The Woodlands High School football fall to 0-2 after loss to Lamar Texans

By: Carlos Gosselin, Woodlands Online Sports
| Published 09/06/2018

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THE WOODLANDS, Texas - The Woodlands Highlanders came out motivated for spirit night at Woodforest Bank Stadium. With a battle for genuine school pride, both teams lined up ready for week two improvements. The Woodlands Highlanders fought hard, showing offensive running and defensive execution but ultimately falling short to the Lamar Texans 31-24.

Early on there was a special team error that caused two Highlanders to ultimately not make the call on a fair catch, resulting in a fumble and Lamar football.

Fumbling early in the first quarter gave the Lamar Texans the opportunity to score in the first couple minutes of the game. The Lamar workhorse running back Cameron Keener drove his first touchdown of the night in a five-yard run, after the Highlanders fumbled on a punt return.

Casey Sunsari and the Highlanders looked to make an offensive push. Being down 7-0 the Highlanders started feeding their star player running back Brayton Gilford the ball. Gilford looked in peak form against the Texans, picking up multiple first downs. Making an offensive gamble, Jim Rapp called upon wide receiver Malik Johnson to line up in the running back position. Toss thrown to the left, 43 yards later was a Malik Johnson touchdown to put the score at 7-7 highlanders.

Lamar quarterback, Troy Tisdale, trotted back on the field and started commanding his offense forward. With 5:20 left in the first quarter, senior Highlander linebacker Orrin Bizer played tip drill, securing a pop-up ball thrown in the air by Troy Tisdale. On the interception return, Orrin Bizer ran full speed down the sideline making it back to Lamar's 42-yard line.

Senior quarterback Casey Sunsari trotted back on offense and got to work. With a new strategy, the Highlanders started airing the ball out every third down. Evan Shelton for the Texans caught on to the gameplan and floored past the tackle hitting Casey Sunsari for sack fumble, while defensive lineman Josh Stanton landed on it to secure position. Turning the ball over, the Highlanders looked determined for a defensive stop. Highlanders cornerback Abb Acuff held down the number one wide receiver all game, making three crucial red zone stops. Breyton Gilford had a heavy workload planned as the first quarter was winding down, ending up with another Highlander touchdown making the score 14-7.

Second quarter Lamar running back Cameron Keener, became a 20-yard monster taking four handoffs back to back, before ending in Highlander territory. Cameron Keener took a handoff from Tisdale and threw off countless Highlanders as theTexans secured the tie making it 14-14. With more defensive execution on full display from both teams, it seemed offense wasn't needed anymore. Alexander Park kicker for the Texans, trotted onto the field to strike a 45-yard field goal, bringing the score to 17-14 Lamar Texans.

Jim Rapp sent a different quarterback duo for the next couple of series, as backup quarterback Ben Mills and starting quarterback Casey Sunsari rotate in various plays. After going three and out another punt was called upon, which landed in the Texans territory with thirty seconds left. With time clicking down a big hail-mary throw was called upon and Troy Tisdale chunked a rocket into the sky. Lamar wide reciever Drew Woodcox went up in the air with three Highlanders and eventually was picked off in the end zone by saftey Austin Winfield.

The third quarter is where teams find out where they stand physically and mentally. The score was sitting at 17-14, and Lamar High School came out on the field with quarter back Troy Tisdale. Throwing good back to back passes Tisdale seemed in rhythm until an interception occurred. Reading the quarterbacks eyes, Jacob Kutchback intercepted a laser and took it back the whole way, for a Highlander touchdown.

21-17 and the Highlanders are up at the end of the third quarter. The story never changed for Troy Tisdale and the Lamar Texans, he had an offensive strategy to keep running up the clock and score. Lamar running back Cameron Keener took full participation in grinding the clock down. Charging down the field like an offensive juggernaut Keener jumped into the Highlanders end zone for his third touchdown of the night, totaling the third-quarter score to 24-21 Lamar Texans.

The end of the game was a defensive battle and a story for the trenches. As it commenced, the Highlanders acquired good field goal range, so they sent out kicker Fabrizio Pinton, who drove hit a field goal to push the Highlanders to a 24-24 tie ball game. With less than 5 minutes left on the clock, the Texans offense got to work, driving the ball five yards at a time. Early on in the game, Lamar had a couple of offensive turnovers through the air, head coach Tom Nolan decided that he would ride or die by the run late in the game. Nolan stuck to his gut giving the ball to running back Cameron Keener for almost every down of the last five minutes. Keeners, final touchdown of the night, came from a five-yard dive to see the final score of 31-24 Lamar Texans.

The Woodlands High School start their season 0-2 for the first time in the last decade, while the Lamar Texans move their campaign to 1-1. The Woodlands Highlanders look to take on the Oak Ridge High School next Friday night. Our live broadcast, hosted by Vinny Sinisi and former College Park High School coach Richard Carson, was brought to you by Hal Watson Air Conditioning, with replays presented by Texas Tiny Home Solutions.

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