South Houston defensive back Kenneth Marshall collapses on Atascocita tailback Elijah Merchant in first-quarter action.
Atascocita junior tailback Elijah Merchant piled up 265 yards on 30 carries as the high-powered Eagles found an even higher gear in the second half and overwhelmed South Houston 35-14 Friday night in the Trojans' season-opener at Veterans Memorial Stadium.
Merchant combined with sophomore quarterback Greg Campbell for all five of the Eagles' touchdowns and 380 of Atascocita's 478 ground yards.
Campbell kicked off the scoring in each half with 10-yard TD scampers, the second lifting Atascocita to a 21-0 lead.
The Trojans mounted a rally late in the third quarter. Still trailing 21-0, senior quarterback Rudis Requeno connected with Torre Daniel on a 21-yard TD strike. The Eagles negated the score less than 30 seconds later on a 16-yard TD run by Merchant.
Less than a minute into the fourth quarter, Requeno scored on a 3-yard run. But Merchant answered that, too, with a 26-yard TD not quite three minutes later.
Requeno completed 25 of 46 passes for 310 yards. Daniel caught 13 of those for 188 yards.
Still, the Trojans mustered only 42 yards on the ground. The Eagles attempted only three passes in the contest.
PASADENA 35, SPRING WOODS 26
Eagles quarterback Nick Bernal ran for 191 yards and three touchdowns as Pasadena coasted to victory behind a flurry of second-quarter TD runs.
Teammate Julian Nance rattled the Tigers for another 118 yards and scored twice.
Spring Woods grabbed a 13-7 lead early in the second quarter, but the Eagles retaliated with three straight touchdowns, the first a 55-yard ramble by Nance. Bernal capped the spree with a 49-yard TD dash.
DOBIE 14, ALIEF TAYLOR 13
The Longhorns jumped to a 14-0 but held on for the victory only when Taylor misfired on a two-point conversion pass with 37 seconds left in the game.
Dobie scored twice in the second quarter on long TD runs. Quarterback Blake Jackson raced 25 yards for the game's first score. Later in the quarter, Tyler Prestridge scored on a 44-yard romp.
The Lions narrowed the gap to 14-7 in the third quarter and then used a 51-yard TD pass from Corey Lupton to Preston Foley to set up a shot at victory. Passing up the chance to tie, Lupton tried a two-point pass that failed.
Andrew Robinson led Dobie's ground attack with 92 yards on 17 carries.
It may look synchonized, but it's actually a near-miss for the Trojans in the first quarter. Atascocita's Clayton Brown (21) successfully defends a pass to the end zone intended for James Davis.
South Houston linebacker Nick Cross crashes the backfield and helps turn a rusty handoff into a 2-yard loss.
Pointed the wrong way? Actually, Trojans receiver Torre Daniel is spinning for extra yardage after hauling in a pass that went for a first down.
Dequan Moore darts upfield for a first down after catching a pass from Rudis Requeno.
Requeno flees the pocket on a quarterback draw.
Atascocita quarterback Greg Campbell hits the sideline with Trojans linebacker Nick Cross (42) in hot pursuit.
Requeno delivers a pass to the sideline in first-quarter action.