THAYER – Fifteen seconds. That’s how much time elapsed before Thayer scored its first points Friday night.
And they kept coming in bunches for the Bobcats.
Lance Schneider returned the opening kickoff 76 yards for a touchdown and Thayer rushed for 360 yards as it cruised to a 42-7 victory against short-handed Houston.
Behind an over-powering running game, the Bobcats posted 20 points in each of the first two quarters, then handed off the second half to their second unit as the mercy clock ticked away.
“I was really disappointed throughout the course of the game because I felt like we weren’t hustling. I felt like our physical effort wasn’t there,” Tigers coach Chris Edwards said. “When we watched the film afterwards, the physical part was there. The problem was the mental part of the game.”
It was evident early.
Schneider sucked Houston’s kickoff team to the left sideline before reversing field and racing untouched for Thayer’s first points.
He added a second score just three minutes later when he lined up near the right sideline. No defensive back followed, and Thayer quarterback Jacob Eckman made an easy pass to Schneider that he took 24 yards into the end zone.
In just 3 minutes, 11 seconds, Houston already trailed 14-0.
“Just a lack of focus. We lacked concentration,” Edwards said. “I really don’t have the answer to why that happened. We haven’t really had that issue.”
Houston (3-2) started the game without starters Ty Scheets (shoulder), Brad Pounds (concussion) and David Foster (back). That number doubled by halftime.
Justin Schmidt (knee), Kyle Williams (knee) and Preston Wade (concussion) all sat out the second half with minor injuries. Although none have returned to practice, Edwards is hopeful all three will play in Friday’s homecoming game against Pleasant Hope.
Scheets, Pounds and Foster will miss their second straight game and only Foster is expected to return the following week.
“We’re banged up,” Edwards said.
The Houston offense struggled mightily without Scheets and Pounds, the team’s top two receivers The Tigers managed just two first downs and 171 yards of total offense.
Quarterback David Weybright completed just seven of his 28 pass attempts for a season-worst 85 yards and one interception. A big chunk of his total came on one play – a 49-yard pass to senior Martin Crawford.
“Against Mountain Grove, at least we were able to move the ball,” Edwards said of last week’s 52-14 loss. “We never got anything going. Part of that was getting down so quick. That attributed to trying to get some things going and not being able to establish the run at all.”
The Tigers got their lone points in the fourth quarter when sophomore Jacob Case raced around the left side for a 14-yard score. The touchdown was set up by a fumbled punt return.
“We’ve got some key skill players out and that obviously made a difference,” Edwards said.
Eckman showed no ill effects from the previous week’s concussion that knocked him out of the game and led to Thayer’s only loss. He ran for a game-high 177 yards, highlighted by an 83-yard touchdown scamper, on 10 carries and threw for 79 more.
The Bobcats (4-1) racked up 439 yards of total offense and had another 107 in return yards.
Following Schneider’s first two scores, Eckman snuck out of the backfield on second-and-goal from the 24-yard line and bullied his way into the end zone for a 20-0 lead midway through the first quarter.
The Bobcats drove 95 yards with a methodical 15-play drive that ended with Josh Huckabee’s 1-yard plunge three seconds into the second quarter.
Cameron Carey had runs of 54 and 17 yards on Thayer’s next drive that ended with his 6-yard score that put the Bobcats ahead 34-0.
Houston advanced to Thayer’s side of the field for the first time when Crawford pulled in Weybright’s 49-yard pass at the 12-yard line. But after three straight incompletions, Ryan Veatch picked off Weybright’s jump ball intended for Kyle Poynter in the end zone.
Three plays later, Eckman faked a handoff and raced 83 yards down the left sideline for a 40-0 lead.
Thayer got its final points when a high snap sailed over punter Travis Barker’s head and out of the end zone in the third.
“Thayer is obviously a very good, physical ballclub,” Edwards said.
THAYER 42, HOUSTON 7
Houston 0 0 0 7 – 7
Thayer 20 20 2 0 – 42
THA – Schneider 76 run (Leisenring kick), 11:45.
THA – Schneider 24 pass from Eckman (Leisenring kick), 8:49.
THA – Eckman 24 run (run failed).
THA – Huckabee 1 run (Leisenring kick), 11:57.
THA – Carey 5 run (Leisenring kick), 8:04.
THA – Eckman 83 run (kick failed), 5:06.
THA – Safety, 3:50.
HOU – Case 14 run (Case kick), 8:14.
First downs 2 14
Total net yards 171 439 Rushes-yards 15-56 48-360
Passing 85 79
Punt returns 0-0 2-13
Kickoff returns 6-77 3-94
Comp-Att-Int 7-28-1 4-8-0
Sacked-yards lost 0-0 0-0
Punts-avg. 8-34.9 1-47
Fumbles-lost 0-0 4-3
Penalties-yards 5-45 8-42
RUSHING – Houston, Case 6-24, Schmidt 4-15, Weybright 3-13, KCampbell 1-2, Jones 1-2. Thayer, Eckman 10-177, Carey 8-96, Huckabee 12-55, Sandridge 8-16, Cabrales 7-13, Risner 1-2, Henry 2-1.
PASSING – Houston, Weybright 7-28-1 85. Thayer, Eckman 4-8-0 79.
RECEIVING – Houston, Crawford 1-49, Barker 2-15, Poynter 2-10, Wilson 1-6, Schmidt 1-5. Thayer, Martin 2-51, Schneider 1-24, Carey 1-5.