KATY (Covering Katy News)—Taylor coach Chad Simmons and his players don’t believe that their tough 69-7 loss against Atascocita Friday at Legacy Stadium will define their season. But they know they must address their issues quickly.
The teams met in last year’s season opener, which Atascocita won 16-0. Both teams made the playoffs last season and were confident coming into Friday’s matchup.
After an exchange of punts to start the game, Taylor opened the scoring with a dramatic 70-yard touchdown pass from senior quarterback Dalton Burden to senior running back Marcus Grant, who was wide open across the middle of the field, past the Atascocita secondary. Junior kicker Renan Baeta kicked the extra point with 5:31 left in the first quarter, and the Mustangs were feeling good about things.
Atascocita responded with an 82-yard scoring drive, capped by a 16-yard touchdown by senior quarterback Brice Matthews. Junior kicker Sean Nesemeier’s extra point tied the game with 3:03 in the first quarter.
Things began to snowball for Taylor at that point. On the ensuing possession, the Eagles forced a Taylor punt before scoring another touchdown. Junior running back Quincy Thompson’s four-yard run with no time left in the first quarter gave the Eagles the lead.
“I feel like we (on the offense) kind of slowed down,” Taylor senior quarterback Dalton Burden said. “They hit us in the mouth and we just weren’t ready for it. If we don’t get anything going early, it’s pretty tough.”
The Eagles all but clinched the game by scoring touchdowns on three of its four offensive possessions in the second quarter. Atascocita took a 35-7 lead into halftime, and ran off 20 third-quarter points and 14 fourth-quarter points.
“They ran the ball very well,” Taylor junior defensive back Cecil Ivey said. Ivey had an interception in the second quarter, a personal highlight on an otherwise difficult night.
Simmons said that everything that could have gone wrong did go wrong for the Mustangs, and things just snowballed out of control. Field position was an issue, but he added that the offense couldn’t move the chains and the defense was on the field for a long time, getting tired.
“The only possible answer, the only choice, really, is to come back tomorrow, take a look at what we need to correct and improve, and go from there,” Simmons said. “Let’s see what kind of character we have.”
Simmons said he didn’t want the team to dwell on the loss, but learn what it could and make sure people understood their work habits and how to translate those into results.
“We want to make sure we’re working every day to get better,” Simmons said. “I talked to them about it, and our leaders stood up and said the same thing. It’s just one game.”
Said Burden: “To me, it’s a lesson learned, it’s not really a loss. It can’t define our season. We must come back next week and get better.”
Taylor returns to action against Cy Springs at 6:30 p.m. Thursday at Cy Fair FCU Stadium in Cypress. Atascocita returns to action against Katy at 7 p.m. Friday at Turner Stadium in Humble.