Cabool found one play that worked. So the Bulldogs ran it again and again and again.
Simply called ‘sweep’ in the playbook, a seldom-practiced play from last season was all Cabool needed to earn bragging rights over county rival Houston. Behind a beefy offensive line, Bulldogs running back Clayton Manning rushed for 230 yards and three scores to lead Cabool to a 21-6 season-opening victory Friday night at Tiger Stadium
Running behind five offensive linemen who each weigh more than 200 pounds, Manning had rushing scores of 18, 28 and 30 yards. He gained at least 10 yards on nine of his 21 carries.
Cabool coach Eric Sloan said the sweep — ran from a trips set with a tight end — was not in the original game plan.
“We planned to throw more,” Sloan said. “It’s a play we had not practiced much. We ran it last year and then decided to get in that formation and see if Houston would adjust to it.”
The Tigers didn’t. Cabool (1-0) ran the ball on 44 of its 46 plays en route to a third straight victory over its Texas County rivals.
“I bet they ran the play 15 times,” second-year Houston coach David Williams said, “and the result was the same every time.”
Houston quarterback Weston Walker, playing for the first time since middle school, completed 8 of 15 passes for 102 yards in the team’s pistol offense. He also had a 20-yard rushing touchdown for the Tigers’ lone points.
Houston had 114 rushing yards — 56 coming the first rush of the game by Kaden Miller — on 26 attempts. Drake Bell had four catches for 60 yards and four rushes for 21 yards.
“Weston made a nice run on the touchdown, and Drake had a couple nice runs,” Williams said. “We just didn’t have enough of them. We were inconsistent.”
Williams said his team, which lost for the 11th consecutive time, was hurt by mistakes. The Tigers committed eight penalties — seven of them offensive — and Walker was sacked four times.
“We’ve got to be able to run more plays,” Williams said. “We’ve got to get the number up to 50 or so. Then you’ve got a chance.”
Two plays after stopping Cabool on the game’s first possession, Miller broke loose from a pile near the line of scrimmage and romped 56 yards to the Bulldogs’ 30-yard line. But after an 11-yard run by Bell on an option pitch from Walker, Houston’s drive stalled. The Tigers turned it over on downs at the Cabool 14.
The game was scoreless until late in the second quarter when Manning took a pitch around the right side and scooted 18 yards into the end zone. The run capped a 10-play, 67-yard drive and put Cabool ahead 6-0 at the half.
Manning again raced to the end zone — this time from 28 yards away — on Cabool’s first possession of the second half. It was another sweep to the right.
Manning ran in the two-point conversion to make it 14-0.
“We just didn’t tackle,” Williams said. “We do some form of tackling every day. We work on technique, then we get out in a game, drop our head and completely miss. We preach every day to see what you hit.”
The dilemma with a small roster, Williams said, is practicing it more.
“Do we need to do more tackling in practice? Yes,” he said. “Can we afford to get anybody hurt? No. So it’s a double-edged sword. I guess you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do.”
Walker gave the Tigers their first points of the 2011 season with a 20-yard touchdown run with 9 minutes, 24 seconds left in the game. The play was set up by a 30-yard screen from Walker to Bell and a 24-yard pass to Randy Barker.
Cabool quickly answered. Manning had a 32-yard run on the next play and after two short rushes, shed three tackles en route to a 30-yard touchdown run.
The score was another sweep to the right.
“We got knocked off the ball defensively, but it came down to the fact that we didn’t tackle on the perimeter,” Williams said. “The plays that beat us were perimeter plays.”
CABOOL 21, HOUSTON 6
CAB – Manning 18 run (kick failed), 2:40.
CAB – Manning 28 (Manning run), 5:23.
HOU – Walker 20 run (run failed), 9:24.
CAB – Manning 30 run (Sigman kick), 7:48.
RUSHING — Cabool, Manning 21-230, Loman 11-54, McKee 9-34, Coen 1-1, Stillwell 2-0. Houston, Miller 6-65, Walker 15-24, Bell 4-21, Foster1-4.
PASSING — Cabool, Loman 0-2-0 0. Houston, Walker 8-15-0 102.
RECEIVING — Cabool, none. Houston, Bell 4-60, Barker 2-34, Stigall 1-4, TySmith 1-4.
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