By Rob Ludwig
Corsicana Daily Sun
Corsicana — When you take on the top offense in the conference, the goals are to sustain drives, score when opportunities are presented and not let the opponent get on a roll until your reserves are on the field and the game is in hand.
Navarro put a checkmark beside each of those goals in the first three quarters on Saturday and ran away with a 52-35 win over Tyler at Tiger Stadium in a showdown of the SWJCFC’s top offensive teams.
Navarro (5-1 overall, 3-1 in SWJCFC) compiled 664 yards of total offense and 28 first downs en route to a 52-19 lead early in the fourth period. Tyler scored 16 points and collected more than 200 yards of offense in the final 13 minutes against a fleet of Bulldog reserves, but it was far too late to unseat Navarro from its comfortable lead.
Navarro running back Tyler Middleton rushed for 175 yards and two touchdowns on only 14 carries and added two receptions for 60 more yards and a score. Fellow back Traylon Shead added 123 yards and a TD before exiting with an ankle injury in the fourth period.
Bulldog quarterback Stump Godfrey contributed 17-of-31 passing for 260 yards and four touchdowns, two going to tight end Gerard Shillow in the first half as Navarro jumped to a 31-7 lead.
“We’ve got a few weapons and they all worked together today,” said Navarro Coach Brian Mayper. “We had guys making big plays out of the backfield, throwing the ball and catching the ball. It’s good to have those weapons. When they are all firing, it’s awfully impressive.”
Tyler (3-3, 2-2) made a run in the third quarter with a 4-yard scoring toss from quarterback Tyrik Rollison (26-42-1-375, 2 TDs) to Jeremey Chappelle and a 1-yard run by Rollison.
But Navarro’s offense was just too much for the Apaches to handle. Middleton broke through the heart of the Tyler defense and raced to a 52-yard scoring run. After a 37-yard TD pass from Godfrey to Eddie Johnson, Middleton came back with a 44-yard scoring run with just less than 14 minutes remaining in the game for a 33-point Navarro advantage.
Tyler put on their final offensive push with Rollison completing 9 of 11 passes for 140 yards and a touchdown. But that explosion an anomaly compared to the rest of the game as Navarro kept Rollison in the pocket and limited his potent receivers’ yards after the catch. Tyler also lost fumbles twice on fourth down inside the Navarro 10.
Navarro stepped on Tyler’s throats in the first period and never let the Apaches breathe the remainder of the half. The Bulldogs scored on their first two drives of the game, marching 67 yards in 10 plays and followed with an 11-play, 80-yard drive for a 14-0 read.
Navarro stayed on the ground in the early going, mixing in an occasional pass from Godfrey to keep the Apache secondary from sneaking too close to the line of scrimmage.
On the game’s initial drive, Godfrey had a 19-yard completion to running back Middleton and Tim Wright rambled 15 yards, setting up Shead’s 12th touchdown run of the season as the Bulldogs grabbed a 7-0 lead with 11:32 left in the first period.
Navarro flexed its third-down prowess on its next series, converting three different times as it drove the length of the field. Godfrey was a key contributor on the drive, rushing twice for first downs and completing a 25-yard touchdown pass to Shillow. The sophomore ran free in the middle of the Tyler’s defense, with no Apache within 15 yards of him as he made the TD catch for a 14-0 Navarro lead at the 6:21 mark of the opening stanza.
Navarro pushed the score to 21-0 early in the second quarter, again using a length drive to wear out the Tyler defense. Godfrey had the big play on the drive, rambling 16 yards on third and short and then finding Shillow in the back of the end zone for a 6-yard completion.
“When your score right off the bat, then your defense stops the other team and your offense comes back and scores again, you set a great tempo for the game,” Mayper said. “We never gave (Tyler) an opportunity to get any momentum.”
After being outgained 200-48 in the first quarter and managing two first downs compared to 12 for Navarro, Tyler’s offense finally got untracked in the second period. Rollison closed the Navarro lead to 21-7 with a 1-yard scoring run 6:46 remaining.
Navarro quickly countered as Middleton took a swing pass, turned upfield using the blocks of James Washington and Johnson and raced 40 yards to re-establish a 21-point cushion.
Tyler had a chance to cut into the lead near the two-minute mark, driving from its 8 to the Navarro 7 on 13 plays. But the center snapped the ball to an unprepared Rollison on fourth down and Navarro recovered.
The Bulldogs hurried downfield in the final 1:27 thanks to a 27-yard Middleton run and a 25-yard Shillow reception. Patrick Sohrt came on to drill a career-best 42-yard field as time expired for a 24-point Bulldog lead.
“How we finished the half was an example of a taking advantage of other teams’ mistakes,” Mayper said. “Today the other team made the mistakes instead of us and we made the most of them.”
Navarro 52, Tyler 35
Tyler 0 7 12 16 — 35
Navarro 14 17 14 7 — 52
N — Traylon Shead 4 run (Patrick Sohrt kick)
N — Gerard Shillow 25 pass from Stump Godfrey (Sohrt kick)
N — Shillow 6 pass from Godfrey (Sohrt kick)
T — Tyrik Rollison 2 run (Santiago Escobar kick)
N — Tyler Middleton 40 pass from Godfrey (Sohrt kick)
N — Sohrt 42 FG
T — Jeremey Chappelle 4 pass from Rollison (kick failed)
N — Middleton 52 run (Sohrt kick)
T — Rollison 1 run (pass failed)
N — Eddie Johnson 37 pass from Godfrey (Sohrt kick)
N — Middleton 44 run (Sohrt kick)
T — Shaquille Murray 6 run (Rollison pass to Smith)
T — Tracy Smith 58 pass from Rollison (Rollison pass to Chappelle)
First Downs 26 28
Rush-yards 47-191 54-384
Passing yards 374 260
C-A-I 26-41-1 17-31-0
Fumbles-lost 4-3 3-1
Punts-avg. 4-47 5-33
Penalties 8-90 6-40
Rushing — T: Ryan Young 10-46, Leroy Dobbins 1-2 , Lamar Carraway 1-3, Tyrik Rollison 12-15, Deontre Wilson 6-28, Rodney Hall 7-28, Shaquille Murray 7-45. N: Traylon Shead 19-123, Tyler Middleton 14-175, Tim Wright 4-14, Stump Godfrey 16-69, Warreal Grogan 1-3.
Passing — T: Rollison 26-41-1-374 . N: Godfrey 17-31-0-260.
Receiving — T: Jeremey Chappelle 10-122, Tracy Smith 8-181, JaVante Mack 4-31, Marquise Smith 1-12, Young 1-12, Wilson 2-10 N: Gerard Shillow 5-80, Eddie Johnson 3-47, Jordan Jolly 5-62, Tyler Middleton 2-59, James Washington 1-10, Markell Steward 1-2.