ABILENE— Despite showing signs of improvement on offense Friday, Bangs' defense fell well short while allowing 627 yards of offense to Hawley in a 69-32 romp.
The Dragons (0-2) matched Hawley (2-0) score-for-score early on, but cooled off as the Bearcats heated up scoring 34-unanswered points to put the game away early.
"Consistency is the perfect world. We're just not there," Bangs coach Kyle Maxfield said. "It's doing it on every play, on both sides of the ball, our kicking game — unforced errors, unforced miscues that are more mental than anything. We have some pups out there and they have to grow up in a hurry. We grew up a little bit tonight, but we have to keep heading in that direction."
Although walking away from Hardin Simmons University with a lopsided loss, the Dragons had moments that will have fans already looking forward to next Friday's game against Winters. While splitting time at running back, quarterback, receiver and kicker, Seth Anderson accrued 141 all-purpose yards with two touchdowns on the day. He put the Dragons on the board early in the first quarter on a 34-yard touchdown run, kicked his own extra point, then scored again on Bangs' next offensive series with a 44-yard run.
"My mind kind of goes blank when I run. I look for any open space and run as hard as I can to it and try to make people miss when they come to me," Anderson said. "The line had their moments for sure, not just for me. They had them for Ethan Sanchez, who had some big runs. Everyone gets tired from time to time. [Hawley] stopped us a few times in the backfield, but it's nothing conditioning can't fix."
It was all Hawley after Anderson's second score with quarterback Dylan Frazier and receiver Garrett Hewitt making regular appearances in the end zone — or close to it with long passes often setting up short scores by Bearcat running back Tanner Schnoor, who punched in three TDs from short range. The Dragons went into halftime facing a 37-point deficit and seemed to improve in the second, but it was nowhere near enough to overcome Hawley.
"We did a lot better in the second half than we usually do," Anderson said. "We had a lot more energy. A lot more fight in us. We were down big and we came out and gave it everything we had in the second half ... We definitely progressed a lot from last week. In the second half, we laid down against Early, but this week we kept fighting as hard as we could."
With Hawley's starters still in the game, Ethan Sanchez ripped off a 14-yard touchdown on the Dragons' first offensive possession of the second half, then found the end zone again on the second — this time with a 26-yard run as he slipped past tacklers in the drizzling rain. Quarterback Justin Wilson seemed to find his touch by leading a late fourth-quarter drive to the end zone on a 6-yard bubble-screen to Wesley Mitchell. With some late success Maxfield believes there is plenty to build on heading into next week's road trip to Winters (2-0), which blanked Eldorado, 22-0, Friday night.
"They were definitely bigger and stronger than us, and that was evident at times, but I thought we showed some fight and got some momentum in the second half, " Maxfield said. "It had to do with us trying to raise our level, and them being a bit complacent, but whatever the reason we got some momentum in the third quarter and made some things happen. We way early in the season, especially for a young team ... The season is young, we have to learn from our mistakes and keep getting better."