The Belton Tigers Freshman White football team hosted the Ellison Eagles on Thursday night at Tiger Field.
The Tigers’ defense intercepted four passes, got two touchdown runs by Dakota Jones and a 14-yard touchdown pass from Zach Zuelsdorf to Connor Vela to blank the Eagles, 22-0.
Belton moved to 5-0 to earn the district championship, having outscored opponents 131-12 and shut out three district opponents.
Ethan Arendall’s punishing running style helped to Tigers gain seven yards on their first three plays and were faced with a fourth down and three at the Ellison 48. Jones took the handoff from Zuelsdorf and raced 48 yards for the Tigers’ first score. The two-point run failed, at the Tigers kept a six-point lead with 6:46 to play in the opening quarter.
The gritty Tiger defense was tested on Ellison’s opening offensive drive. The Eagles moved the ball from their own 37 down to the Belton 1 and faced a fourth down and goal. Dante Martinez picked up the sack, dropped the Ellison quarterback for a five-yard loss and forced the Eagles to give the Tigers the ball back on downs.
Ellison intercepted the ball and returned to the Belton 21, which forced the Tigers into another defensive stand.
A false start and illegal shift put the Ellison offense in reverse to start the drive. A sack by Aaron Noria on second down, a pass breakup by Greg Muselman on third down and a fourth down tackle for loss by Noria forced another turnover on downs.
The Tigers came up empty on the next offensive drive. Arendall’s interception and 25-yard return down to the Ellison 16 set up Zueldorf’s 14-yard dime to Vela in the back of the end zone. Jones converted the two-point run to put Belton up 14-0 with 36 seconds left in the half.
Ellison got the ball to start the second half. Belton’s defense stopped the Eagles on the first two downs and Shane Haywood’s pass pressure forced Ellison into a fourth down and five at the Belton 48. Martinez intercepted the pass at the Belton 49 and returned the pick to the Ellison 31.
Although Belton was stopped on downs at the Ellison 23, Vela intercepted a pass at the Belton 16 and returned the ball to the Tigers’ 36.
Jones 10-yard run set up Zuelsdorf connection with Aiden Gascon on a 53-yard catch-and-run down to the Ellison 1. Jones capped the drive with a plunge into the end zone. Zuelsdorf founds Jackson Dawkins for the two-point conversion to put the Tigers up 22-0 with 1:43 left in the third quarter.
The Tigers capped the night with an interception and 30-yard return by Muselman.
Belton’s defense allowed just 123 yards, as Ellison collected 99 through the air and 24 on the ground.
Belton had 191 yards of total offense. Jones had 108 yards on 27 carries and two scores.
Zuelsdorf went 4-of-6 for 76 yards, with Gascon leading the way with 53 yards.
Belton will rap up its season on Dec. 2 against Georgetown at Birkelbach Stadium.