Klein Hangs on for the Win
Updated: November 4, 2016
A Rare Defensive Struggle
Klein Memorial- Klein Bearkat Coach Shane Hallmark had never seen anything like it. His ball club played the whole second half on their side of the 50. They even allowed one touchdown. And Klein still won the ballgame against the Houston Stratford Spartans 10-7. In an era a wide-open offensive and regular 50+ point games, this game was a total throwback.
Coach uttered, “I don’t know if I’ve ever seen a defense in all my 23 years of coaching overcome what those boys did tonight... I’m extremely proud of them”
The win gives Klein a guaranteed playoff spot. With a loss they would have been in a 3 way tie with Klein Oak and Klein Forest. Klein Collins and Stratford are running 1 and 2 in District 15-6A. The Oak/Forest game today will decide the 4th playoff team and which team of the three that will go on to face Spring.
Hallmark added this about a tough week and knowing now the playoffs are a certainty, “It means everything, its been a tough week emotionally. Knowing that you have a win and you control your own destiny, not having to rely on someone else to do something for you. I’m just proud of my kids, that’s a tough football team they just beat, just so proud of them.”
The Spartans defense is stout. Last year they were known as one of the top 5A defenses in the state. They have D1 standouts in Middle linebacker Randall Royall (Rice pledge) and Defensive end Sam Miller (Northwestern commit). It was the Bearkat defense that made all the noise in the second half. Their possessions began at the 20, 16, 3, 1 11 and finally catching a break as their D forced a turnover on downs at their own 37 yard line. Their D hung tough in every way imaginable. Klein only managed 3 first downs and 49 total yards in the second half. But they held the Spartans to 58 total rushing yards in the game. They continually brought pressure on Quarterback Mark Murdock too. He could never get set and really get into his reads. Ian Bronson, D’Quin Peterson, Omar Elwan, Mathew Jester, and Nick Tamez all brought pressure or had sacks.
In the end this tough Bearkat defense had to hold the Spartans to a 45 yard Gabriel De La Puente to tie the game. His kick fell short much like the Spartans and their efforts all night.
In the first Spartan possession of the game the Klein defense had to step up. For Stratford there really isn’t anything such as third and long with the junior Murdock (his father was the Round Rock Westwood star who later went on to quarterback UT). 4th and long may make Coach Eliot Allen pause for a second. On 4th and 11 at the Klein 33 junior Ian Bronsoncorralled Murdock for a 3 yard loss as he was fleeing the pocket.
Eleven plays and 70 yards later Klein Quarterback Greyson Lembcke found Receiver Colton Chelootz for a 6 yard TD pass, 7-0.
Klein has been playing without star receiver/defensive back Austin Trammell who was injured in the Houston Memorial game. Trammell like Royall is committed to the Rice Owls.
Chelootz had a big hand in Klein’s next scoring drive too. After Randall Royall and Hooman Sadeghi combined for a big 7 yard 1st down sack on Lembcke. A 3 yard D’ Anthony Simmsrun and a Lembcke (10-19 completions-passes, 108 yards) 8 yard throw brought up 4th and 6 for Klein at their own 12. Chelootz lined up to punt. He always has the option to run the ball with his rugby style punting. He took it and jetted for 13 yards up to the 25. A big 31 yard Lembcke to Chelootz gainer pushed them to the 18 of Stratford. The junior signal caller fired incomplete three times. Kicker Tanner Horlica bounced the field goal off the right upright in, 10-0 Klein. It doesn’t matter in the scorebook.
After the half it was time for the Bearkat defense to take center stage. Their offense stagnant, clinging to a 10 point lead, they stood up and delivered.
Lembcke said this about his D, “I got to give it all to our defense, they held them scoreless the first half and they shut them down in the second half too.”
Randall Royall recovered his 2nd fumble of the game on Klein’s first drive of the new half. A 12 yard Murdock scramble put Stratford on the scoreboard with 5:12 remaining in the third 10-7. Murdock finished 15-28 for 147 yards with no interceptions.
Early in the 4th Klein felt they had the tide turned to get out of their own shadow. Chelootz once again lined up as the rugby punter from his 9 yard line on 4th and 2. The referees threw a running into the kicker flag, first down Klein. Then they inexplicably rescinded the flag! They said the rugby style punt can be open to interpretation in regards to roughing!
The biggest play of the night came on the next Stratford possession with 3 minutes remaining in the game. Stratford had the ball at the Klein 38. Stratford was faced with 4th and 2. They went with junior Running back Chaise Ellis. He was stopped short by a yard.
Klein had 204 total yards. Stratford was held to 195. It was a great defensive game!
The final kick was all that was left on the final Stratford gasp. It fell short.
Lembcke added about controlling their own destiny, “That’s incredible! Its big for the school especially! Its been awhile since this school has made the playoffs. We are having a pretty good year and we would like to make a run in the playoffs.”
By Glenn McCarthy
Players of the Games
Offense- Klein QB Greyson Lembcke
Defense- Stratford LB Randall Royall
Scoring 1st 2nd 3rd 4th Final
Klein 7 3 0 0 10
Stratford 0 0 7 0 7