BURLESON -- All of the attention surrounding Burleson Centennial playing Dallas Hillcrest on Thursday was due to beginnings.
For the Spartans, their first official varsity game. Their first chance to make an impression.
But instead, Centennial proved finishing is much more important.
After a horrible start to their first game, the Spartans bounced back to pound the Panthers 34-7.
A high snap to the Centennial punter on the Spartans' first possession resulted in a 42-yard loss and a short field for Dallas Hillcrest; the Panthers scored quickly for a 7-0 lead.
The Spartans, however, didn't let the early mistake shake them. They responded with five consecutive touchdowns.
Sophomore running back DeMarcus Williams led the way for the Spartans. He carried the ball eight times for 71 yards during a 10-play drive that ended in a 1-yard TD run by QB Tanner Hodges.
Williams, who finished with 23 carries for 204 yards and two touchdowns, continued to roll over the Hillcrest defense. His 2-yard TD run with 4:53 left in the second quarter gave Centennial its first-ever lead at 12-7.
Then, Hodges connected with Doug Hopkins on two consecutive long passing plays.
The first, a 31-yard TD strike down the right sideline, plus a 2-point conversion, gave Centennial a 20-7 lead. Then, Blake Dunham recovered an onside kick to give the Spartans another scoring chance.
Two plays later and 22 seconds later, Hodges found Hopkins across the middle of the field for a 21-yard TD and a 27-7 halftime lead.
The Centennial defense kept Hillcrest from moving the ball; the Panthers punted six times and totaled just yards 86.
Williams, who had 131 rushing yards in the first half, finished strong, steamrolling a Hillcrest defender on his way for a 66-yard TD run with five minutes left in the third quarter. He rested the final quarter and a half.
Next week, the Spartans will take on Krum and try to improve to a 2-0 program record.
Brent Shirley, 817-390-7760