After a wet and sloppy morning gave way to blue skies and sunshine, it was the Texas City Stingarees who stormed in to spoil homecoming for the Clear Lake Falcons with a 24-9 win at Challenger Columbia Stadium on Friday night.
“We played better as a team tonight,” Texas City coach Leland Surovik said. “As long as we play together as a team, and we pull for one another, and we do the things we need to do to support everybody, we’re a pretty good team.”
The Stings (1-2) stymied Clear Lake’s (0-3) offense at every turn for the first four drives of the game, resulting in the Falcons punting three times and turning the ball over once on an errant pass from quarterback Shae Suianoa that was corralled by Texas City cornerback Dayton Booker and subsequently returned to the 1-yard-line.
That play set the Stings up for their first score of the night — a bruising single-yard plunge across the goal line by fullback T.J. Fountain.
Texas City added to its lead in the second quarter when Jo’Vel McDaniel scampered into the end zone from 16 yards out to put the Stings up 14-0.
Clear Lake threatened with a field goal early in the third quarter, but it was the Stings who ultimately owned the second half.
McDaniel scored for the second time of the night to cap an eight-play drive that put Texas City up 21-3 just minutes into the fourth quarter. And then Ricardo Robledo added three points on a 35-yard field goal with just 1:22 left in the contest.
McDaniel finished the game with 31 carries for 156 yards and the two touchdowns.
“His effort was great,” Surovik said after the game. “But he can’t do it alone, you know? I was pleased with the O-line. … The fullbacks blocked well. And I was proud of [quarterback] Brayden [Torres]. Brayden stepped up in his first game, you know. He’s been Phillip [McDaniel’s] backup. He’s been working hard, and he’s been doing everything he needs to do for a game like tonight. And he did a great job.”
The Texas City defense held the Clear Lake offense without a touchdown until the final minute of the game, sacking the Falcons’ playmaking quarterback Suianoa four times, and racking up six additional tackles for negative gains.
“[Suianoa] is a heck of a player,” Surovik said. “But the secondary covered well, we got great pressure up front, and we just had to bottle him up. … We knew he was going to make plays, we knew he was going to do some things, but we told our kids, ‘You can’t get frustrated. He’s a great player. We’ve just got to play together as a defense.’”
Suianoa finished the game 13-for-33, passing for 203 yards and a touchdown, and ran the ball 18 times for 74 yards.
The Stings get a week off before traveling to Friendswood to begin district play against the Mustangs.