EARLY — The Coleman Bluecats got off the snide Friday night. So did their running game.
Coleman blanked the Early Longhorns 34-0 in a meeting of 0-2 football teams as running back D.J. Terrell and quarterback Anthony Thomas combined for 309 yards rushing and four touchdowns.
“We have some inexperienced linemen, and they had gotten off to kind of bad start. But they have a lot of potential, and they played hard tonight,” said Terrell, who bulled his way for 199 yards and touchdowns of 17 and 2 yards on runs through the middle of Early’s defense.
“Our linemen did their job tonight and gave me holes to get through. I feel more comfortable when I’ve got the ball in my hands,” added Terrell, who carried 25 times Friday.
Thomas, who engineered Coleman’s mid-line option running game, added 110 yards on 16 carries, including touchdowns of 68 and 3 yards as the Bluecats rebounded from season-opening losses to Wall and Coahoma by a combined 62-8.
“Really, tonight, it was our execution,” said Thomas, whose 68-yard touchdown staked Coleman to a 14-0 halftime lead. “Our linemen were wanting to get every block tonight. Last week (against Coahoma), we would block the wrong man or we would get every block but one. We made a couple of adjustments, and we got it all fixed up.”
In the Bluecats’ first two games limited to 121 yards while Thomas only just 55 yards.
“We moved some guys around in the offensive line, and we were able to get a good push up front,” said second-year Coleman coach Brad Ballard, whose team snapped a four-game skid dating to last season. “The changes we made allowed us to run inside, and that’s going to be big for us because we play a lot of teams this year that use a nose guard (lined up over the center).
“We had four turnovers so we’ve obviously still got a lot of work to do, offensively.”
Coleman’s defense also enjoyed a good night after allowing an average of 31 points and 348 yards in the two losses. On Friday, the Bluecats limited the Longhorns to four first downs and 40 total yards. Early, which has lost seven straight games dating to last season, ran only three offensive plays in Coleman’s half of the field for the entire game.
“We allowed a couple of big plays, but other than that, our defense played decent. But we kept putting our defense in a bind because we couldn’t get any kind of drive going on offense,” Early fourth-year head coach Brad Bowden said. “Our defense created some turnovers and some opportunities, but we just couldn’t get anything going offensively.
“On defense, Coleman did exactly what we thought they’d do. When we went to our no-huddle offense, we had them where we wanted them on the chalkboard. But that didn’t translate on the field.”
Terrell’s 40-yard run set up Thomas’ 3-yard touchdown run that extended Coleman’s 14-0 halftime lead to 21-0 just 3:33 into the third quarter.
Linebacker Colton Smith’s interception set up a 2-yard touchdown run by Terrell that made it 27-0 with 7:45 to play. Daulton Allen, who spelled Terrell at running back, added a 1-yard scoring run that made it 34-0 with 2:52 left.
Coleman led 14-0 at the half after touchdown runs of 17 yards by Terrell and 68 yards by Thomas. Early, which has been outscored 64-3 in the first half this season, was limited to one first down and 25 total yards in the first half on Friday.
Terrell carried three times for 55 yards during a 72-yard drive in the first quarter that began the scoring. His 33-yard jaunt set up his own 17-yard touchdown with 4:04 left in the first quarter.
The Bluecats increased their lead when Thomas ran the option into the open field toward the sideline, then cut away from one defender on his way to a 68-yard run. Thomas’ touchdown, which came on third-and-17 on the second play of the second quarter, extended Coleman’s lead to 14-0. The run by itself also represented more rushing yardage than the 55 yards Thomas had in the Bluecats’ first two games combined.
The Bluecats had three other promising drives that reached the Longhorns’ 30, 14 and 33, but all three ended with lost fumbles.
Coleman 34, Early 0
Coleman 7 7 7 13 — 34
Early 0 0 0 0 — 0
C: D.J. Terrell 17 run (Shelton Zarate kick), 4:04, 1st
C: Anthony Thomas 68 run (Zarate kick), 11:50. 2nd
C: Thomas 3 run (Zarate kick), 8:27, 3rd
C: Terrell 2 run (kick failed), 7:45, 4th
C: Daulton Allen 1 run (Zarate kick), 2:52, 4th
First Downs 15 4 Total Offense 347 40 Rushes-Yards 52-344 27-15
Passing Yards 3 25
C-A-I 1-5-0 5-20-3
Fumbles Lost 4-4 2-1
Penalties 8-60 7-60
Punts 3-39 9-34.4
C: D.J. Terrell 25-199, Anthony Thomas 16-110, Daulton Allen 5-33, Jaquan Hemphill 5-9, Team 3(-)7.
E: Chris Moreno 11-15, Jake Fisher 7-1, Cameron Denison 7-5, Kwinton Reno 1-(-)10, Team 1-(-)6.
C: Thomas 1-5-0 for 3
E: Reno 3-8-2 for 22, Denison 2-12-1 for 3
C: Hemphill 1-3
E: Rowdy Johnson 1-11, Kellan Jackson 1-6, Chase Riker 1-5, Charles Tongate 1-3, Moreno