By Rob Ludwig
Corsicana Daily Sun
Corsicana — When a Southwest Junior College Football Conference team is ailing, it can always take solace that Southeast Prep will eventually pop up on the schedule.
Navarro has needed some positives after the last three weeks and just in time Southeast Prep made its way into Tiger Stadium for the Bulldogs’ final non-conference game.
Navarro roared to almost 600 yards of offense and allowed less than 80 in an 80-0 victory on Saturday. Navarro set the school record for points in game, breaking the 76 points it totaled in the season opener against Arkansas Baptist.
This was a game of all positives at a time when the Bulldogs needed one the most. After losing starting quarterback Josh Greer to a broken collarbone in Week 4, followed by back-to-back SWJCFC losses, Navarro was in dire need of a blowout.
That’s exactly what the Bulldogs and their fans got, even though the game was bumped back more than an hour because of a fierce thunderstorm rolling through Navarro County.
Navarro’s running attack was downright vicious in its dismantling of Southeast Prep (0-7), a team that plays only road games and is not unfamiliar with big losses this season.
The Bulldogs rushed for 420 yards, averaging 9.8 yards per carry. Tim Wright continued his string of 100-yard games, rushing for 161 yards and two touchdowns before sitting midway in the second quarter as Navarro built a 45-0 halftime lead.
Freshmen Ke’Aun Kinner and Josh Cleveland had 82 and 110 yards, respectively. Kinner scored on second-half runs of 9, 29 and 33 yards. Receiver Edwin Mims chipped in a 33-yard score on a third-quarter reverse and Corsicana’s Cameron Washington added a 1-yard scoring run.
“Last year, Tim Wright and Tony Drake were kind of those second tier backs in our offense and this year Tim and Cameron are the top rotation guys,” said Navarro Coach Brian Mayper, whose 16th-ranked Bulldogs are now 5-2 overall. “Hopefully, guys like (Kinner and Cleveland) will continue to make the most of their opportunities as the second tier guys this season.”
Thrown into the fire a week ago in a critical game against Tyler, quarterback Carson Earp looked relaxed and made confident throws throughout his second start. The freshman quarterback completed 9 of 11 passes in one and half quarters, firing touchdowns of 18 and 6 yards to Markel Steward-Gillespie and 12 yards to Austin Collins. Both of his incompletions were drops that would have gone for first downs.
Alex Allen, caught a 14-yard pass from Earp in the second quarter before taking the quarterback reins for the final series of the first half and the entire second half. Allen was 5 of 6 and added a 14-yard scramble that set up a touchdown in the third period, when Navarro put up its second straight 28-point quarter.
“Carson is a heady player with a lot of poise,” said Mayper, who said earlier in the week he thought Division I and FCS schools overlooked the Waco Robinson product. “It’s good that he was able to get in there today and get some continuity with his receivers and play in live action when the bullets are flying.”
Navarro’s defense was equally impressive against the Spartans, allowing only 11 yards on 26 rushing attempts. Running back Trey Cooper needed a 22-yard run in the third quarter just to get in positive yardage.
Quarterback Ben Holmes was sacked twice, but he found Navarro’s secondary downright smothering. An Orchard Park, N.Y. native, Holmes completed only 9 of 27 passes for 67 yards and was picked off four times. Cornerback Sherman Gilbert intercepted his fourth pass of the season, and teammates Robert Lewis, Alex Miller and Paul Banks added pickoffs.
Southeast Prep’s deepest penetration came after Mikechell Potts muffed a punt at the Navarro 40 late in the first quarter. The Spartans drove to the 17, but a 34-yard field goal was blocked and Zach Berryman picked up the loose ball and rambled 49 yards to the Southeast Prep 6. Earp found Steward-Gillespie on the ensuing play for a 17-0 Navarro lead.
Potts got his payback later in the half, taking back his second punt of the season for a touchdown. Potts weaved his way 59 yards through the Southeast Prep punt coverage for a score to cap a 28-point second quarter.
It seems even special teams gets a chance for redemption and rejuvenation when playing Southeast Prep.
Navarro 80, Southeast Prep 0
Southeast Prep 0 0 0 0 — 0
Navarro 17 28 28 7 — 80
N — Tim Wright 10 run (Carlos Macias kick), 12:57
N — Markell Steward-Gillespie 18 pass from Carson Earp (Macias kick), 7:28
N — Macias 21 FG, 3:11
N — Wright 33 run (Macias kick), 13:51
N — Austin Collins 12 pass from Earp (Macias kick), 12:18
N — Cameron Washginton 1 run (Macias kick), 7:01
N — Steward-Gillespie 6 pass from Earp (Macias kick), 2:34
N — Edwin Mims 33 run (Macias kick), 12:19
N — Ke’Aun Kinner 9 run (Macias kick), 10:01
N — Mikechell Potts 58 punt return (Macias kick), 7:50
N — Kinner 29 run (Macias kick), :00
N — Kinner 31 run (Macias kick), 7:01
First Downs 10 28
Rush-yards 26-11 43-420
Passing yards 67 161
C-A-I 29-9-4 14-17-0
Fumbles-lost 1-1 2-1
Punts-avg. 4-39 0-0
Penalties 3-15 7-78
Rushing — S: Trey Cooper 22-26, Ben Holmes 3-(-15), Shawn Johnson 1-0; N: Tim Wright 14-161, Cameron Washington 8-40, Josh Cleveland 10-110, Alex Allen 5-3, Ke’Aun Kinner 4-82, Edwin Mims 2-24.
Passing —S: Holmes 9-27-4-67, Johnson 0-2-0-0; N: Carson Earp 9-11-0-127, Allen 5-6-0-34.
Receiving — S: Alex Pina-Rhoden 5-38, Josh Guthrie 1-7, Garrett Jones 2-8, Cooper 1-14; N: Washington 1-27, Markel Steward-Gillespie 3-34, Allen 1-14, Tarlandus Mitchell 1-9, Austin Collins 3-43, Kailon Carter 2-14, Edwin Mims 2-13, Zach Berryman 1-7.