Lone Star Gridiron

Foster Rolls Veterans Memorial 42-14

A Hot December Showdown

Victoria Memorial Stadium was the the scene of the Class 5A DI Regional Semifinal playoff game between Richmond Foster and Corpus Christi Veterans Memorial Saturday afternoon 12/2/17. It was an unseasonably warm day (83 degrees) for December football which fit perfectly alongside the heated action.

The Eagles of Veterans Memorial began the first drive at their own 37. The Falcons of Richmond Foster made a statement defensively right from the start forcing a three-and-out. Memorial's punt went all the way to Foster's 7.

The Falcon's first play from scrimmage was a bomb down the middle by quarterback Quinton Oliver that struck the receiver in the hands at the 50 - but he dropped it. From there, Oliver proceeded to dink and dunk his way down the field with the only hiccups being dropped balls right in the receivers hands. Numerous drops inside Memorial's 30 forced a 4th and long toss into the endzone. The ball came down simultaneously in the hands of the Falcon receiver and Eagle Gavin Wilkinson.  The two landed locked around the ball and the possession was awarded to Wilkinson for the interception.

With new life, Veterans Memorial marched to a couple first downs before stalling and being forced to kick again. This time Foster took over at their own 15 with 4:30 remaining in the first.

Quinton Oliver woke up the fans by scrambling for 45 yards to thee Memorial 40. He doesn't look like a prototypical running quarterback but found ways to make defenders miss him the entire way. Two plays later, Oliver tossed a pass to Shadeed Ahmed on the goal line for the first score of the game. 7-0 Foster

Memorial answered with a series of passes by Joseph Gonzales for big gains and runs for little or no gain. In the end, the missteps added up to more than the gains and Memorial lined up to punt for the final play of the first quarter, but faked it and ran 11 yards for the first down.

The Eagles started the second quarter with more trickery. Gonzales tossed the ball to his running back who then tossed it deep into the endzone. The ball was incomplete as the receiver was tightly covered. After several more plays the ball was turned over on downs at Foster's 28 - another opportunity squandered.

Richmond Foster took over with 10:10 remaining in the half but was unable to do anything more than pin Memorial on their own 4 by punting. With 96 yards between them and the endzone, the Eagles only managed to lose two more yards before punting it away themselves.

Just as it looked like Foster was going to stall again, Alec Harris took an inside draw deep into Memorial territory. One more quick pass to Travis White had the Falcons first and goal at the six. Quinton Oliver called his own number and fought off tacklers around the left side before diving into the endzone at the corner for score. 14-0 Foster with 4:44 to go in the half.

The Eagles took over at their 30 desperate to get on the scoreboard with time running out in the first half.  Things got heated between the two teams when a late hit was followed by a retaliation. Those two penalties were followed by another unsportsmanlike flag against Foster. This left Memorial first and ten at Foster's 15. Two plays later Frank Jones hit a hole on the left side and scampered into the endzone untouched to cut the Richmond lead to 14-7. That was the score to end the first half.

The second half opened with Richmond Foster starting at their 30. The Falcons proceeded to drive the 7 yards mainly on the legs of Alec Harris who scored a 7 yard TD. Foster extended their lead to 21-7 with 8:10 to go in the third quarter.

Veterans Memorial took over at their own 31 looking to keep it close. They appeared stopped and looked to punt on 4th down. Once again, they faked the punt and tossed deep to a covered receiver. A flag came out and pass interference was called, giving the Eagles a first down at the Foster 32. The new set of downs again led to nothing as they turned the ball over on downs just four plays later.

Foster once again took over on their own 30. Once again the Falcons soared down the field. Once again, Harris put the exclamation point on the drive - this time with a 15 yard touchdown. 28-7 with 3:08 left in the third.

With desperation setting in, CC Veterans Memorial responded with a great run by Frank Jones and then followed that with a 7 yard TD pass to Sethe Solis by Gonzales. This cut the Foster lead to 28-14 with 1:41 to go in the 3rd quarter.

Memorial again went to their bag of tricks with an onside kick - which they recovered after a scramble. It was called back because of an illegal formation. Rather than having the ball back, they were forced to kick it again After avoiding the turnover, Richmond Foster drove the ball down to the 22. Going for it on fourth and 1, they came up short and turned it over on downs giving Memorial yet another chance. The Eagles took that chance and again failed to take advantage of it.

Alec Harris finished the game with 238 yards including his final 13 yard TD that made it 35-14.  The ensuing kickoff was stripped from the receiver by Dylan Casselberry for a strip-six score.  The second TD in 9 seconds put the score at 42-14. Travis White finished the game with 9 catches for 100 yards.

Foster will face Angleton in the next round who won Friday in their game against Corpus Christi Flour Bluff. The game is expected to take place at NRG Stadium in Houston.

by Chris Doelle

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