CAPITAN – True, Capitan’s football team never trailed in their 27-13 District 4-3A win over Dexter, Oct. 28, but things weren’t always certain.
Probably the biggest problem the Tigers faced were penalties – 100 yards at halftime and 140 total – most them holding calls on the offense.
In every other way, Capitan (8-1, 3-0 district) dominated this contest. The Tigers had 214 more total yards, had 21 first downs to Dexter’s 11, and held on to the ball for 33 minutes in the game.
Even so, it was 14-7 at halftime and the Demons (8-2, 3-1) hung around thanks to a 59-yard interception return by Gabino Rodriguez to start the second quarter.
Capitan started the scoring with 8:38 left in the first quarter on a17-yard pass from Price Bowen to Stephen Ellison, then got the ball back on a Demon fumble at the Dexter 45 yard line.
Eight plays later, Jacob Smith caught a pass for eight yards and a 14-0 lead.
“Going down and scoring on our first drive, that tells the story,” said Capitan coach James Weems.
After another Demon drive stalled, the Tigers looked to score again as the first quarter came to a close, but a pass by Bowen was picked off by Rodriguez, who rambled more than half the field for the score to keep his team alive.
That one of Dexter’s scoring plays came on defense should explain how the Tigers were so thoroughly dominating in offensive categories, yet were never in complete control on the scoreboard.
Well, that and all the penalties.
“Offensively, we need to get some things cleaned up,” Weems said. “But we had the better team out there, and the kids saw that in the first half.”
In contrast to 140 yards on 16 flags by the Tigers, Dexter was whistled just six times for 51 yards.
Of course, the Dexter defense stepped up a few times as well, including a goal-line stand that saw the Tigers give the ball up on downs at the Demon two-yard line with 7:07 left in the second quarter.
“Defensively, I was so impressed with my team tonight,” Weems said. “This is a tough, battle-hardened group, and we just keep rolling on.”
Capitan also had a chance to score near the end of the first half, driving to the Dexter 14 yard line before penalties stopped the drive.
“I was disappointed a few times, getting into the red zone and not scoring,” Weems said. “But that’s just football. You make one of those calls, offensively, and you don’t know if the play’s the right one until it’s over.”
In the end, though, the Tigers were just too strong on defense to keep Dexter from making a comeback.
Even an 87-yard touchdown pass from Jarren Amaro to David Morales – in which Morales broke three tackles and ran most of the way to a score – wasn’t enough.
“Big plays, we don’t give up the little stuff very often,” Weems said. “Defensively we’re really doing great things.”
Stephen Ellison led the Tigers with 92 yards rushing and had two touchdowns, while Jacob Smith caught nine passes for 110 yards and a touchdown near the end of the game that sealed the win.
“We don’t have a lot of guys, but we’re out here fighting in every game,” Ellison said. “Every night we come on to the field we’re confident in the men next to us.”
Now Capitan is in solid position to win a district title and could sew up the No. 2 seed in the upcoming Class 3A State playoffs with a win over Eunice next week.
“We just have to prepare in practice, do what we have to do to get ready,” Ellison said. “We have to have a lot less penalties next Friday and see how it works.”