Friendswood Continues to Have Hightower’s Number
Updated: November 13, 2015
photo: Glenn McCarthy
Mustangs Knock off heavily favored Hurricanes
Missouri City- Tyler Page once again put the Friendswood Mustangs on his back. The quarterback spent the game cutting and dancing his way to a victory over the Fort Bend Hightower Hurricanes 27-24 on Thursday night at Ken Hall Stadium. Last year Friendswood upset Hightower in the first round of the playoffs behind Sam Longbotham’s heroics and this year Tyler took a Page out of that book.
One of Page's more dramatic performances was on 3rd and 9 at his own nine yard line in the middle of the third quarter. Page evaded the entire 'Cane defense for a 91 yard touchdown. Page said, “We didn't want to end our season today”, and they didn't have to.
Page, who didn't play in the playoffs last year and was injured for a large portion of this season, had this to say about his mindset going forward, “It just gives me that much more confidence against a team like Hightower, 10-0, ranked in the Houston area we like coming into a game as underdogs, we don't really care, we just have a lot of confidence, and we have a lot of chemistry.”
He explained his thoughts on the long run, “It seemed like forever, third and long, I cut around the corner and hit the sideline, and saw all this daylight and figured someone would catch me at the 50 or so, I saw somebody had turned on the jets and I wanted to score on that play.” Indeed he did.
To start the game, Friendswood won the toss and deferred to the second half. Fort Bend Hightower struck first and they struck fast. It was a 7 play, 73 yard drive taking only 2 minutes and 9 seconds that was capped off by a 36 yard inside trap TD run by sophomore Devin McAdoo. The score put the Hurricanes on top 7-0.
Page also started fast by receiving a pass from backup quarterback Ryan Epperson for 11 yards on the first play from scrimmage. On the play, Friendswood split four receivers out right including the elusive Page. Then real Page fireworks started on the very next play as Tyler Page ran 48 yards down to the Hightower 19. Friendswood settled for a 32 yard Cody Williamson field goal for their first points of the night, cutting into the Hightower lead 7-3.
Hightower senior, Robert Grays took the Mustang kickoff all the way to the 50. Neiko Hollins then found wide receiver Kealan Jackson for 15 yards and the Canes looked to be rolling their way to another touchdown. That's when D’Aundre Holmes-Wilfork (Houston Texans Vince Wilfork's son) ran under a badly thrown Hollins ball and set the Mustangs up at their own 43. Again Friendswood had to settle for a Williamson field goal. The drive stopped after beastly Cane defenders Clifton Lewis (TCU commit) and Darius Anderson had back to back tackles for loss. The game was tightened even further with Hightower still leading 7-6.
At 9:05 in the second quarter Hightower kicked a field goal of their own by Richie Rodriguez that extend the score to 10-6. That's when Friendswood got a little luck and had the ball bounce their way. Grays fumbled on a punt return as he was hit hard twice and the Mustangs recovered the ball at their own 49. Cade Roene was credited on the fumble recovery.
Page went to work aided by a nice 25 yard Mason Barnes run. On 3rd and 7 at the 23, Page found a streaking Dylan Friske breaking free in the back of the end zone for an easy score and the first Friendswood lead, 13-10. Friendswood and Coach Robert Koopman went into half showing the Hurricanes to once again not take them lightly with memory of last years results creeping back in their minds, trailing by a field goal.
Dylan Friske returned the 2nd half Cane kickoff all the way back to the Hightower 38. Friendswood turned the ball over on downs when Page made his only bad decision of the night not running for what appeared to be an easy first down and instead throwing incomplete.
Hightower then went on an impressive 16 play drive. On 4th and 2 at the Mustang 8, Hightower brought starting 300 pound defensive tackles Darius Anderson and Darien Wilson in a true full house backfield, senior Trevon Estes was held short on a huge defensive stop for Friendswood. Ty Shelby is credited for blowing up the run.
Page carried for 1 yard on first down to bring the ball out to the nine yard line. He then threw incomplete on 2nd down. And then it was all magnificence and freakishness by Page. He faked left, suckering the huge Hightower defensive line, then took off around the right side and turned on his jets. It looked like Ethan Adams had an angle on him but Page gassed him at the 25. The score stretched the Friendswood lead to 20-10.
Hightower came roaring back and scored the next 14 points. Hollins kept the Friendswood defense on its heels with short outs and quick slants. Kealan Jackson broke a tackle and took it to the house on a 5 yard slant for a 36 yard touchdown with 8:29 left in the 4th. Down 20-17, Hightower appeared to have the momentum.
On the ensuing drive, Friendswood's Page just dumbfounded the Hurricanes once again. Coach Robert Koopman was pulling out all the stops inserting Page on kickoff return. What looked like a disastrous move for the Mustangs as he dropped the ball at the 1 yard line, quickly turned around. Although Page couldn’t find it for a second, he scooped it up and then somehow eluded tacklers all the way out to the 15.
Four plays later Hightower had luck swing their way. Page and Barnes had a miscommunication about who was taking the zone read handoff and defensive leader Clifton Lewis came up with the fumble at the 27. Devin McAdoo scored on the next play. He had a tremendous run as he slipped 2 tackles and 3 defenders and jetted into the end zone to give Hightower back the lead 24-20.
It took Page six plays, 2 minutes and 37 seconds to go back ahead. Twice he found sophomore Nick Swaney (19 and 10 yards.) On 2nd and 7 at the Cane 33, Page spotted a wide open Tyrick Ramirez running free down the left side line for another easy touchdown reception. Friendswood retook the lead 27-24. It would be the final score of the night.
This is what Koopman said about how he knew what to expect from his star player tonight, “Same thing I’ve been seeing since I saw him play when he was 10 years old in Bronco youth football, put the ball in his hands and usually good things are gonna happen.”
He finished with how difficult its been to beat Hightower two years in a row, “I don't know if its sunk in yet, I just know we are playing and that's all I've asked my kids to do”.
Koopman and his Mustangs will next face the winner of the Pearland Dawson versus La Porte game.
by Glenn McCarthy
- Offense - Tyler Page
- Defense - Ty Shelby and Nick Dehoyos
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