SCHERTZ, Tex. – In the landscape of Texas high school football even the most dominant offenses take at least a half to establish their prowess and overtake opponents. Cibolo Steele’s first team offense needed just seven plays to accomplish that feat on Thursday night.
Big plays provided by a powerful rushing attack and a defense that forced two key turnovers led to 21 first quarter points for the Knights as Cibolo Steele, the No. 10 ranked team in Class 4A, cruised to a 28-7 victory over cross town rival Schertz Clemens at Lehnhoff Stadium.
The three-touchdown win gives the Knights bragging rights over the Buffaloes in a battle of District 27-4A foes whose campuses are within mere miles of each other as members of the Schertz Cibolo Universal City I.S.D. Many of the players on both sides grew up together in the same neighborhoods in the north San Antonio suburbs.
Despite its offensive starters getting single digit reps as a unit, Steele (4-1, 2-0) totaled more than 350 yards of total offense including more than 330 on the ground. One hundred of those rushing yards came courtesy of junior running back Malcolm Brown who needed just three carries on the night to reach the century mark and take home game MVP honors.
“I believed even before the game that it was going to be a good night,” Brown said. “We were focused all week in practice and everybody was ready so I knew were going to do a pretty good job.”
Doing a pretty good job would be an understatement of how the Steele offense struck quickly and put the game away before the end of the first quarter.
Clemens (2-2, 0-2) got the ball to start the game and after methodically driving the ball into Steele territory the Buffaloes attempted a 38-yard field goal but Erik Hunsaker misfired on the kick and the Knights took over from there.
Steele needed only two plays to reach the end zone as on the second play of the drive Brown took a toss to his left and exploded through the second level of the Clemens defense and eventually pulled away from the Buffalo secondary on his way to an 84-yard touchdown to put the Knights ahead 7-0 with 8:05 to go in the opening period.
Clemens’ next possession was worse than its opening series as the Buffaloes lost the first of three fumbles on the night, this one deep in Steele territory as junior cornerback Taurean Anderson pounced on the loose ball at the Knights’ 24-yard line.
Steele responded with a three play scoring drive highlighted by a 62-yard burst by Alfonso Trammell down the Clemens 14-yard line. Two plays after Trammell’s run quarterback Nick Sergent hit tight end Brian Vandenburg in the flat and Vandenburg did the rest turning up the field and breaking a tackle on his way to a 10-yard touchdown.
Clemens’ next drive was a quick one as quarterback Stanley Harris could not field a low shotgun snap and bobbled the ball before a pack of Knight defenders pounced on the fumble at the Clemens 12-yard line.
One play later Brown scored his second touchdown on his final carry of the night on another toss play over the left side as he leaped toward the pylon and shook off a Clemens defender to finish standing on his feet and left Steele holding a 21-0 lead with 40 seconds still remaining on the first quarter clock.
As good as Steele’s offense was the defense was just as impressive with the three turnovers while the first team did not allow Clemens in the red zone all night and forced two missed field goals. Clemens had 204 yards of total offense and averaged less than three yards per carry while the majority of its 121 passing yards came on a late scoring drive.
“We had to get our minds right because we had been giving up a lot of yards lately and a lot of passes and we were tired of that happening,” junior defensive tackle Marquise Anderson said. “We came out and practiced real hard and we wanted to get the shutout. We didn’t get that but we still played hard and played well.”
After forcing the Clemens to attempt its second field goal of the first half, another failed 38-yard attempt, Steele went on a methodical second quarter drive and built a four touchdown halftime lead to punctuate the series.
Getting the ball into Clemens territory backup quarterback Tommy Armstrong lofted a pass down the left sideline for junior receiver Blake Gardner, who made a great adjustment to the ball and while being pulled down by a Clemens defender and managed to keep his concentration and pull down a 28-yard reception in the end zone to give the Knights a 28-0 lead with three and half minutes remaining until halftime.