BANGS — There really is no place like home, and the Bangs Dragons proved that as they rolled up more than 500 yards of total offense to christen their new turf with a 45-27 win over the Goldthwaite Eagles.
“It was nice to get to play at home,” Dragons Head Coach Chuck Lipsey said. “We needed to win bad and they came out and put it together.”
Bangs had dropped two games on the road to Clyde and Llano before coming up with the big win Friday.
“The things that got us in a bind the first two ball games were we didn’t make decisions and then the backs tried to make too much happen,” Lipsey said. “Tonight, offensively we really clicked.”
Lipsey said they knew to beat the Eagles they were going to have to keep the defense off balance.
“We knew we were going to try bi-formation-ing them, mixing up the run and the pass,” Lipsey said. “We softened them up and did a good job with our running game. It was a real good mix of the pass and the run.”
Goldthwaite received the opening kick and ran it back to the Bangs 4. A fine-tuned Dragon defense had an impressive goal line stand keeping the Eagles from capitalizing on their opening run.
“They got the ball down there deep, but we did a good job stopping them down on the 1 yard line,” Lipsey said. “We still gave up a couple of big plays but for the most part all night long we did a good job of stopping them.”
After the first stop, Bangs got the ball on its own 2. A loss of a yard on the first play had Bangs in danger of being charged with a safety before Newton picked up 13 yards on a quarterback keeper.
Seth Ross earned his spot in the record books as the first Dragon to score on the new turf. With 9:24 to play, Ross took the snap from J.T. Newton and galloped 86 yards around the left end for the first six points. Carlos Meija’s kick was good and Bangs led 7-0.
The Eagles hadn’t forgotten how close they were to scoring on the opening kick, so they responded with a kickoff return back to near midfield. Again, the Dragon defense held and Bangs got the ball when Goldthwaite ran out of downs.
Jake Gravell, one of Bangs’ top offensive threats for the evening, carried three times before capping the drive with a 5-yard dive with 4:31 to play. Meija’s PAT was good, and the Dragon led 17-0.
Neither offense could put it in the end zone in the second quarter, but both teams gave their kickers a chance to put points on the board. Bangs’ Carlos Meija kicked a 36 yard field goal with 5:13 to play. Meija had an outstanding kicking night as he was also 6-for-6 on extra point tries. Goldthwaite would try to answer with a field goal late in the half, but it was ruled wide to the right. Bangs took a 17-0 lead into the locker room at the half.
Both teams had big third quarter offensive performances. Newton scored for the Dragons with 8:43 to play in the period on a 1-yard run. The PAT was good making the score 24-0. Two minutes later, with 6:11 to play, the Eagles answered back when quarterback T.R. Jones hit Ryan Wright on a 30-yard pass. The extra point was good, and the Eagles were on the board, 24-7.
Senior Josh Truelove caught a 25-yard touchdown pass with 3:19 to play. The PAT was good and the Dragon machine kept rolling, 31-7. Goldthwaite immediately struck back when David Valencia ran 70 yards on the first play from scrimmage. The PAT was good and the score was 31-14.
With little time left in the third quarter, Bangs still managed to put 14 more points on the board. Gravell ran 17 yards four a touchdown with 1:29 to play. The extra point was good. With just 23 seconds to go, Truelove — who had a solid game on offense and defense — took the ball away from a Goldthwaite receiver for the interception and ran it to the 9. Newton’s pass to Keegan Hall on the next play ended the quarter with Bangs up 45-14.
Goldthwaite kept trying to make it a game as they scored twice in the fourth quarter, but the Dragon lead was too much to overcome, and Bangs got its first win of the season.
“I think the intensity level when we got up 45-14 on both sides of the ball kind of backed off,” Lipsey said. “We knew coming in to beat Goldthwaite we had to match them in intensity and aggressiveness and I think we did for the first three quarters. We still have a long way to go, but this is a good start for us against a good football team. “
Next week Bangs hosts the Coleman Bluecats for homecoming.