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E-train blasts Waco Lions off the tracks in 48-14 blowout

Lions deliver showstopping first half of football
The Waco Lions (2-2, 0-1) were the 16-4A favorites entering the ’08 season, but the Ennis Lions (4-0, 1-0) made a statement heard around the district on Friday night.
Ennis played at a championship level in the first half to roll to a 35-7 lead and then onto a 48-14 win. The maroon team was literally a penalty and a long touchdown run away from a shutout.
“I didn’t dream we’d be able to win this game like that,” said coach Sam Harrell.
“It’s a compliment to how hard and extra special our kids played on both sides of the ball. We made some huge plays and won the hitting contest.
“It’s probably been several years since we played a half of football like that. We really played well the second half too; it was just a different set of circumstances with the lead we had.”
Ennis won the turnover battle 2-0 and piled up 509 yards of offense. The Lion rushing attack has been sensational this season and that continued on Friday as Ennis averaged seven yards per carry. The vaunted Waco ground game averaged 5.4 yards per tote, but that figure was due in large part to a late 67-yard touchdown run.
D.J. Betik was tremendous in the victory as he threw for three scores, ran for a fourth and averaged 10.7 yards per pass attempt. Running back Tim Hearne continues to be a revelation as he piled up 192 yards of offense with three touchdowns. Like clockwork, receivers Kyle Guinyard (6-98-0) and Deonte McDade (6-75-1) hauled in a dozen of Betik’s passes.
Thomas Carter led the charge defensively with two fumble recoveries and two tackles for loss. Jyavon King (forced fumble, tackle for loss), Miguel Almanza (tackle for loss) and Dillon Swearengin (tackle for loss) also gave Waco problems. A host of Lions registered a sack as an individual couldn’t be identified.
“It was a great defensive effort and probably the first time this year we definitely won the hitting contest,” said defensive coordinator Paul Willingham.
“That’s an accomplishment against a Waco High team. Every guy took care of his responsibilities tonight. Our offense is awesome and they always come out strong to give us a lead to play with.”
Ennis explodes out of the gate
Betik rolled out to hit Blake Adams for a 13-yard gain on the first offensive play and Ennis was off to the races. Betik went back to the air for first downs to Guinyard and Adams before finding Charles Cox wide open in the end zone for an 18-yard score (7-0, Colby Threet kick good).
“I saw the linebacker roll out and he left me open so I could take advantage of my opportunity,” Cox said.
“We’re helping our main receiver Kyle Guinyard with guys like Blake Adams and [McDade] stepping up around him. Waco is a pretty good team, but we just executed better and won the game.”
“D.J. just does a good job of making his reads, like on the throw to [Cox] in the end zone,” Harrell added.
“Kyle is the No. 1 receiver on that play and [Cox] is No. 2; D.J. saw a man on Kyle and made the throw to Chuck for the score.”
Waco wanted to answer on its first possession, but Justin Piper came up huge on third down with a diving shoestring tackle to force a punt.
“Piper had himself a good game; especially against the speed option,” Willingham said.
“Rob [Boyd] also played well up front.”
Ennis set up shop 97 yards from paydirt, but Hearne reduced that number in a hurry with a 19-yard scamper. Betik completed a couple of first-down passes (McDade, Guinyard) before McDade made good on a juggling 31-yard grab. Two plays later, Hearne sliced up the middle for a 13-yard touchdown (14-0, kick good).
“I’ve just been training hard with Coach [Bryan] Clark and he tells me to hit the hole hard,” Hearne said.
“I don’t think too hard out there; I just run. Thanks to the O-line for opening some holes for me.”
“I guess [Waco] couldn’t see Tim and he’s so quick that he did great out there,” Betik added.
Waco desperately needed a spark at this point and got one via a 68-yard kick return from Lamarquet Jones. Sound tackles from King, Boyd and Carter brought up a 33-yard field goal attempt that Ernesto Guevara booted wide right, but Ennis was flagged for making an illegal attempt to block the kick. The ensuing first down put Waco in great position and Bronsha Dugas managed to dive over the pile for a one-yard touchdown (14-7, kick good).
The Lion offense was in full effect into the second quarter when Betik found Guinyard over the deep middle for 29 yards. While Ennis soon faced fourth down, Betik rolled out and completed a 10-yard pass to Guinyard to further deflate the Waco defense.
Three plays later, Betik saw McDade open down the field and the senior dove into the end zone after a 20-yard reception (21-7, kick good). Most of Betik’s big-time throws on the night came after he rolled out to buy time.
“I knew [the defender] tried to press me and I got around him,” McDade said.
“D.J. threw it on time and I just dove for the end zone. We can pass or run; we have a great offense.”
“Deonte and Kyle make you look good because they can always make a play,” Betik added.
The red Lions marched into Ennis territory on their next drive before facing fourth-and-one. Almanza and Chonston Williams came up huge to stuff Toylon Clark for no gain to get the ball back.
“Coach [Gary] Jessie is doing a great job with the D-line and he said Miguel might be the smartest player he’s ever coached,” Willingham said.
“He’s undersized, but very strong. Chonston did a good job of filling his gaps and leading the defense [at linebacker].”
On the second play for the Ennis offense, Hearne got open down the middle and streaked to the house on a 54-yard touchdown reception (28-7, kick good).
“I just remember people screaming and we’ve been working on that play since the spring,” Hearne said.
“D.J. said it was my time. I always knew I could do this and the coaches gave me a chance.”
“We had to set the tone knowing Waco wanted to get us back for the playoff game last year,” Betik added.
“We made big plays early to win big.”
Already in a world of hurt, Waco lost a fumble on the kick return and Carter pounced on it.
“Everyday in practice we train hard pursuing the ball; I did what I was coached to do,” Carter said.
“We’ve been talking about going after the ball for the last three weeks and it’s good to see some of them hitting the ground,” Willingham added.
Just 20 yards out, King ran for a first down and then Betik called his own number – hurdling a defender as he made good on a nine-yard touchdown run (35-7, kick good).
The second half of the quarter was all about a marathon drive for Waco. After converting one fourth down, the red Lions looked to do it again before a false start tripped them up. A 40-yard field-goal attempt never materialized as the holder fumbled the snap and threw an incomplete pass, which mercifully brought the half to an end for Waco.
Lion ground game shines down stretch
While the Ennis offense barely saw the field in the third quarter, that wasn’t exactly great news for Waco as it had to endure a couple of fourth-down disasters. The red Lions marched all the way down to the Ennis 8 before facing fourth-and-one. The home team made a timeout count as Swearengin stopped Dugas behind the line of scrimmage.
“[Micah] Kemp and [Bronson] Prachyl give us some much-needed size for those short-yardage situations,” Willingham said.
“We just committed everybody to the run on those fourth-down plays.”
After an Ennis punt, Waco drove back down to the Ennis 20 at the end of the quarter looking for a second score. On fourth-and-five, receiver Denzel Mitchell went wide on a reverse looking to pass, but King forced him to fumble and Carter jumped on the pigskin once again.
“Coach always tells us to bow our neck,” Carter said.
“We’re a good defense and did what we had to do on fourth down. The defensive line – me, Rob, Piper, Miguel and [Kelvin Pace] – we practice hard everyday like we’re in a game and it really helps.”
“You can’t say enough about the job Jyavon did on both sides of the ball,” Willingham added.
The fourth quarter was all about a heavy dose of Hearne and the O-line to pummel Waco into submission.
After Betik earned first downs with a keeper and a pass to Guinyard, Hearne broke off a 34-yard run and then scored from a yard out (42-7, kick good).
“We knew this O-line group was special,” Harrell said.
“They have a great bond and are the best O-line we’ve had in several years. Waco’s defensive front was bigger and very athletic, but our guys were gashing them all night.”
Though Waco quarterback Kollin Kahler managed to rip off a 67-yard touchdown run moments later (42-14, kick good), it just meant his team’s defense had more time to get trounced by Hearne. The speedy senior carried the ball 10-straight times at one point on Ennis’ final drive. Waco simply had no answer for Tim before he finally gave way to King, who finalized the score with a seven-yard run (48-14, Betik conversion pass failed).
“Tim ran so hard and secured the football; all you can say is ‘wow,’” Harrell said.
“It doesn’t matter how big you are when you play like he did tonight.”
Ennis will now travel to Waxahachie on Friday for a 7:30 p.m. contest. Jason Vavra, Threet and Prachyl were all banged up in the victory and will do their best to heal up this week.
“I want us to get healthy because we’re not very deep on the roster; I know we’ll be up for the game,” Harrell said.
“I’ve been ready to see Waxahachie,” McDade added.

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Posted by on Sep 29 2008. Filed under Editorials. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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