True freshman lifts Texans past San Angelo

By Trevor Peele —

Clifton Rhodes III had an outstanding game for the Texans. He had a career-high three touchdowns for 103 yards on just five catches. The performance lifted Tarleton late in the game to defeat San Angelo 38-34.

The Rams looked ready to play as they started the game scoring in just 53 seconds. Kyle Washington completed the 15-yard pass to Alex Young that quickly gave the lead to ASU, 7-0.

Rhodes then had the next two touchdowns for the Texans. One came late in the first quarter: a 22-yard completion from Jake Fenske, and the other came early in the second quarter with a 29-yard strike from Aaron Doyle. The Texans quickly found themselves ahead 14-7.

Clifton Rhodes III reels in touchdown catch.
(Trevor Peele, Texan News Service)

Doyle then threw for his second touchdown of the game, completing an 8-yard pass to Jenken Frye. The passing game looked like it was working to perfection, and with the extra point, Tarleton was up 21-7.

Just two plays after, ASU running back Jermie Calhoun’s touchdown run was called back for holding. Washington ran the ball in from 9-yards out, bringing the Rams within seven points.  With Tarleton quickly going three-and-out, ASU had the ball again.

There were 56 seconds remaining in the first half, it didn’t seem like much but Calhoun had a big run to bring the Rams into Tarleton territory.  It looked as if they were ready to strike again. Then Tarleton’s Jake Blount stepped in and had back-to-back sacks to end the half.

The second half the Texans came out looking sluggish. The first two possessions didn’t move, and defender, Ryan Clapsaddle intercepted Fenske. Washington would soon take advantage of the turnover, racing into the end zone for the 17-yard touchdown. The missed extra point left the Rams trailing 21-20.

Kicker Blake Barnes sent his first field goal of the season through the up-rights to give the Texans the advantage 24-20.

After Marquis Wadley recovered a Calhoun fumble, Doyle hooked up with Bubba Tandy for 39-yards. Doyle would then punch the ball in, with the extra point it was now 31-20 Texans.

Quinn Reels for ASU then took a 48-yard shovel pass from Washington to the house. The two-point conversion was unsuccessful giving the Texans the advantage 31-26.

A huge completion from Doyle to Le’Nard Meyers for 59-yards put the Texans in prime position to seal up the win. Instead of taking control, the drive soon stalled, and a 24-yard field goal by Barnes was wide right giving the ball back to the Rams with 4:45 left to play.

ASU would cover the distance of the field but also run the clock down. Everything looked to be on their side; Blake Smith had a 1-yard touchdown run followed by a Washington two-point conversion giving ASU the lead 34-31.

Texans had the ball with 1:48 left on the clock. It was time for someone to step up and take charge. 83 yards were in between a victory or a long bus ride home.

Fenske completed a pass to Tandy, and even converted on a third down by a scramble. That led to Fenske hitting Rhodes 35-yards out for the game-winning touchdown with 30 second remaining. The ball was even tipped in the air but Rhodes kept his eye on the ball reeling it in.

The victory improves Tarleton’s record to 2-0 in the LSC. Also, the victory is the 12th straight against ASU dating back to 2001.

The two-quarterback system so far is working for the Texans. Doyle ended the game 10-21 with 171 yards and two touchdowns as well as leading all rushers for Tarleton, carrying the ball 13 times for 69 yards. Fenske also had two touchdowns throwing 13-29 for 167 yards.

The Texans stay on the road next week as they travel to Toyota stadium in Frisco. It is a neutral site where the Texans will take on their LSC rival, Abilene Christian at 4 p.m.

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