By George Slaughter
The Falcons are soaring to new heights this season. Friday’s victory improves Tompkins to 5-0 overall and 1-0 in District 19-6A play. The victory equals the total number of victories the Falcons have earned over the last three years. Tompkins finished 0-9 last season, coach Todd McVey’s first with the Falcons. Tompkins won two games in 2016 and three games in 2015.
The Spartans fall to 3-2 overall and 0-1 in District 19-6A play.
The game was a defensive struggle and a change of pace for Tompkins, which had averaged 51 points per game in its first four games. But such a change of pace can be a good thing over the course of a season.
“These are the games you want to be in, and you’re hoping the kids get to see four quarters of something different,” McVey said. “You got to come out and play four quarters. It was a good learning environment. That’s a really good football team over there. Jimmy (Hamon, Seven Lakes coach) is doing a great job over there. Our kids were up for the challenge. We ask them to respond all the time. I was proud of their response tonight.”
With Tompkins ahead 6-3 late in the first half, the Spartans scored their only touchdown on a five-yard run by senior quarterback Michael Batton. The touchdown came following an exchange of turnovers. On the play preceding the touchdown, Tompkins lost a fumble, and on the play before that, Batton threw an interception to Tompkins junior safety Price Powell.
Seven Lakes senior kicker Austin Angelo’s extra point with 57 seconds left gave Seven Lakes a 10-6 lead it carried into halftime.
“Coach told us we were only four points down,” Tompkins sophomore defensive end Oluwatunmise Adeleye said. “We needed to pick it up. He said game’s not over, that we had two quarters left.”
After an exchange of punts to begin the second half, the Spartans found themselves at their 1-yard line. Seven Lakes sophomore running back Milton Jones was tackled in the end zone by a host of Falcons, led by junior safety Price Powell, with 8:34 left in the third quarter.
Tompkins was still behind, 10-8, but the momentum had changed, even though the Falcons continued to struggle offensively.
Tompkins scored what proved to be the winning touchdown with 10:48 left in the game. Sophomore quarterback Jalen Miller row hit senior Ryan Schmidt for a 43-yard touchdown pass. After the game, describing the play, Schmidt said the play he said wasn’t designed for him, though on it he got past two defenders and was open.
Junior Eric Christianson’s extra point concluded the scoring.
“Our team last year set the base of playing hard,” McVey said. “These guys have been working hard since January. We want to prove to ourselves that we belong. They come out with that effort every day.”
They have little time to enjoy the moment. Their next game is at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Rhodes Stadium against 3-1 Katy, which had an off week after winning three straight contests. It will be the second district game for the Falcons and the district opener for the Tigers.
“Obviously, I know Gary (Joseph, Katy coach) and his team,” McVey said. “They’re extremely well coached.”
Seven Lakes will face Taylor at 6:30 p.m. Friday at Legacy Stadium.