missed PAT that cost the Lions the game against Tomball, was enough to for him to cost him his job. Stagg replaced him, going five-for-five on the night. Less than 10 minutes later, Haynes scored the first touchdown of the game off a one-yard run, making the score 7-0 with 1:08 to play in the first quarter.

Johnson, who eventually went 9-for-12 on the night, was just getting his offense warmed up. Following a smart 16-yard pass to Rowe – who really makes every catch look easy – Johnson sailed a 38-yard pass through the air to junior WR Arthur Londy for a dazzling touchdown with about eight minutes to go in the half, making the score 14-0.

Unfortunately for the Wildcats, that wasn't the last action their endzone saw in the first half. Phillips scurried to run the ball in one yard to run the score up to 21-0 with less than five minutes to go.

As they have all year, Dekaney struggled offensively, often turning over on downs or fumbling away the ball. That night, the young quarterbacks were unable to put together many long drives, but junior RB Elijah Johnson had a strong third quarter, contributing several good runs, and eventually going 9-for-64 for the night.

It didn't take long for the Lions to find the scoreboard after halftime, and they scored twice in the third quarter. Out of the shotgun, Johnson connected with Londy again in the endzone. Phillips later contributed one more one-yard touchdown in the last score of the game, making the final score 35-0.

Friday, Oct. 10, at 7:30 p.m., Spring takes on Klein Collins (13-5A, 3-1 overall, 1-1 district) at Klein Memorial Stadium. Klein Forest (13-5A, 3-1 overall, 1-1 district) visits Dekaney at Leonard George Stadium Sat., Oct. 11, at 4 p.m.

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