District play gives the Houston football team a welcome fresh start.
The Tigers’ 0-7 record following Friday’s 50-19 loss to Thayer means nothing in the Missouri playoff system. All that matters moving forward is how each team fairs in the final three games of the season.
Houston has struggled in 2011. But so have three of the four teams in the district. Mountain View-Liberty is undefeated. Cuba, Willow Springs and the Tigers are all winless.
The top two teams in each district advance to the playoffs. That gives hope to Houston and Willow Springs, who square off Friday night at Tiger Stadium.
“They are kind of a mirror image of us,” HHS coach David Williams said. “I talked about it after the game. It doesn’t matter what has happened up to now.”
Houston (0-7, 0-5 South Central Association) takes a few positives into district play.
The Tigers produced a season-best 367 yards of total offense — 14 more than Thayer — en route to a season-high point total. An offense that had struggled running the ball gained 341 yards on 36 carries against the Bobcats.
Quarterback Weston Walker gained 132 yards on 14 carries and scored a touchdown. Drake Bell had 12 rushes for 98 yards, Austin Foster gained 52 yards off the bench and Tyler Smith had a 49-yard touchdown run on an option pitch from Walker.
Houston did struggle with turnovers, though. The Tigers lost three fumbles and Walker threw an interception. Thayer also blocked a punt.
“We saw improvement,” Williams said. “We’re just not consistent with it.”
Thayer (5-2, 4-2 SCA) got a pair of touchdown passes from Brandon Childers and Mitch Webber to take a 30-0 lead just 16 seconds into the second quarter.
Houston trailed 37-0 in the second when Walker sprinted 33 yards into the end zone.
It was a 44-6 deficit when Foster broke a long run as he headed for the end zone. He fumbled as he was tackled at the 11-yard line, but teammate Jacob Kelley scooped up the ball and ran it the final 11 yards for a score. Rodney Preheim made the extra point.
Smith scored on his touchdown run with 1:44 left in the game.
Williams said effort continues to be an issue for his team.
“I see some kids out there busting their butts,” Williams said, “and some aren’t. That won’t work.”
THAYER 50, HOUSTON 19
THA – Cabrales 8 pass from Childers (Childers run), 7:40.
THA – Dennis 45 pass from Childers (Blair run), 6:07.
THA – Hargrove 54 pass from Webber (Webber pass from Blair), :03.
THA – Blair 19 run (pass failed), 11:44.
THA – Cabrales 25 pass from Webber (Cabrales kick), 8:53.
HOU – WWalker 33 run (run failed), 7:14.
THA – Cabrales 63 run (Cabrales kick), 6:57.
HOU – Kelley 11 run (Preheim kick), 9:40.
THA – Hargrove 5 pass from Webber (kick failed), 6:26.
HOU – TySmith 49 run (kick failed), 1:44
RUSHING — Thayer, Blair 10-87, Cabrales 5-85, Barton 8-14, Foley 3-3, Burke 2-3, Webber 1-2, Ary 1-(minus-3), Honeycutt 4-(minus-13). Houston, WWalker 14-132, Bell 12-98, Foster 7-52, TySmith 1-49, TaSmith 1-2, Stigall 1-(minus-3).
PASSING — Thayer, Webber 5-7-0 133, Childers 2-2-0 40, Foley 1-2-0 2. Houston, WWalker 4-15-1 26.
RECEIVING — Thayer, Hargrove 2-59, Henry 2-49, Cabrales 2-33, Alford 1-32, Howell 1-2. Houston, Stigall 3-20, Kelley 1-6.