Big plays broke open a tight contest, as the Dickinson Gators posted a 47-7 win over the Texas City Stings on Friday at Sam Vitanza Stadium.
“We made some first-game mistakes like I thought we probably would, but we just have outstanding skill kids,” Dickinson head coach John Snelson said.
It was an uplifting season opener and return to the Friday nights for the Dickinson players, coaches, fans and community all devastated by the floods of Hurricane Harvey.
“It’s just teaching these kids some life lessons; as they get older, there’s going to be some bad things happen in their life, and they’re going to have to deal with it,” Snelson said.
Leading just 14-7 on their final possession of the second half with only 49.5 seconds on the clock at the start of the drive, a 10-yard run by running back Myles Lewis was followed by a huge 66-yard touchdown pass connection from quarterback Cameron Collins to tight end Jalen Wydermyer, and the Gators took a 21-7 lead into halftime.
Then, Dickinson got the play of the game to start the second half, as receiver Chris Welch took the opening kickoff 90 yards, darting from one sideline to the other midway through, for a touchdown and a 28-7 lead.
It was all Gators after that, as the offense added two more touchdowns in the third quarter — a 40-yard TD pass from Collins to receiver Montel Parker and a 20-yard TD run by Lewis — and the defense locked down as Dickinson’s lead ballooned to 41-7 heading into the final quarter.
“It kind of snowballed on us,” Texas City head coach Leland Surovik said. “I didn’t feel like we were mentally in it. We misaligned on defense, we misaligned on offense, and I don’t know where their heads were. If you can’t line up right, it’s hard to run an offense or defense. But, we’re going to correct that. Thank God we have an off week.”
Dickinson added one more score at the 9:08 mark of the fourth quarter with a 5-yard TD run by running back Emery Taylor to account for the final tally.
At the start of the contest, Dickinson didn’t look like the team playing in its first game of the season, scoring on its first two possessions of the game — aided by excellent field position both times.
The Gators methodically drove down the field on their first series, capping a 43-yard drive with a 2-yard TD run by Lewis to take a 7-0 lead just 3:30 into the game.
Dickinson got even better field position at Texas City’s 27-yard line in the following possession, and the Gators took little time in scoring, as Parker took an end-around 18 yards to pay dirt for a 14-0 lead at the 5:25 mark of the first quarter.
For much of the rest of the first half, the teams settled into a defensive struggle.
Texas City took advantage of a fortunate break after punter Alex Paz bobbled a low snap, but then raced 37 yards up field on the busted punt attempt, catching Dickinson’s punt coverage team napping for a first down.
Just a few plays later, multiple position player C.J. Yell took a screen pass from quarterback Phillip McDaniel 13 yards to the end zone to cut Dickinson’s lead to 14-7 at the 9:06 mark of the second quarter.
Dickinson showed a balanced look on offense with 175 passing yards (159 of which came from Collins) and two passing TDs, and 180 rushing yards and four rushing TDs.
Primarily used late in the game to eat up yards and clock, Jordan Green was the leading rusher with 79 yards on 11 carries. Lewis finished with 53 yards and two TDs on 13 carries.
Texas City was held to 145 total yards (including a net of 5 yards in the second half).
Up next for Dickinson is a home game 7 p.m. next Friday against Fort Bend Ridge Point. Texas City has a bye week before its District 23-5A debut 7 p.m. next Friday at home against Ball High.