The Belton Tiger JV White football team finished up its three-game home stand on Wednesday night, as they hosted the College Station Cougars at Tiger Field.
Belton’s come-from-behind effort was spoiled by a 56-yard touchdown pass by the Cougars with 40 seconds to play to deal the Tigers with a bitter loss, 38-35.
The Cougars started with great field position after the Tigers were unable to field an onside kick to start the game.
Five plays later, a 48-yard touchdown run with 7:25 to play in the opening quarter gave the Cougars a 6-0 lead. The two-point conversion failed.
Elijah Warner has his number called early and often throughout the game. After Chance Baladez’s 17-yard kickoff return, Warner picked up all 68 yards on the ground during the Tigers’ drive, including a 39-yard run and an eight-yard touchdown run on a fourth and three play. Noah Moaga’s extra-point gave the Tigers a 7-6 lead with 5:02 left in the opening quarter.
College Station scored on the next offensive play on a 70-yard touchdown pass. The two-point conversion failed, which kept the score 12-7 with 4:48 to play in the first quarter.
Jeffrey Tuck’s 50-yard kick return gave the Tigers first and 10 at the College Station 31. Warner quickly completed the drive with a 31-yard touchdown run. The point-after try failed, as the Tigers led 13-12 with 4:27 to play in the first stanza.
The Cougars were more deliberate on the next drive, as the kept the ball for 10 plays and drove 55 yards. On fourth down and two at the Belton 6, the Cougars punched the ball into the end zone. The two-point conversion failed once again, which kept College Station in the lead by five points with 9:53 left in the first half, 18-13.
Both teams traded possessions with turnover on downs, as the Cougars led at the half, 18-13.
Baladez’s 25-yard kickoff return gave the Tigers great starting field position at their own 46. A mix-up on a read-pass option resulted in a fumble recovery by the Cougars.
Eight plays later, a 22-yard touchdown run extended the lead for College Station. A two-point conversion run made the score 26-13 with 5:17 left in the third quarter.
Belton threw a change of pace in the running game at the Cougars on the ensuing drive. Mixing up carries by Warner and La’Quaile Laurence, the Tigers finished off the 65-yard drive with a seven-yard touchdown run by Warner. The two-point conversion run failed, as the Tigers continued to trail in the ball game with 1:11 left in the third quarter, 25-19.
The Cougars answered on the next drive on the sixth play, as a five-yard touchdown run widened the score back to 13 points with 9:13 left in the game. The two-point try failed.
Baladez’s 32-yard kickoff return gave the Tigers a drive start at their own 42. Eleven plays later, Warner’s five-yard run and successful two-point conversion narrowed the Tigers’ deficit to five points with 4:33 to play in the game.
Moaga’s onside kick was recovered by Baladez at the College Station 46. After six Warner carries, he scored on his seventh carry with a 20-yard run. Warner converted the two-point run, as the Tigers had their first lead of the second half with 1:37 to play, 35-32.
College Station took over at their own 36. A holding call moved the ball back to the Cougars’ 26. After an 18-yard pass play, College Station scored on a 56-yard catch-and-run slant play. They missed the conversion which kept the score 38-35 with 40 seconds to play.
Baladez’s 15-yard kickoff return was coupled with a Cougars’ facemask penalty to give the Tigers the ball at their own 45. The Tigers managed to complete a pass from EJ Foutz to Warner for 11 yards into College Station territory. However, an incompletion, a fumble and a loss of yardage resulted in the expiration of the clock.
Warner gained 261 yards on 33 carries and five touchdowns to lead the Tigers.
Belton will travel to Copperas Cove High School on Thursday, Oct. 22.