Last season, Shallowater carried an undefeated record into its game with Estacado and watched its district championship hopes fade with two straight losses.
What happens next week remains to be seen, but at least for this week, the Mustangs weren’t going to let that happen for a second year in a row.
Despite injuring his left hand in the second quarter, Mustangs junior tailback Jarek Black rushed for 262 yards and two touchdowns, and No. 9 Shallowater scored 10 points off two early Estacado turnovers to exact a measure of revenge in a 30-18 victory Thursday night at Lowrey Field.
“These guys have kicked our tails the last two years, so to get up on them early is a big confidence boost,” Shallowater coach Kyle Maxfield said.
“We were very fortunate to get those turnovers early and get some momentum going.”
The win puts the Mustangs (7-0, 3-0 in 2-3A) in control of the District 2-3A race, at least for a day, after the first two weeks while Estacado drops to 3-4 on the year and 1-1 in district.
The tone of the game was set in the first four minutes when Estacado fumbled the ball twice, giving Shallowater two short scoring drives and a 14-0 lead. The Matadors outscored the Mustangs the rest of the game, but not enough to cut into the lead effectively.
“It’s a big ballgame, we’ve got a lot of young kids and I thought we weren’t settled in early on and had nerves and things like that,” Estacado coach Danny Servance said. “You can’t make mistakes like that against a good football team when both of you are equally as talented. There has to be something that separates the two teams and that’s what it was, the mistakes and turnovers.”
That, and Black.
Black, who came into the game with 1,726 rushing yards and 24 touchdowns, rushed for 144 of his yards after halftime and after he missed part of the second quarter when he injured his left hand at the end of a 29-yard run.
He was tentative the rest of the half, carrying twice for no gain. But after he got the hand wrapped at halftime, he returned to his old self, carrying seven times for 48 yards on a 10-play, 69-yard drive finished off by a10-yard keeper by quarterback Conner Fields.
Black then busted through the middle untouched for a 52-yard touchdown on Shallowater’s next drive, and just like that the Mustangs were up 30-6 with 3:07 left in the third quarter.
“It affected him there for a bit, and the trainers and doctors did a great job of getting him ready to go,” Maxfield said. “And give him some credit for fighting through it. That’s part of him being mature and fighting through some adversity and fighting through the pain. He steps it up every week.”
The game could not have gotten off to a better start for the Mustangs as Black had some big runs early, and Estacado helped out with a pair of turnovers on two of its first three drives. That helped stake Shallowater to a 14-0 lead less than 4 minutes into the contest and a 17-0 lead at the end of the first quarter.
In terms of yardage, the teams were pretty even, with Shallowater holding a slight edge, 123-115. But two of the three scoring drives for the Mustangs were set up inside the Estacado 30 by those turnovers.
After forcing an Estacado punt to open the game, the Mustangs needed just three plays as Black busted up the gut for a 55-yard touchdown and a 6-0 lead with 8:45 left in the opening period.
A fumble by Tamory Terry on the next Estacado play gave Shallowater the ball at the Estacado 15, and on the first play of the ensuing drive Fields hit Cameron Knight for a 15-yard touchdown pass to push the lead to 14-0 with 8:23 left in the first.
Estacado’s next drive also ended in a turnover when the exchange between quarterback Jaleen Tennison and Terry came loose and the Mustangs fell on it at the Estacado 28. Shallowater drove to the Estacado 3-yard line before the defense stiffened, forcing a 20-yard Luke Stutler field goal with 2:15 left in the opening quarter.
The Matadors finally settled down and put together their best drive of the night, going 76 yards in 15 plays capped by a 1-yard Tennison run on the first play after he converted a 4th and 2. That cut the Estacado lead to 17-6 with 8:05 remaining until halftime.
Black injured his hand on Shallowater’s very next play from scrimmage, but the Matadors could do nothing with the momentum swing, allowing Shallowater to hold the 11-point halftime advantage on which they built with two touchdowns to start the third quarter.
“Again, that’s us, too,” Servance said. “We looked and we had kids in the wrong gaps, things like that, those self inflicted wounds we talked about today. They’re a good football team and you have to give them credit because they made plays when they had to.”
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SHALLOWATER 30, ESTACADO 18
Shallowater 17 0 13 0 — 30
Estacado 0 6 0 12 — 18
SHA — Jarek Black 55 run (kick failed); 8:45
SHA — Cameron Knight 15 pass from Conner Fields (Black run); 8:23
SHA — Luke Stutler 20 FG; 2:15
EST — Jaleen Tennison 1 run (kick failed); 8:05
SHA — Fields 10 run (kick failed); 6:46
SHA — Black 52 run (Stutler kick); 3:07
EST — Tamory Terry 1 run (pass failed); 9:56
EST — T.C. Courtney 30 pass from Tennison (pass failed); 2:40
First downs 17-20
Rushes-yards 44-299 32-995
Passing yards 23 148
Comp.-att.-int. 2-5-1 11-19-0
Punts-avg. 2-33.0 4-30.2
Fumbles-lost 2-1 3-2
Penalties-yards 4-35 5-65
RUSHING: Shallowater, Jarek Black 33-262, Conner Fields 10-41, Kade Willis 1-3, Phillip Martinez 1-(-7); Estacado, Tamory Terry 14-66, Jaleen Tennison 15-20, Brennan Dedrick 2-7, Carl Willard 1-2.
PASSING: Shallowater, Fields 2-5-1—23; Estacado, Tennison 11-19-0—148
RECEIVING: Shallowater, Cameron Knight 1-15, Willis 1-12, Jaleel Campbell 1-(-3); Estacado, T.C. Courtney 4-98, Kenaris Jackson 1-26, Malik Williams 3-22, Septimus Morgan 1-15, Zach Garcia 1-9, Brian Glosson 1-7.