The Baytown Sterling offense could not take advantage of a number of drives that started in Friendswood’s half of the field and an opportunity for a big win went by the wayside in a 14-7 defeat Saturday at Stallworth Stadium.
Sterling is now 1-3 overall and 0-2 in District 9-5A-I, while the visiting Mustangs moved to 1-3 and 1-1.
The first half was spent mostly in the Friendswood half of the field, and Sterling had some golden opportunities to jump out to an early lead but failed to do so.
Craig Caldwell and Oscar Garcia recovered fumbles on back-to-back opening Friendswood drives in the Mustangs' half of the field, but could not move the ball to take advantage.
The teams basically exchanged short drives of 20-or-so yards for most of the first 20 minutes until Friendswood finally got rolling and scored on a 3-yard keeper by quarterback Noah Palitz with 2:56 left before the intermission to account for the Mustangs 7-0 halftime lead and cap off a long drive that started deep in their own territory.
Matthew Dupuis stepped in at quarterback in the second half and engineered a nice drive into Sterling territory setting up a 25-yard field goal attempt with 6 minutes left at the third quarter, but the play failed and Sterling remained within a score of the lead.
Palitz returned and scored on a 7-yard run just north of the two-minute mark of the third quarter to put Friendswood up 14-0 and get the needed breathing room in a game that found scoring difficult.
However, with 2:30 left in the game new Sterling quarterback Irmonte Givens hit Maddox Wilkinson with a 9-yard touchdown pass to cut the Friendswood lead in half, but the rally fell short.
RSS recovered the ensuing onside kick, but could not capitalize as the drive bogged down around midfield.
Friendswood's defense held Sterling to just 80 total yards of offense and five first downs in the game. Meanwhile, the Mustangs totaled 248 yards of offense with all but 15 of those yards coming from a four-pronged rushing attack.
Palitz (18 carries, 78 yards), Isaiah Daniels (18 carries, 66 yards), Aidan Stokes (nine carries, 54 yards) and Caleb Corkran (five carries, 33 yards) led the Mustangs' offense.