Broncos overwhelm Bucs in game’s final 10 minutes

Published 6:00 am Saturday, September 16, 2023

In a second half with wild momentum swings, Sam Houston rallied after a major fumble to beat rival Barbe 36-22 Friday night at Buccaneer Stadium to stay undefeated.

Down 22-16 with 9:12 to go after a fumble aided an 80-yard Barbe scoring drive, Sam Houston (3-0, 2-0 District 3-5A) scored on three consecutive drives to take over the game.

“One of the things that we talked about this week was adversity,” Sam Houston head coach Chad Davis said. “We knew there would be some adversity in the game, and the kids did a good job of overcoming that.

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“Our motto for the last couple of weeks has been to prove it, and we proved it. Our guys did a really good job of staying focused and understanding that it is a whole team effort. They all came together and they played really hard.”

With an 80-yard, 13-play drive, the Broncos swung the momentum back in their favor as they pounded away with their ground game and took back the lead on an 8-yard run by Everett Pertle. Then the defense picked off its third pass of the game. Elijah Scarborough’s pick-six was called back due to a block-in-the-back penalty, but Pertle found the end zone again on a 36-yard run, and Drew Bailey scored on a 24-yard run with 1:12 left.

Sam Houston racked up 309 of its 424 yards on the ground. Bailey finished with 123 on 22 carries, and Pertle added 99 on 13 carries.

“We have been running the football extremely well,” Davis said. “We are very balanced and very proud of our guys.

“The offensive line is doing a great job, and the running backs are doing a great job. (Bailey and Pertle) are two different guys. One of them is really good at one thing, and one of them is really good at the other. But they are a good balance between the two.”

On their first play of the fourth quarter, Sam Houston looked like it had taken a 22-14 lead. From the Bucs 20-yard line, Gavin Stout found Ayden Rose, but he lost the ball as he stretched for the goal line and the ball bounded out of the back of the end zone.

Barbe flipped the script and took a 22-16 lead with an eight-play, 80-yard drive, ending on junior running back Eric Jones’ 6-yard run with 9:12 left in the game.

“It was a momentum swing,” Barbe head coach Skeet Owens said. “It felt great.

“We just made some mental mistakes and young mistakes. The defense was on the field way too long in the first half, almost 50 snaps. They were just worn out, and it was a muggy night. It is tough. We had them. We just made young, correctable mistakes.”

Barbe (1-2, 0-2) had all the momentum early in the third when it cut the Broncos’ lead to 16-14 on a 38-yard flea-flicker from Collin Harris to Jones. Jones had 136 rushing yards on 24 carries and caught three passes for 51 yards.

Barbe came out on fire and took a 7-0 lead into the second quarter. Jones made two big plays, a 15-yard reception on second-and-1 and a 12-yard scamper that put the Bucs in the red zone. Freshman quarterback Jelandon Gray capped the drive with a 5-yard run.

The Buc defense was solid in the first quarter, keeping the high-powered Broncos out of the end zone. The Bucs forced Sam Houston into a three-and-out on its first drive, then Tyler Rudd recovered a fumble in the red zone with the Broncos threatening to score. Barbe made another stop when it forced a turnover on downs at the Bucs 21 with 2:29 left in the first quarter.

Sam Houston struggled in the first 12 minutes to finish drives but exploded for 16 points in the second quarter. A 56-yard drive that started late in the first quarter got things started for the Broncos with freshman Gavin Breaux bullying his way from 2 yards out to tie the score at 7-7.