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Lions dominate rushing department to bash Belton, 43-8

Ennis looks impressive in 2008 opener
There were plenty of reasons Ennis won its season opener in a big way 43-8 against the 5A Belton Tigers on Thursday night in Waco’s HEB Kickoff Classic, but none as impressive or important as the run game.
The Lions (1-0) rumbled for 295 yards at a clip of 10.1 yards per carry, while the Tigers (0-1) struggled mightily to compile 39 yards with a rate of 1.3 yards per tote. This was a key reason Ennis had 27 first downs compared to just 12 for Belton, including only three in the first half. The Lions lost the turnover battle (3-2) and piled up 13 penalties for 114 yards (12 Belton infractions for 87 yards), but their dominance elsewhere overshadowed the miscues.
“There were some good big plays in the first game and we did some things well,” said coach Sam Harrell.
“You can’t win them all if you don’t win the first one. On the other hand, we had glaring mistakes with all the penalties and turnovers, especially some turnovers that didn’t even look like they were forced.
“A lot of our penalties were holding calls and that’s inexcusable. We’ve got to get better with those things.”
In his first varsity start, quarterback D.J. Betik was impressive. The junior completed 77 percent of his passes for 191 yards with two touchdowns, a third score on the ground and no turnovers.
Offensive Player of the Game Kyle Guinyard tallied seven grabs for 87 yards and two touchdowns with 28 rushing yards on three carries.
Jyavon King broke an 81-yard touchdown run on his way to 141 yards on 10 totes. Deonte McDade also piled up the yardage with seven carries for 80 yards and a score to go with seven catches for 82 yards.
“This was a great experience for my first varsity start,” Betik said.
“When we avoided penalties, we looked good and executed.”
The defense owned Belton for most of the contest, led by Defensive Player of the Game Rob Boyd with his two sacks and a tackle for loss. Justin Piper and Kelvin Pace also had two sacks apiece, while Thomas Carter and J.D. Marrow split a sack. Chonston Williams and Will Pollan both intercepted passes as Dillon Swearengin contributed a tackle for loss. Playing well from the start, the Ennis defense didn’t allow a first down until 43 seconds remained in the first quarter.
“We prepared all week to be aggressive and get off blocks,” Boyd said.
“I think we came out and did that tonight.”
King showed signs of a strong night, and possibly a big season, when he galloped for 20 yards on Ennis’ first offensive play. He soon gained another first down on the ground, but two Lion penalties and a Tiger sack forced the maroon team’s lone punt of the night.
The defense made sure to give the Lion offense a second chance to make a first impression. Belton was held to a three-and-out thanks to sound tackles from Piper, Kory Krueger and Jason Minchew.
When the Lion offense set up shop at its own 33, McDade and Guinyard got the ball rolling with first downs on the ground. After Betik hit Blake Adams and McDade for consecutive first downs, the signal caller coasted in from two yards out behind his offensive line for a 7-0 lead (Colby Threet kick good).
“Right before the game, Coach Harrell decided we were going to start on offense instead of deferring like in past years [if we won the toss],” Betik said.
“We didn’t score on the first drive, but it was a good attitude to go into the game with.”
As the quarterback position coach, Harrell liked what he saw on Thursday night.
“D.J. did a really good job moving the offense and, more importantly, he took care of the ball,” Harrell said.
“That’s huge and it’s a good start for him. I really think he’s going to be an outstanding quarterback.”
The Ennis defense was simply locked in during the first half as a Swearengin tackle for loss forced another three and out. As soon as the offense stepped back on the field, King headed up the middle, and then flipped on the afterburners as he cut wide and sped 81 yards to paydirt for a 15-0 lead (McDade conversion run).
“It went exceptionally well for me out the gate tonight,” King said.
“The line blocked well and that’s all I needed. I think the [last] defender thought I was going to the inside, so I gave him a move and got outside.”
“Jyavon is really a lot faster than most people realize,” Harrell said.
“When he gets past that first level [of defense], he has a chance to go all the way. He hasn’t played running back very long and will keep improving.”
Just before the first quarter ended, Belton struggled its way to a first down. Symbolic of the evening, however, Boyd made a tackle for loss on the next play.
“[The early tackle for loss] really got me rolling,” Boyd said.
“Once you get up, you feel like you want to stay up.”
A Piper sack forced a punt early in the second quarter. If there was a bright spot for the Tigers, their punter came to play with a 40-yard average in five attempts.
Though McDade and King each ran for first downs while a Guinyard catch-and-run was good for 32 yards, a King fumble in front of the end zone gave the ball back to Belton at its own 4.
“It’s good to have a solid game, but I can do much better,” King said.
“I fumbled the ball and that’s hard to forget. Ball security is important for next week and we just have to keep driving.”
Once again, the Lion defense had the offense’s collective back. Minchew made consecutive tackles and a Boyd sack forced a punt.
“It feels good [to be named Defensive Player of the Game], but you have to stay humble,” Boyd said.
“I hope it’s just the beginning to a great season.”
“Rob lined up on their guard and center most of the night and whipped them most of the night,” Harrell said.
“He made some big plays and did what he was supposed to do play after play.”
Late in the half, Ennis advanced 59 yards to score. After Betik completed first-down passes to McDade and Charles Cox, the quarterback went up top to Guinyard, who made a stellar toe-tap grab in the back of the end zone from 18 yards out for a 22-0 lead (Threet kick).
“I told D.J. in practice that we’ve been doing this since junior high and he just needs to throw [the ball] up,” Guinyard said.
“He told me before the game he trusted me and we made it happen. We work on our timing all the time in practice. I thought I was out of bounds [on the score], but I tip-toed to stay in.”
Betik had a great view of his friend’s grab.
“The corner let Kyle go and it was a beautiful thing,” he said.
“We connected like we usually do.”
In the final seconds of the half, Piper tallied his second sack.
“Justin had two sacks and could’ve had five,” Harrell said.
“He’ll have better-tackling nights, but they did have a hard time blocking him.”

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

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