In their final game of the season, the Denton Broncos learned they have much work to do in the offseason if they want to be contenders in District 5-4A next season.
The Broncos’ win over Wichita Falls last month gave them their first and only district win of the season after failing to win any in 2011.
“We were predicted to finish last in our district and we didn’t finish last,” head coach Kevin Atkinson said. “They won one game last year, and we won three this year. That’s all part of laying the foundation. We probably could have made some quick fixes and made our foundation on sand, but that foundation doesn’t stay with real adversity. My decision had that in mind, and we have to do things that aren’t necessarily that popular.”
However, the Broncos’ frequent weaknesses of holes in their run defense and inconsistency on the offensive side of the ball were evident in their 52-14 loss to Trophy Club Nelson at Bronco Stadium on Friday night.
“I thought they [seniors] played with their hearts out in front everybody,” Atkinson said. “They gave great effort. I was really proud of their attitudes. They could have gone the other way, but they chose not to do that and I was proud of that.”
The Bobcats, who were eliminated from playoff contention with a Lake Dallas victory by eight points over Azle, ran 40 times for 274 yards with junior running back Tylor Blake accounting for 151 yards on 16 carries. Senior quarterback Blake Clinton also had two rushing touchdowns and 127 yards passing with one touchdown.
Conversely, the Broncos’ negative plays on sacks and high snaps, many of which hampered Denton’s offensive drives after solid gains and led to a total of minus-4 yards rushing.
“We would string a couple plays and then get a negative play,” Atkinson said. “It’s a lot like playing golf. You can hit a good shot off the tee box, but you have to hit a good approach shot. You have to string those plays together to get that momentum and more importantly keep the defense off the field. They stayed on the field the whole game and finally we put some drives together in the second half, which I was really proud of.”
After Denton (3-7, 1-6 district) went three-and-out on its first possession, four straight runs by the Bobcats, capped by a 13-yard outside run for a touchdown by sophomore running back Courtney Miles, gave Nelson an early 7-0 lead.
Another three-and-out for Denton gave the Bobcats the ball at their own 45-yard line. Much like the first offensive drive, it took only four plays, including two plays of more than 20 yards, before Blake took the inside carry for a 1-yard touchdown to give the Bobcats a quick 14-0 advantage.
Then, a controversial call on a backward pass from Cy Ward to Tre’Von Jackson was ruled as a fumble at Denton’s 24-yard line. It didn’t take much time to for Nelson to make it 21-0 as Clinton found Miles on the next play for a 24-yard touchdown on a fading pass to the left end zone.
Trenton Shank’s 29-yard field goal made it 24-0 at the beginning of the second quarter.
After a 14-yard sack on Luke Satterfield, Denton was forced to punt again. This time, it took the Bobcats nine plays to go 52 yards, with Clinton taking the play-action bootleg run to the right for a 9-yard touchdown to put Nelson up 31-0 with 5:48 left in the second quarter.
The Broncos finally broke their scoring drought after a good kick return led to a seven-play drive, culminating on a fourth-down conversion hookup from Ward to Ke’Von Buris for an 11-yard touchdown. Buris caught the quick pass on the left side of the field, yards short of the end zone and stretched out for the touchdown as he was being tackled to bring the score to 31-7.
“There is no quit in our kids,” Atkinson said. “That’s something you really have to look at. We played a clean game and didn’t have many penalties which is something to build on.”
Unfortunately, for the Broncos, the Nelson offense used one of its several great kick returns to set up a quick, four-play drive that Blake finished off with a cutback-filled, tackle-breaking 44-yard touchdown up the middle of the defense to put the Bobcats up 38-7 with 49 seconds remaining in the half.
“They executed really well,” Atkinson said. “What they were doing was a testament to us that we have a lot of work to do in the weight room. They’ve done a really good job in the weight room and with us being a new program, it paid them some dividends. We have to string together some months in the weight room.”
The second half didn’t yield as many points for the Bobcats (7-3, 4-3), but a crucial pass interference call midway through the third quarter gave Nelson the ball at the Denton 2-yard line. After a 1-yard carry Lance Honeycutt, Clinton punched in for the touchdown to give the Bobcats a 45-7 lead.
The Broncos were able to make it 45-14 after their longest drive of 15 plays was capped with a 12-yard pass from Ward to Key’andre Hearvey.
On the ensuing offensive drive for the Bobcats, they used seven more rushes to make it 52-14 with a 4-yard touchdown by Honeycutt.
PATRICK HAYSLIP can be reached at 940-566-6873. His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org .
Trophy Club Nelson 52, Denton 14
Trophy Club Nelson
N — Courtney Miles 13 run (Trenton Shank kick), 8:43
N — Tylor Blake 1 run (Shank kick), 5:38
N — Miles 24 pass from Clinton (Shank kick), 4:47
N — Shank 29 FG, 10:31
N — Clinton 9 run (Shank kick), 5:48
D — Buris 11 pass from Cy Ward (Husbands kick), 1:32
N — Blake 44 run (Shank kick), :49
N — Clinton 1 run (Shank kick), 7:10
D — Key’andre Hearvey 12 pass from Cy Ward (Husbands kick), 8:38
BN – Lance Honeycutt 4 run (Shank kick), 5:06
Rushing — N: Tylor Blake 16-151, Courtney Miles 10-66, Blake Clinton 4-11, Lance Honeycutt 2-9, Esteban Ortega 6-26, Drew Dehaven 2-11. D: Tre’Von Jackson 12-23, Deavonte Doucet 4-20, Cy Ward 6-(-34), Luke Satterfield 1-(-14), Deandre Coleman 1-1.
Passing — N: Blake Clinton 11-16-0 127; D: Cy Ward 15-22-0 149, Luke Satterfield 2-4-1 23.
Receiving — N: Hayden Sanders 2-30, Brandon Flieschmann 5-45, Courtney Miles 2-26, Esteban Ortega 1-12, Drew Dehaven 1-14; D: Daniel Wilson 2-10, Key’andre Hearvey 2-22, Deandre Coleman 3-32, Ke’Von Buris 5-61, Tre’Von Jackson 2-6, Deavonte Doucet 2-18, Adarian Harris 1-23.