HOUSTON - Alvin waited a mere six seconds to pull a season-opening stunner on the Stratford Spartans Thursday night.
While the recovery of the first kickoff for 2019 wasn’t converted into points and the Yellowjackets were turned away on a few more occasions in a 28-0 defeat at Tully Stadium, Tim Teykl saw several other flashes of promise to encourage the new head coach in his Alvin debut.
“There are 12 minutes in a quarter and 24 minutes in a half. We had the ball 17 minutes in the first half and 15 minutes in the second half,” Teykl said following the game. “They only had it six in the first half. Those are the things we need to have success.
“We also had more first downs than they did in the first half. We’re making strides. We’re very beat up and got beat up more tonight. They’re not giving up. They’re drinking the koolaid. We just got to keep plugging away.”
Other Teykl comments concerning the opener.
"Proud of the Jackets for squeezing every ounce of what they had to give tonight ... and not allowing themselves to stop fighting. It was a physical game and Stratford played that way. Our hats are off to the Spartans.
"Offensively, we made some positive strides and improved in a number of areas ... yet we have a long way to go. The Jackets will continue to improve there. Defensively, we ran to the ball well ... our angles must improve and our tackling skill will get better and better as the season goes on. Really pleased with many aspects of our special teams play. That must become a major component of our team this year."
Drake Fausto recovered the untouched opening kickoff at the Stratford 15-yard line to get the Jackets off to the fast start. However, the Spartans’ defense stepped up to tackle Alvin running backs Jose Vidana and Richard Valdez for losses on the first two plays from scrimmage and then sacked quarterback Cody Smith on fourth-and-17 to turn the ball over on downs.
Darese Steptoe exploded for 46 yards to the Alvin 12-yard line to put the Spartans in scoring range on their first series, as well, but the Jackets’ defense then delivered its own red zone stand. Steptoe and QB Dylan Shoemake were promptly thrown for losses in the backfield, while Shoemake misfired on consecutive pass attempts to give Alvin the ball back.
After being hit with back-to-back false starts, though, the Jackets fumbled it away at their own 15-yard line with Spartans’ linebacker Drew Arend making the recovery. Steptoe rambled seven yards with a swing toss from Shoemake and then rambled eight yards into the end zone on the ensuing play with 5:02 left in the opening period.
Keaton Klasing booted the extra point through the uprights for a 7-0 Stratford lead.
The Spartans struck for their second touchdown early in the second quarter with Nicholas Baerenstecher going 10 yards with a Shoemake fling with 8:58 remaining to increase the margin to 13-0.
Alvin then proceeded to put together its first long drive of the season, holding the ball for a marathon 12 plays in the possession. Valdez broke loose for 22 yards to his own 42, while Smith hooked up with Christian Yonge for a 24-yard gain to the Stratford 33 and Ronald Broussard also picked up a key first down in the series by making an offensive fumble recovery at the Spartans’ 24.
The Jackets also later got a break near the goaline with the Spartans jumping offsides to negate an initial fourth down stop. Alvin then went for it again on fourth-and-goal from the two, but Smith was stopped short at the one and Stratford ran out the remaining minute on the first-half clock to maintain their two-score cushion.
Sam Bell hauled in a 23-yard pass from Smith on the Jackets’ first series in the third quarter. After Smith was stuffed for a two-yard loss on fourth-and-one, however, the Spartans marched 63 yards in five plays with Steptoe’s 11-yard run capping the drive with 7:15 left.
Diego Densen accounted for the Spartans’ fourth trip into the end zone with a 54-yard dash later in the period.
The Jackets next host Kempner on Sept. 6 in their home opener at AISD Memorial Stadium with a 7 p.m. kickoff. The contest will also serve as youth and junior high night.