Keller Fossil Ridge Pulls Away From Tyler Lee For 48-26 Victory In Red Raiders’ Season Opener
TYLER -- What third-year Tyler Lee coach Darrell Piske hopes is a revamped defense did its best to keep the Red Raiders in Saturday night's season opener, before coming undone down the stretch.
Keshawn Mitchell rushed for three of his four touchdowns in the fourth quarter to lead Keller Fossil Ridge to a 48-26 victory over Lee in the finale of the 11th annual Trinity Mother Frances Kickoff Classic at Rose Stadium.
Mitchell rushed for a game-high 158 yards on 26 carries, scoring on runs of 11, 42 and 5 yards in the final 12 minutes, helping break open what was a one-score game entering the fourth period.
"All they've got to do is tackle better and they've got to play the fade ball better," Piske said of his team's defensive effort. "Other than that, I thought the rest of the coverage was good. The kids were in the right position, and we filled good most times. At the end we got sloppy, real sloppy on our tackling."
Fossil Ridge's rushing attack was held in check through two quarters, but the Panthers rolled up 181 yards on the ground in the second half after netting only 73 before halftime.
With the Panthers clinging to a 27-19 lead early in the fourth, Fossil Ridge began at the Lee 36-yard line after a 30-yard punt from deep inside Lee territory. Six of the seven plays on the drive were on the ground, finished off by Mitchell's 11-yard scoring run, which increased the lead to 34-19 with 6:57 remaining.
Following a Lee three-and-out, Fossil Ridge got a clutch 15-yard completion on third-and-10 from Gabe Monk to Cody Seidel, which immediately preceded Mitchell's second touchdown of the quarter -- a powerful, 42-yard burst that pushed the Panthers' lead to 41-19 with 4:02 showing on the clock.
Lee used a 47-yard completion from Zach Hall to Trevor Carr on third down to reach the Fossil Ridge 7-yard line on the ensuing drive, and Juwan Banks scored from 4 yards out to cut the deficit to 41-26 with 2:35 remaining.
However, Dylan Neuse fielded Lee's onside kick attempt and raced 43 yards all the way to the Red Raiders' 5-yard line. Mitchell's fourth touchdown of the night and third of the quarter officially closed the door on Lee.
"We played hard," Piske said. "They're a good football team, and we knew that coming in; that's what I told them. There's no softies on our (non-district) schedule."
Fossil Ridge stacked the box against Lee's running game throughout, limiting the Red Raiders to just 102 yards on 47 attempts. Hall, Lee's leading rusher from a season ago, managed just 38 yards on 22 carries, while starting running back Tavon Wesley had just 19 yards on 11 carries.
The Panthers' defensive front also did a number on Lee in the passing game, sacking Hall six times. When he had enough time to throw, Hall was an efficient 11 of 17 for 211 yards and three touchdowns.
"Offensively, we've got to get our pass-protection fixed, because when they load the box and they're slanting, we've got to be able to throw it," Piske said. "We can throw and catch; we've got eight good receivers out there."
Fossil Ridge jumped out to a 14-0 lead in the opening quarter. Following a three-and-out on Lee's second drive of the game, the snap went over Lee punter Matthew Hawk's head, which resulted in a 21-yard loss that set the Panthers up at the Lee 12-yard line.
On third-and-13, Fossil Ridge quarterback Bryce Baccarini threw a 15-yard touchdown to Cameron Castleberry on a fade route for a 7-0 lead. Baccarini went to Castleberry again on the next drive, completing a 32-yard pass on third-and-10 to the Lee 17. Lee was called for pass interference in the end zone on another third-down fade attempt, and Mitchell's 1-yard run two plays later gave the Panthers a 14-0 lead with 2:35 remaining in the first quarter.
"What we've got to do defensively is really pretty simple: you've just got to learn to make a play on the fade ball," Piske said. "Last year we weren't in position on the fade. Now, we're in position … go up and make play, instead of letting them make play."
Lee's offense finally got in gear on its next series, marching 73 yards in seven plays and scoring on Hall's 27-yard pass to Jordan Devers on third down. The Red Raiders' extra-point attempt was blocked, leaving Lee behind 14-6 late in the opening quarter.
The Red Raiders' defense came up big on the ensuing Fossil Ridge possession when Cameron Price intercepted a Baccarini pass deep down the near sideline, and returned the ball 21 yards to the Lee 40. On third-and-6 from the Panthers' 27, Hall again found Devers for a 27-yard touchdown strike. Lee's two-point attempt was stuffed, and Fossil Ridge led 14-12 with 9:06 remaining in the half.
Lee's offense failed to register a first down the rest of the half, while Fossil Ridge scored on its final three drives to open up a 27-12 lead at halftime. Seidel nailed a 42-yard field goal, Baccarini hooked up with Castleberry for a 40-yard touchdown, and Seidel booted a 33-yard field goal as time expired. The Fossil Ridge kicker missed a 48-yard try, but Lee was called for roughing the kicker, which moved the ball 15 yards closer to the uprights.
Fossil Ridge went three-and-out on its first second-half possession and fumbled it away on its second, which led to Lee's third touchdown of the night -- a 36-yard pass from Hall to Isjuwan Barker, which cut the Red Raiders' deficit to 27-19 with 5:21 to play in the third.
Lee has one less day to prepare for its next opponent -- Lufkin, which throttled Longview 44-14 on Friday night in its season opener. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. Friday from Abe Martin Stadium.
"The kids can't do anything tomorrow, but we'll get started and do two days of work in one," Piske said. "Lufkin's really good, but that's good for us. If we can keep our mind right -- the first three games are against real good football teams -- then we start district play. And then Sachse (District 11-6A opener) is good. So if we keep our mind right through the first four … come district time we're gonna be a playoff team."
Keller Fossil Ridge 48, Tyler Lee 26
Trinity Mother Frances Football Classic
At TMF Rose Stadium, Tyler
Fossil Ridge 14 13 0 21 -- 48
Tyler Lee 6 6 7 7 -- 26
FR--Cameron Castleberry 15 pass from Bryce Baccarini (Cody Seidel kick), 6:14.
FR--Keshawn Mitchell 1 run (Seidel kick), 2:35.
LEE--Jordan Devers 27 pass from Zach Hall (kick failed), :17.
LEE--Devers 27 pass from Hall (run failed), 9:06.
FR--FG Seidel 42, 4:48.
FR--Castleberry 40 pass from Baccarini (Seidel kick), 1:52.
FR--FG Seidel 33, :00.
LEE--Isjuwan Barker 36 pass from Hall (Matthew Hawk kick), 5:21.
FR--Mitchell 11 run (Seidel kick), 6:57.
FR--Mitchell 42 run (Seidel kick), 4:02.
LEE--Juwan Banks 1 run (Hawk kick), 2:35.
FR--Mitchell 5 run (Seidel kick), 2:26.
First Downs 18 13
Total Yards 371 325
Rushes-Yards 41-254 47-102
Passing Yards 117 223
Comp.-Att.-Int. 8-16-1 13-22-0
Punts-Avg. 4-39.3 8-35.8
Fumbles-Lost 2-2 1-0
Penalties-Yards 4-15 9-74
RUSHING--Fossil Ridge, Keshawn Mitchell 26-158, Gabe Monk 5-50, Travion Smith 8-42, Bryce Baccarini 1-5, Dylan Neuse 1-(-1). Tyler Lee, Juwan Banks 5-38, Zach Hall 22-38, Tavon Wesley 11-19, Devonte Craver 5-17, Mark Russell 2-14, Trevor Carr 1-(-3), Team 1-(-21).
PASSING--Fossil Ridge, Baccarini 5-10-1--98, Monk 3-6-0--19. Tyler Lee, Hall 11-17-0--211, Russell 2-5-0--12.
RECEIVING--Fossil Ridge, Cameron Castleberry 5-84, Cody Seidel 1-15, Neuse 1-12, Brian Ochoa 1-6. Tyler Lee, Isjuwan Barker 4-58, Carr 3-66, Jordan Devers 2-54, Banks 2-36, Mason Parker 1-7, Wesley 1-2.