TEXARKANA, Ark. — The young men in the trenches don't often get their names called out by the public address announcer, especially on the offensive line.
But it was the front five that dictated the pace of the game and enabled Texas High to execute its game plan to run the football for all four quarters against Arkansas High Friday at Razorback Stadium.
That push paid off to the tune of 58 rushes for 339 yards and three touchdowns on the ground by the Tigers during a 28-7 win over the cross-town rival Razorbacks.
"The game plan was to run the ball; we wanted to shorten this game and get out of here as fast as we could," Texas High head coach Gerry Stanford said. "If we continue to progress on defense, continue to protect the ball, keep improving in cleaning up our penalties, run the ball like we have been and progress in our passing game, we're going to give ourselves a chance to win."
Aided by depth and the ability to two-platoon the offense and defense, the Tigers wore down the Arkansas High defense late in the game.
"We did some good things today," Razorback head coach Barry Norton said. "Defensively, we got worn out. When they went up 14-0, we wanted to slow down the offense, try to get the defense some rest, but we couldn't sustain drives — outside of our one scoring possession — and our defense just had to keep going out.
"By the late third quarter, early fourth, we got tired. We got them off the field a couple of times, but they kept running the football at us."
Compared to the Tigers' opener, where THS didn't run the ball as effectively in the second half as it had in the first, Texas High kept pounding the line and had no turnovers against the Razorbacks.
"The biggest thing for us, from our first game to the second, was being able to play more consistent," Stanford said. "Even the penalties, being able to cut those out and play a clean ballgame. We didn't have any turnovers tonight, and that's a big difference.
"We've got to continue to harp on protecting the ball; it gives you a chance to win if you don't turn the ball over."
The game was decided in the trenches, and the Tigers had a distinct advantage, Norton pointed out.
"They pushed us around, offensively and defensively; they're just big," Norton said. "Their tailback's an excellent player. I would like to have a different answer: they just pushed us around. They were bigger and better today. That's all there was to it."
Texas High hosts Liberty-Eylau Friday, and Arkansas High has consecutive open dates before starting 5A-South Conference play.