South Houston secures first season-opening win since 2007 with 45-35 triumph
WEBSTER - What’s four hours and 20 minutes when the South Houston High School football program has been waiting 60 years to put up season-opening numbers like the Trojans did Saturday night.
South Houston made sure new head coach Patrick Longstreet’s debut was a sweet one as the Torrence Stevens-led offense belted Clear Falls 45-35 at Challenger-Columbia Stadium.
In owning a 407-318 advantage in total yardage and Stevens throwing for three touchdowns and Ethan Ponce rushing for three more, South Houston snapped two losing streaks.
The Trojans erased a six-game skid to Clear Creek ISD squads, winning for the first time since 1999 when they knocked off Clear Creek in overtime.
It also snapped a 10-game losing streak for season openers. For the first time since 2007, the Trojans will be going into Week 2 with an unbeaten record.
That season-opening drought ended because South Houston set a school record for most points scored in a season opener, shattering the old record of 41 points in the 1969 opener against Beaumont South Park.
The 45 points also nearly eclipsed the all-time high water mark against Clear Creek ISD clubs. It got threatened, but the 49 points against Clear Creek in 1973 is still tops.
“Torrence did a great job leading the team. He ran it when we needed him to run it. Brodrick Williams came back in the fourth quarter and really pounded them with some great runs. Great effort by Keith Oliver and Ian Butler,” Longstreet said.
Williams was on his way to a dandy sophomore year last year when he went down with a knee injury in Week 7. He’s healthy now and if the burly ballcarrier’s season opener is any indication, he resembles a freight train on two legs.
Williams, who was the Park View Intermediate eighth grader who led the Cowboys to a super rare championship game appearance, finished with 127 yards on 16 carries and a six-yard touchdown run with 3:24 left in the third quarter that made it 31-14.
He closed out his night with a 35-yard run up the gut of Clear Falls’ defense. About 25 of those yards had Clear Falls defenders clinging to his back and arms but to no avail in bringing him down.
“When we have the lead in the fourth quarter, we’re going to pound that big monster right there,” Longstreet said.
Ponce was South Houston’s weapon of choice when the Trojans were in the shadow of the end zone. He scored on a pair of two-yard runs and a six-yard score with 8:24 left in the third quarter.
That was a big score because the Knights had just gotten within 18-14 to start the second half. South Houston reeled off 13 straight points to get the advantage to 17 after trailing 7-6 early in the second quarter.
In all, the Trojans finished 7-of-10 possessions with touchdowns and a perfect 4-of-4 in the second half.
Longstreet was tickled over the effort of his somewhat green offensive line, who did their part to move the chains.
“We had three new guys out there. They’ll definitely learn from the tape. We need to clean some things up but the effort was fabulous by those guys,” Longstreet said.
As for the passing attack, Stevens hit Oliver with two TD passes, an eight-yard strike to start the scoring and a 25-yarder that erased that 7-6 deficit. That came on a gutsy fourth-down play.
It looked like the team was going to waste a Ponce fumble recovery deep in Knights territory when the team went backwards over three plays. But the team rolled the dice and hit paydirt.
In the final seconds of the first half, Ponce also intercepted a pass, making his night about as complete as possible. The ball went through the receiver’s arms and into Ponce’s.
Stevens’ third TD through the air was a nine-yard strike to Butler that made it 38-21 with 8:35 remaining in the game. The 56-yard drive was manufactured by a nine-play drive and a 15-yard penalty on the Knights.
The defense struggled to contain the likes of Brandon Woodson and Dorian Mason, but in addition to Ponce’s interception, Deondre Corbin and Johnny White also had interceptions.