But for a few minutes of the first half, Keller Fossil Ridge’s move to 7-0 on the season turned out to be as certain as a “my pleasure” at Chick-fil-A.
Panthers running back Colione Evans had three touchdowns, and quarterback Cobe Craft and wide receiver Stefan Cobbs hooked up twice for TDs in the Panthers’ 38-14 victory Thursday at the Keller ISD Stadium.
Evans had 120 yards on 22 carries and scoring runs of 10, 7, and 4 for Fossil Ridge, which improved to 3-0 in District 3-6A.
His second TD represented the go-ahead score in a game with two lead changes.
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Fossil Ridge’s defense, playing without defensive end Arnold Saidov (torn ACL) forced four turnovers, including two interceptions by Cole Crawford. The Panthers held the Buffalos (4-3, 2-1) to minus-16 yards and one first down in the second half.
“This whole team put in work all last year and through the summer. It feels good that it’s showing,” said Cobbs, who had five catches for 134 yards and TD catches of 25 and 35 yards. He and Craft had another of 49 yards, but it was called back because of a penalty.
“We’ve been playing together since I was 11 or 12 years old. This is just natural. We’re just having fun.”
Craft was 9 for 18 and 170 passing yards, plus 83 yards rushing on 12 carries.
Haltom’s Imiee Cooksey, who had seven catches for 105 yards, collected two TD receptions of 20 and 44 yards on back-to-back possessions that briefly gave the Buffs a 14-10 lead in the second quarter.
Fossil Ridge collected an onside kick on the game’s opening kickoff, and the Panthers pounced, jumping out to a 10-0 lead on Evans’ first TD run and Eduardo Mercado’s 43-yard field goal.
After showing little life on their first two possessions, the Buffalos stormed back on consecutive possessions. On the first scoring drive, Haltom converted three third downs, including the TD pass from Black.
The score not only cut Fossil Ridge’s lead but stemmed the Panthers’ momentum.
But the lead was short lived.
Evans’ second TD sent Fossil Ridge back up 17-14 at the 3:49 mark of the second quarter.
“We just wanted to go down and score points and play football,” said Evans.
The Panthers never looked back, particularly with a defense that turned the screws in the second half.
Rafael Hernandez had two sacks and defensive line mate Alex Alvarado had a sack and tackle for loss for Fossil Ridge.
“This defense is great,” said Cobbs. “We give each other a boost. They come in and do their thing.”