If either Mansfield Lake Ridge or Waxahachie had any hopes of earning a playoff spot out of District 7-6A, this was a must win game.
Both teams came in with 0-2 district marks, but a big night from Lake Ridge running back Myles Featherston helped the Eagles roll past Waxahachie 42-10 Friday night at Newsom Stadium.
Lake Ridge (3-3, 1-2) had its way with the Indians in the first half. The Eagles punted on their first possession, but scored on four consecutive drives after that.
Waxahachie (1-5, 0-3) took seven minutes off the first-quarter clock on its first drive that began at the Indians’ 46. The drive stalled 12 plays later at the Eagles’ 18 and Waxahachie had to settle for a 35-yard Crisanto Perez field goal and a 3-0 lead with 4:43 left in the opening quarter.
While the defense clamped down on the Waxahachie offense, forcing two punts and holding the Indians on downs twice, Featherston turned it loose.
Featherston scored on a 4-yard run to give the Eagles a 7-3 lead with 3:14 left in the first. Jaden Weston followed with a 6-yard TD run before Featherston ran in another from 12 yards out and hauled in a 14-yard scoring pass from quarterback Adrian Hawkins.
The latter gave Lake Ridge a 28-3 lead with 2:45 left in the first half.
“We’re just doing what we can and playing team football,” said Featherston, who finished with 50 yards on 10 carries. “We needed the win. We have an amazing offensive line and they were having trouble with the quarterback running and we just executed our plays.”
Hawkins carried much of the load on the night, rushing for 181 yards on 13 carries and completing 8 of 15 passes for 76 yards.
“They had one linebacker in the box and spread the bandits outside on our slots so the draws up the middle were wide open,” said Hawkins. “The passing game was there, but they bailed a lot so we just stuck with what was working and got it done.”
Hawkins upped the lead to 35-3 at the seven-minute mark of the third quarter on a 10-yard run. The score came on the first play after a bad snap on a Waxahachie punt gave the ball back to the Eagles.
“I thought it was a really good game offensively and defensively,” said offensive tackle Caleb Rogers, a 3-star Texas Tech commit. “We changed some things up and really came together as a team. Everything we did tonight, we rolled on.”
The Lake Ridge defense swarmed the Waxahachie running game all night. The Eagles allowed 2.55 yards per rush (112 rushing yards) on 44 attempts.
The only touchdown Lake Ridge allowed was an 8-yard pass from Indians’ backup quarterback D.J. Hollywood to Jaden Basham with 23 seconds left in the third quarter.
“Our defense played great,” said Lake Ridge head coach Kirk Thor. “They really got together and made some commitments. We changed some schemes to help our kids play better and they really responded.
“They played as a unit and just swarmed the ball every time. They played as one heartbeat and it was pretty neat to see.”
Lake Ridge backup quarterback Joshua Bowie, who relieved Hawkins with 8:26 left in the game, capped the scoring with a a 63-yard pass to Tameron Derrough. Bowie hit Derrough with a short pass, but “Turbo” turned on the jets to outrace the Waxahachie defense to the end zone.
“This game was very important because we needed to bounce back,” said Lake Ridge wide out Keylan Johnson, whose team had dropped three games in a row. “I think the bye week helped us the most though. We focused on getting back as a family. We needed that bond back.”