Courtesy Tom Waddill / The Huntsville Item
Coming off their biggest win in the last couple of years, the Hornets could have let up a little Friday. It would have been understandable had Huntsville limped through a homecoming game against a struggling and much smaller squad from New Caney.
Huntsville’s defense did not let up in the least. The Hornets dominated New Caney, holding the Eagles to 55 total yards of offense in a 23-0 Huntsville victory at Bowers Stadium.
“This feels great. It’s one of the best feelings in the world,” Hornets nose guard Denzel Bradford said. “We never get tired of winning. The losing is over for the Huntsville Hornets.”
The Hornets have won four games in a row and stand tied with three other schools for the top spot in District 18-4A. Huntsville, which has not wrapped up a playoff spot yet, finishes the regular season with games against Kingwood Park and Willis, two teams that are also 4-1 in district play.
Huntsville will probably have to pick up the pace offensively if it hopes to hang with Kingwood Park, a 24-14 winner over Humble on Friday, and Willis, which beat Porter 53-7.
But defensively, the Hornets turned in another terrific effort, one that was nearly as impressive as last week’s which led to a 13-7 win over Humble.
“I thought our defense really played hard tonight,” Hornets coach Shane Martin said. “The guys are coming together and trusting what we’re doing. The defensive line had a great ball game. Our front four made it really tough on New Caney. Our linebackers — the inside and outside guys — ran to the ball all night long and lit up the ball wherever it was.
“We had lots of tackles for a loss, and that’s awesome,” Martin added. “Anytime you can catch the ball in the backfield you’re doing something right. Bridge Blount, Cameron Shirley, Darius Evans, Markey Thomas, I could go on and on about all the guys who made big plays for our defense tonight. That was just a lot of fun.”
Huntsville’s defense, which made 10 tackles for losses totaling 27 yards, gave the Hornets the kick they needed after a slow start Friday. Sophomore Byrne Baggett recovered a New Caney fumble late in the first quarter deep in Eagle territory.
Freshman Morie Evans ripped off a 17-yard run, then senior Henry Ford finished off a two-play, 32-yard drive with a 15-yard touchdown run. Ford followed the blocking of Collin Bradford, Aundra Long and Benny Holmes and raced untouched to the end zone.
“When the defense got that fumble, that put us right there. That got us crunk,” Huntsville offensive lineman Forrest Reedy said. “We were a little shaky at the beginning of the game, and honestly I got a little nervous because we weren’t moving the ball. But after that first touchdown we settled down and started playing.”
The Hornets scored a touchdown in each of the first three quarters. Quarterback Kent Albert, who completed 6-of-13 passes for 165 yards, dove over from a yard out late in the second quarter to put Huntsville on top 13-0 at halftime.
After Blount fell on another New Caney fumble late in the first half, Albert moved the Hornets’ offense quickly down the field. He hit Kriston Minor with a 41-yard pass, then after a pair of James Burns runs, Albert pushed the ball over with the help of blocking backs Shirley and Demonte Byrd.
After the break, Burns capped a five-play, 51-yard drive when he patiently waited for a hole to develop before squirting 6 yards for a score. Kicker Isaac Guzman put a capper on the Hornets’ latest win by booting a 41-yard field goal on the final play of the game.
The Hornet finished with 149 rushing yards and 165 yards passing. Junior Ricky Bennett caught four passes for 117 yards. Ford rushed for 47 yards on 10 carries, Burns added 40 yards on 17 rushes and Evans gained 29 yards on only three runs.
“This is amazing,” Reedy said when asked about the Hornets’ four-game winning streak. “We’ve just got to keep working. We’ve been doing really well in practice and that pays off. We’ve also got to keep playing as a team.”