TYLER -- Friday night served to demonstrate, yet again, you can't judge a team by common opponents.

Tyler Grace Community managed to not surprise at all yet completely shock TAPPS Division II, District 2 in a 55-14 win against Brook Hill. 

"It's a season builder," head coach Mike Maddox said. "It's not a program builder, but it is a season builder. Especially with the hype coming into this game and overcoming last week's game. We really felt like, last week, we really let one slip away. Our kids were determined all week to show what we really could do."

Grace quaterback Chandler Nutt (4) bounces away from Parker Clark (60) for a small gain. (Mike Davis, ETSN.fm)

The shocking part of Grace's win was how badly it beat Brook Hill. Especially considering the circumstances both teams experienced playing a perennially good Dallas Christian Academy team, the Cougars and Guard's one common opponent thus far.

Brook Hill edged Dallas Christian in Mesquite two games ago, 23-20, after a relatively long bus ride. Grace fell to Dallas Christian, 49-35, at home last week.

But with Zach Tatman in Grace's corner in addition to a few other athletic stars and a solid base of high school players, the Guard (4-1, 2-1) should not have expected an easy win at Clyde-Perkins Stadium.

Tatman, the primary running back, carried the ball 22 times for 243 yards. He scored on an 87-yard run in the first quarter and was completely responsible for scoring drives of 49 and 28 yards late.

In between, he was the Cougars' workhorse. He extended drives, and Grace (4-2, 2-1) scored touchdowns on eight of 12 possessions.

Brook Hill surrendered possessions on three interceptions, a fumble and back-to-back errant kickoff return attempts.

"I think we have the best O-line in TAPPS 4A right now," Tatman said. "Every time I hit the hole, I'm confident my O-line is going to block for me and then, once I get to the secondary, I just lower my shoulders and drive through them hoping to get as many yards as I can. But, like I said, I'm always confident with the line in front of me."

Grace took a 7-0 lead on Tatman's biggest run of the night after the two teams traded opening interceptions. Brook Hill scored 14 straight points in the second quarter, but the Cougars responded with quarterback Chandler Nutt's 15-yard run up the middle in the final minute of the frame.

The Guard never scored again.

Safety and all-around offensive athlete Jonny Spitzer picked off Brook Hill twice in the second half in addition to scoring on a five-yard run early in the third period for a 21-14 lead.

Nutt gave the Cougars a 27-14 lead when he found Adam Graham alone in the middle seam for a 38-yard bomb. The kick was blocked and returned nearly for two points by the Guard.

"It was a third-and-20, Coach Maddox called the play and I felt confident in Adam," Nutt said. "We've been working together for a long time. All of our receivers -- This was great."

Graham also recorded an interception on defense.

The game got out of hand after Nutt expanded the lead with his second rushing score of the night at the 7:22 mark of the final quarter.

Brook Hill's Chase McDermott picks up eight yards on the catch and finished the game averaging about 18 yards per reception. (Mike Davis, ETSN.fm)

Grace squib kicked, the ball bounced unfielded and Josh Spitzer recovered it. Tatman drove 28 yards in 17 seconds on two carries. Brook Hill muffed the second consecutive squib and kicker Christian Hooper got to it. Tatman went 49 yards on two carries.

The Guard finally got the ball back and fumbled on their second play of the drive. Josh Spitzer recovered for Grace and, back on offense with the two's, ran for 55 yards on four carries and capped the drive with the game's last touchdown.

Down by more than 40 points in the second half, in accordance with TAPPS rules, the final 3:02 of the game was played with a running clock. Guard backup quarterback McCray Fletcher completed three passes for 47 yards before the clock hit zero.

Grace's students came onto the field and a planned postgame fireworks show began.

"The defense played their tails off and we got all the breaks on special teams," Jonny Spitzer said in the commotion. "It was a great, complete team win."

The defeat knocked Brook Hill back into line with a slew of other competitive one-loss district teams, save Tyler Bishop Gorman which mowed over Tyler All Saints about a mile to the west to move out to 3-0 in the division.

The Cougars and the Guard completely control their own destiny from here on out, but they will have to beat Bishop Gorman or get help to win the league.

Bishop Gorman visits Brook Hill next week. Grace will make a short drive to square off with All Saints at the same time.

"People are going to talk about the scores we've had in other games and that we've lost to (Dallas Christian)," Tatman said. "'What if Gorman wins against D.C.?' I think this game proves that you can't predict a game until it happens. It's all about effort. We're going to go out there, give it our all and whatever happens, happens."

Grace's Adam Graham (11) heads town the end zone with Josh Spitzer (44) leading the way for a 27-14 lead in the third quarter. (Mike Davis, ETSN.fm)

Tyler Grace Community 55, Bullard Brook Hill 14

TAPPS Division II, District 2 Game
At Clyde-Perkins Stadium, Tyler

Brook Hill                    0    14     0    0    --    14
Grace Community      7     7     13    28  --    55

First quarter
GC--Zach Tatman 87 run (Christian Hooper kick), 6:19
Second quarter
BH--Gabe Lucio 2 run (Caleb Chadwell kick), 7:53
BH--Grant Hanks 2 run (Chadwell kick), 3:27
GC--Chandler Nutt 15 run (Hooper kick), :43
Third quarter
GC--Jonny Spitzer 5 run (Hooper kick), 9:12
GC--Adam Graham 38 pass from Nutt (kick blocked), 5:51
Fourth quarter
GC--Nutt 11 run (Hooper kick), 7:22
GC--Tatman 1 run (Hooper kick), 7:05
GC--Tatman 28 run (Hooper kick), 6:19
GC--Josh Spitzer 18 run (Hooper kick), 3:02

 

                                               BH                   GC

 

First Downs                               14                    19
Total Yards                               345                  467
Rushes-Yards                        22-104           44-386
Passing Yards                          241                  81
Comp.-Att.-Int.                     17-35-3             6-14-1
Punts-Avg.                              3-32.7              3-30.6
Fumbles-Lost                           3-1                   3-0
Penalties-Yards                      2-10                 2-12

INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS
RUSHING--Brook Hill, Gabe Lucio 17-110, Grant Hanks 3-(-8), Jordan McGowan 2-2. Grace, Zach Tatman 22-243, Jonny Spitzer 6-59, Josh Spitzer 4-55, Chandler Nutt 9-52, Adam Graham 4-5, TEAM 3-(-28)
PASSING--Brook Hill, Grant Hanks 14-32-3--194, McCray Fletcher 3-3-0--55 Grace, Nutt 6-13-1--81, Christopher Wilhelmi 0-1-0--0.
RECEIVING--Brook Hill, Chase McDermott 4-71, Ryan Cox 5-60, Seth Brasher 3-53, Alex Hale 2-31, Chase Moore 1-12, Malik Alley 1-9, Lucio 1-5 Grace, Graham 3-54, Jonny Spitzer 2-18, Parker Ary 1-9