The Rockport-Fulton High School (RFHS) Pirate football team was unstoppable on the ground against the Hondo Owls, running for a combined 508 yards in its 56-25 victory Friday, Nov. 22 at Edgewood Veterans Stadium in San Antonio.
RFHS improves its overall record to 9-3.
The Pirates combination of Joe Franks, Garrett Loudermilk, and Ryan Wells simply could not be stopped by the Owls as the offense churned for 508 yards, battering and slicing up Hondo’s defense all night.
“I thought it was about as ‘complete’ a game as we can play and for the first time in a while we played a whole game,” said RFHS Head Football Coach Jay Seibert.
The Pirates opened the first quarter with a seven-minute drive and scored on a short touchdown (TD) run by Loudermilk. Loudermilk and Franks converted on fourth down conversions during the drive to keep it going. A missed extra point put RFHS up 6-0.
Hondo followed with a long drive of its own into Pirate territory. However, after being held to fourth down, the Owls tried a fourth down conversion of its own and were stopped short by a one-handed, jersey grabbing tackle of the Hondo quarterback by Nathan Cason.
To open the second quarter, Wells converted a 4th and one to prolong RFHS’ drive. Franks then took off for a 45-yard run to put RFHS just outside the Hondo redzone. After another tough fourth down conversion by Franks, Loudermilk found the endzone again from eight yards out. Franks ran in the two-point conversion after to put RFHS up 14-0.
Hondo was held to a punt in its next possession that led to another Pirate score. Loudermilk and Franks took off for big runs that put RFHS inside the redzone. Wells ran straight up the gut, untouched, for a 19-yard TD to make it 21-0.
In Hondo’s next possession, an Owl back took it up field for a short gain before the ball was popped out by Chris Darnold. Ty Klender fell on the loose ball for a takeaway.
With the help of a couple personal foul calls, RFHS quickly got back inside the Hondo endzone on a 14-yard TD run by Wells.
With two minutes remaining, RFHS appeared to be heading into the half with a comfortable 28-0 lead. However, a series of unfortunate events put Hondo back in it.
In Hondo’s next drive, the Owls scored quickly on a 65-yard TD pass.
With time ticking, RFHS got the ball back and appeared to score a huge 80-yard TD run by Franks, however, the TD was called back because Franks made a “peace sign” gesture with his hand and was flagged for taunting. The penalty was considered a spot foul and put the Pirates on the Hondo 20-yard line. Following a couple more penalties that backed up RFHS even more, a fumble put the ball into the hands of a Hondo linebacker and was returned for a 40-yard TD.
The Pirates got the ball back with less than 30 seconds remaining and kneeled it to end the half 28-13.
“The last two minutes before the half was a little ugly,” said Seibert. “But if you take out those last two minutes before the half they only scored seven points and then got the one late touchdown, that didn’t matter.”
Hondo received the kickoff to start the second half and were forced to punt following a penalty.
RFHS didn’t lose a step opening the second half as they marched down the field with runs by Loudermilk, Franks, and Wells. Cass Flores finished the drive on a short TD run.
In Hondo’s next possession, the Owls were assisted by a couple penalties on the Pirate defense and finished with a score on a fade route to the endzone to make it 35-19.
RFHS went on another successful drive with chunk runs by Franks that led to an 11-yard TD run by Franks.
RFHS ended the third quarter with a takeaway following Franks’ score. The Owls completed a pass that looked to be good for a short gain. However, George Marable and Darnold converged on the receiver to knock the ball out. Marable was credited for the fumble and it was picked up by Phillip Krupa.
RFHS opened the fourth quarter with a short TD run by Wells to make it 49-19.
Back on defense, the Pirates put the proverbial nail in the coffin for the Owls.
Hondo, deep in its own territory, looked to complete a pass downfield but was picked off by Clay Williams. Williams ran it back for a 44-yard pick six to give the Pirates a comfortable 56-19 lead.
RFHS eventually took its foot off the gas and rested its starters.
Hondo scored once more to put the final score at 56-25.
Franks led RFHS in rushing yards with 193 on 15 attempts for one TD.
Wells led RFHS in TD’s with three and rushed 17 times for 108 yards.
Loudermilk rushed 17 times for 176 yards and two TD’s.
For the second year in a row, the Pirates will advance to the third round of the 4A Div. II playoffs.
The Pirates will play the Wimberley Texans at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 29 in Beeville.
“Everyone in Rockport needs to come out and support these boys because we got a chance to go to the fourth round and it’s going to be a great game over Thanksgiving,” said Seibert.
Wimberley comes in as a second seed with a 9-3 record out of district 13 in 4A Division II.