TATUM - The Tatum Eagles, 8-1 (4-1) scored 21-second quarter points in route to a 35-14 victory over the White Oak Roughnecks, 4-5 (1-4). In spite of the score, it was a tough contest.
Seemingly, every team, regardless of their record, is playing their best game of the year against the Eagles. And Tatum HC and AD Jason Holman agreed. “Yes, I think they do,” he stated. And while this is true, it is also true that the Eagles are often their own worst enemy. “We didn’t help ourselves at times with our alignment, and we missed way too many tackles,” added Holman. But take nothing away from White Oak. Their QB, Cayson Siegley is talented and can really throw the ball. “He is a good player. Yeah, he has good speed as well,” said Holman.
Part of the alignment problem is new people in new positions because of injuries. “We definitely missed the production that Trey Fite brings to the defense, and we certainly could have used Jayden Boyd offensively,” said Holman. “So all in all, I was happy to get the win!” he added.
After a scoreless first, the Eagles got on the board early in the second when QB Kendric Malone took it over from a yard out, capping an 80 yard, 11 play drive. Along the way he had runs of 18, 15 and eight yards and completed a 21-yard pass to Cam’ron Redwine. Jose Ventura added the PAT. He converted on all his chances.
But White Oak quickly answered. Siegley connected with WR Noah Carter who took it home from 86 yards away. With the Aven Whittington PAT, the game was tied at 10:37 of the second. “We had a bust in alignment in the secondary that allowed their first TD,” stated Holman. That should have never happened, but it has been a revolving door at Safety with the injuries to Ty Bridges and Jaylon Jones. So I am going to chalk that one up to a lack of experience,” he concluded.
After the WO touchdown, Tatum would answer with a score, the third TD in the game in consecutive possessions.
Tatum RB Jacoby Norris bulled over from a yard out ending a 53 yard, four-play drive highlighted by Malone completions of 40 and 12 yards to WR Kendall Williams. The Eagles would score again with 15 ticks left, this time in a drive that covered 56 yards in nine plays. Malone connected with Remington O’Bryan for 11 and Redwine for nine. Norris ran for 12 and Malone rushed for 13, three, and the last yard for the score. At the break the Eagles led 21-7.
Tatum added seven more in the third. Malone connected with O’Bryan from 17 out.
The 49-yard drive took eight plays. Malone ran for eight and connected with Redwine for 22 and O’Bryan for seven. After three, Tatum 28-7.
A 78 yard, seven-play drive early in the fourth gave the Eagles a comfortable 28 point cushion. Starting at their own 22, Malone ran for eight, Quentin Harmon dashed for 34 and five. Three plays netted 18 and Malone again connected with Williams who scampered home from 13. Again, Ventura converted the PAT.
WO RB De Williams scored from a yard out at the 7:29 score to cap the scoring for the night for the Roughnecks. The ‘Necks tried a field goal as time expired that was blocked by Tatum’s Jackson Richardson.
Who played well for Tatum? “Offensively, Malone had a good night with over 300 yards of offense (219 passing, 103 rushing) and 4 TD’s. Williams and Redwine both had good nights catching the ball,” stated Holman.
On the defensive side, “Redwine had a good night at Safety (his 2nd start there this year) with 8 tackles, and 1 TFL. Richardson had 8 tackles as well, and Nick Calhoun and Daymien Smith tied for 2nd with 4 tackles each.”
Sabine is next up for the Eagles on Friday night, and they are talented. Holman stated, “Sabine is a quality team. Their Senior QB Jace Burns makes them go. He is a true dual threat QB, (he can pass and run), that will hurt you if you don’t keep him contained. They have a quality receiving core as well. Defensively they swarm the ball and play hard. We will have to be at our best and limit our mistakes in order to get the win on the road.”
The Eagles are headed for the postseason, but the seeding is still up for grabs.
“Although we have secured a spot in the playoffs, this is an important game in terms of who we would match up with,” stated Holman. With the Gladewater Bears coming out on top, “This will be the battle for 2nd place which means the winner would play the 3rd place team from District 5-3A, rather than the 2nd. So, I think our kids know the importance of the game and will be focused on the task at hand. As far as we are concerned, the playoffs begin Friday night!”