ASHLAND – Ty Scheets is accustomed to seeing crooked numbers on the scoreboard.
“Last year we were the team getting 40 points scored against us,” he said.
This is the new – and greatly improved – Houston football team. And these Tigers know how to win.
Houston continued to push consecutive winless seasons further out of memory Friday night with a dominating victory at Southern Boone. Junior Brad Pounds bulled his way twice into the end zone, quarterback David Weybright had three rushing touchdowns and the Tigers’ defense earned its second straight shutout as Houston cruised to a 40-0 win.
Combined with last week’s 12-0 season-opening victory at Cabool, Houston is 2-0 for the first time since the Tigers beat Strafford, Thayer and Ava to begin the 2004 season. This year’s version will attempt to match the 3-0 start when Houston travels to Ava Friday night.
“The kids really believe in themselves and each other. We’ve established a trust factor with each other,” second-year Tigers coach Chris Edwards said. “We’ve got a tough schedule coming up, but right now they’re believing and that’s the first step. If you believe, it can happen.”
Southern Boone, beginning its fifth season as a varsity program, never stood a chance against the Tigers’ swarming defense. Houston forced six turnovers – three fumbles and three interceptions – while holding the Eagles to just 12 rushing yards on 27 attempts.
The Tigers sacked quarterback Cole Finley four times, and Southern Boone never got close to sniffing a scoring opportunity. The Eagles’ best drive ended on the 36-yard line when Finley was sacked by Kyle Williams.
“We’re just flying around and making plays,” said Scheets, who leads Houston with 19 tackles in two games. “We’ve got guys willing to throw their bodies where they need to. Nobody is holding anything back.”
Defensive coordinator Billy O’Neil said Houston’s defensive scheme is the same as last season. The difference is the team’s aggression and experience.
“It doesn’t matter what I call if they don’t execute,” O’Neil said. “They gave away some stuff on how they were going to run plays with their formations. The kids recognized it on the field. It’s a little easier when you know what’s coming your way.”
Pounds got the scoring started on the Tigers’ third drive when he rumbled 18 yards for a score. The touchdown was set up by Kyle Williams’ interception.
On Houston’s next possession, Weybright found Pounds alone in the right flat for a 6-yard score, and a fumble led to Justin Schmidt’s 1-yard plunge that put the Tigers ahead 19-0 at the half.
Pounds had a monstrous game on the ground and through the air. He ran for 49 yards on five carries and caught five passes for 101 yards, highlighted by a 40-yard reception down the middle of the field that set up Schmidt’s score.
Pounds racked up several extra yards by knocking defenders backwards as he finished off runs.
“He’s like a bowling ball. He’s about 4-foot-4 and weighs 300 pounds,” Scheets said of his 5-9, 200-pound teammate. “I don’t think I’d want to be in his way.”
Pounds said he enjoys initiating contact. More times than, the defender goes flying backwards.
“When I see a guy coming at me, I just lower my shoulder and tell him to bring it,” he said. “I’m going to run him over. If he hits me hard, I’ll get up, tell him good hit and hit him the next play.”
Weybright, who threw for 157 yards on 12-of-25 passing, ran for scores of 11, 5 and 4 yards in the second half. He has five rushing touchdowns this season.
Travis Barker, who earned the team’s final captain position last week, Williams and Crawford all had interceptions for Houston. Four of the Tigers’ six scores were set up by turnovers.
“This one feels better,” Pounds said when comparing Houston’s victory last week that snapped a 21-game losing skid. “We came out and executed.”