Last year, Hillcrest dominated neighborhood rival W.T. White in the season opener to kick off one of the best season in recent program history.
On Friday, the Longhorns turned the tables with a convincing 44-21 victory over the Panthers. Whether WTW will enjoy the same degree of success later this season remains to be seen — its district is much tougher, for one thing — but at least it’s a sign that things are moving in the right direction.
“They’re a good test because they’re a great team,” said third-year WTW head coach Rudy Powe. “Playing them really well at this point in the year is really good.”
Jackson Fults ran for two touchdowns and passed for two others as the Longhorns found the end zone on all four of their first-half possessions.
That helped WTW rally from an early deficit created when Hillcrest drove 71 yards on the game’s opening possession, and capped the drive with the first of three short touchdown runs by 275-pound fullback Gkarri McCoy.
After that, however, the Longhorns took control on both sides of scrimmage, with the WTW defense consistently pressuring new Hillcrest quarterback Brian Clifton.
“We really came out defensively and got better,” Powe said. “Getting stops on fourth down is something we didn’t do last year. We’re a lot better tacklers.”
Daniel Joof, who finished with a game-high 98 rushing yards, tied the game with a 15-yard touchdown run. The Hillcrest offense went backward on its next three possessions, including one that wound up with a WTW safety.
Then the Panthers were granted a reprieve on a muffed punt that set them up at the WTW 1-yard line, leading to a score that cut the deficit to 23-14 with 43 seconds left in the first half.
However, WTW’s Jakari Domino returned the ensuing kickoff to the Hillcrest 26, and Fults found Kylan Harrison for a touchdown on the next play, giving the Longhorns a comfortable lead they never relinquished.
WTW broke the game open early in the third quarter. A deep punt pinned the Panthers inside their own 5-yard line, leading to another safety. Following a short free kick, Fults scored on a 36-yard run to extend the advantage to 38-14.
The Longhorns will travel to North Garland next week, while Hillcrest will look to regroup against Lincoln.
In other games this week:
Jesuit 35, Arlington Bowie 0
What a difference a year makes for the Rangers, who allowed 872 yards and 72 points against Bowie last season. On Friday, they yielded just 111 yards and posted a shutout. New quarterback Jacob Palisch was efficient, completing 14 of 17 passes including a touchdown, while also rushing for a team-high 66 yards and a score.
St. Mark’s 34, Cistercian 33
William Caldwell caught his second touchdown pass from Matthew Placide with 1:41 remaining, helping the Lions rally from a 13-point deficit in the final five minutes. Placide also ran for a touchdown, while eight of his 17 completions went to Caldwell, who finished with 114 yards. The St. Mark’s defense forced three turnovers.
Parish Episcopal 50, Carrollton Ranchview 35
The Parish offense picked up where it left off following a TAPPS state title last year. Dominic Williams rushed for 164 yards and three touchdowns and also returned the opening kickoff for a score, while new quarterback Jeremy Hodge threw two touchdown passes. It was the 12th straight win for the Panthers, who had 306 rushing yards.
Greenhill 36, Pantego Christian 8
Jake Hershman and Konnell Woods each rushed for more than 100 yards and a touchdown for the Hornets (2-0), while Woods also found his brother Kassidy on a long scoring pass. Greenhill put together its second big offensive effort in a row by averaging more than 10 yards per play, while its defense recorded a safety.
Covenant 49, Fort Worth Calvary 8
Covenant School won its first game as an 11-man program by crushing Calvary. The Knights are transitioning to TAPPS Division III this season after increased enrollment allowed for the switch. They will play all but two of their games on the road, since they don’t have lights on their home field, and are in a tough district.