By Chuck Williams
Trailing Forney 17-0 right before the half, to say the Tiger faithful were in a semi-state of panic would be spot on. I am not sure if you could get anyone to admit it, but if your stomach wasn’t churning a bit at Citi-Bank Field in Forney you have a tremendous amount of Tiger resolve.
And that resolve you have would rank right up there with Steve Hoffman’s Tigers. The score that wasn’t could turn out to be the season that was. Trailing in the second quarter, Tiger signal caller Devontay Bell raced around the right end and went 88 yards for a score or so he thought. The run was called back by a holding penalty. It happens every Friday, Saturday and Sunday in the football fall.
What doesn’t happen all the time in those three days that America looks forward to is some intangible force that brings a group tangibly together in harmonious unison for a specified cause. In other words, that penalty really fired up the CHS sidelines and that play was an “a ha” moment for the Tiger offense.
“That was an eye opener,” said Bell, following his 15th win as the Tiger starting signal caller. “I wasn’t disappointed (in the 88 yard run being called back) as much as I was excited knowing that we discovered something.”
Indeed they did discover something, 36 unanswered points and a near record-setting performance by a running back. Sophomore Tray Owens walked into the halftime locker room with a very modest 22 rushing yards. Twenty-four football minutes later, he listened to the Tiger Cheerleaders perform “Victory” with 356 rushing yards on the night. The single-game record belongs to Ketric Sanford, who torched Whitehouse for 376 yards and six touchdowns on 30 carries in 2005. Owens is second on that list now.
“It is amazing,” said a jubilant Owens in a very happy visiting Tiger locker room. “I can’t take all or even most of the credit. The O-Line and D-Bell deserve that. “
Give the Tiger offensive line credit for paving the way for a whopping 485 total rushing yards. I write it every year because a heck of a man once told me “so go the hogs, so go the Tigers.” He told me that a long time ago, but year after year it rings true.
In 2011 when Cameron Washington set the single-season rushing record, the offensive line was dominant. In 2013, when Owens went for 356 rushing yards, the same is true. One constant on both of those lines is then-sophomore and now senior offensive lineman (center/guard) Chris Jones.
“It feels good to be a part of both accomplishments,” Jones said. “I feel that I’m not the best offensive lineman but I try to have a work ethic like the best, like a champion”
With 0-2 on the season and down 17-0 in Game 3, the essence of work ethic and championship mentality were put to a severe test. With the Tigers leaving Forney 1-2 with a 36-17 victory, grade the test with an A+.
One year ago, the Tigers ended the Forney game and by the next day learned that Bell was out for 2012. This year he is looking forward to playing a Thursday night televised game against rival Waxahachie.
Perhaps his stomach wasn’t churning at all trailing, 17-0. Perhaps No. 8 that used to wear No. 9 is learning some valuable perspective.
When asked if he was having more fun after notching a victory, Bell just smiled and said, “No sir. It’s always fun when you are playing as hard as you can play and just trying to get better.”
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