For the second straight week, the varsity football team traveled to Dragon Stadium, hoping for a victory this time around as they took on their rivals, the Round Rock Dragons, in the Battle for the Bell on Friday, Sept. 27. Many expected this to be a highly competitive and fiery contest, but Round Rock rode a dominant first quarter to cruise past the Warriors 67-21, keeping the bell for the second straight season. Turnovers also plagued the Warriors as the team coughed up the ball four times in the loss.
Quarterback RJ Martinez ‘21 completed 27 passes for 199 yards through the air while also adding two touchdown runs on the ground, and wide receiver Julian DeBerry ‘21 had a big game receiving-wise, recording 70 yards on eight receptions. On defense, defensive back Connor Cooper ‘20 had five tackles, and defensive back Ryan Lass ‘21 and linebacker Jaleel Davis ‘20 both tacked on four tackles. Wide receiver and punter Robbie Jeng ‘21 was also active on special teams.
This game also served as an opportunity for many players who normally don’t get playing time to get some experience. Some made the most out of their opportunities including linebacker Joseph Tobon ‘21, who notched four tackles in the fourth quarter, and wide receiver Jaiden Webber ‘22, who caught three passes.
“We just didn’t do the basics tonight,” Drew Goodall ‘21 said. “We didn’t tackle very well, we didn’t get any turnovers, and we let up too many big plays.”
The game started out with the Warriors in possession, but a quick three-and-out gave the ball to the Dragons who immediately capitalized, taking their opening possession to the house. Down 7-0, the Warriors needed to gain some positive momentum to establish a rhythm offensively, but after a 13-yard scramble, Martinez fumbled to give the ball back to Round Rock. The ensuing possession ended in another touchdown, with a two-point conversion extending the Dragons’ lead to 15-0. The offense suffered another three-and-out, and a third punt led to a third Round Rock touchdown to make the score 22-0. After the touchdown, the Warriors failed to do much on their next possession, resulting in another punt from Jeng. Round Rock would end the scoring for the quarter with their fourth touchdown of the first frame, pushing their lead to 29-0.
“From what I saw, I think we weren’t able to read how the defense played us very well,” Brian Lee ‘22 said. “That, and how we got into our heads way too early into the game, with the combination of us not being able to convert or score and the defense letting their offense put up points definitely crushed us.”
The Warriors would start another drive in the first quarter and continue it into the second, making good progress for the first time in the contest. On this possession, Martinez and the offense would go 75 yards on 12 plays to put points on the board for the first time in the game, with the series ending in a DeBerry 11-yard touchdown run. With the score now being 29-7, the Dragons took their next drive for yet another touchdown, making the score 36-7. However, the offense drove down the field yet again, this time only needing eight plays to go 79 yards, ending in a 33-yard touchdown run from Martinez to make the score 36-14. After a Round Rock punt, the Warriors regained possession and hoped they could get another touchdown to propel themselves back into the game, but a turnover on downs extinguished their momentum. The Dragons would tack on a touchdown and a field goal before time expired in the first half, increasing their lead to 46-14.
Round Rock would receive possession to start the second half, and took their opening drive of the third quarter for a touchdown to make the score 53-14. After another Martinez fumble, the Dragons regained control of the ball and capitalized with another seven points to increase the lead even further to 60-14. After that, the Warriors put together what seemed like a drive with potential, but a Martinez pass was intercepted in the end zone, giving possession back to the Dragons and ending the third quarter.
The final frame of this rivalry game began with a Round Rock punt, but the Warriors could not capitalize. A fumble from Webber gave the ball back to the Dragons. Round Rock added another touchdown late, and the score was now 67-14 with little time remaining. However, the Warriors were able to add a garbage-time score, with Martinez scampering 18 yards to make the final score 67-21.
The Warriors will look to rebound and snap their losing streak when they face the McNeil Mavericks on Friday, Oct. 6.