By Travis M. Smith | KBEC Sports
ENNIS — The top-ranked Ennis Lions were simply too much for the visiting Waxahachie Indians in the 99th Battle of 287.
Ennis (2-0) had its way with (1-3) Waxahachie in the 38-0 victory Friday night at Lion Memorial Stadium. The win improved the Lions to 49-48-2 all-time in the rivalry that dates back to 1908. The two neighboring high schools have met on the gridiron for 81 consecutive years, dating back to 1939.
Waxahachie entered hostile territory having won 4-of-the-past-5 matchups. The Tribe stood little chance Friday, though.
Ennis’ Karon Smith nearly returned the opening kickoff for a touchdown after breaking free from a cluster near the 30-yard line and reversed field. He was finally brought down from behind at the Indians’ 36-yard line.
Led by senior quarterback Collin Drake (14-23, 208yds, 2TD, INT), the Ennis offense needed just six plays to find the end zone.
Drake ultimately bulldozed his way across the goal line for a 5-yard touchdown. It was 31 yards on three carries by Devion Beasley that set up the score and 7-0 Ennis lead.
Ennis wasted little time doubling its lead.
The Lions needed 10 plays before De’ivian Johnson scored from 14 yards out.
The drive — highlighted by three Johnson carries for 32 yards — matched the Lions’ highwater mark for play on the evening.
The Ennis offense matched its 10-play high just two drives later. That drive, thankfully for the Indians, ended in a punt.
Outside of that punt, the Lion offense only failed to score on offensive drives of four and seven plays — which concluded in a first-half interception with 43 ticks left and the game-winning victory formation, respectively.
The Lions ultimately had touchdown drives of six, 10, eight, three and six plays. Ennis placekicker Angel Aguilar also capped a nine-play Lion drive with a 32-yard field goal. His points came with 8:53 to play in the fourth quarter and put the Lions by the 38-0 final.
The proverbial nail in the Indians’ coffin was placed by Drake on the previous Ennis possession.
Drake tossed a 21-yard strike to Karon Smith (2-24, TD) for a 35-0 Ennis lead with 6:04 to play in the third quarter.
The completion put Drake over the 200-yard mark, as he had compiled 208 yards on 15-of-23 passing.
Drake finished with the same 208 passing yards before giving way to sophomore Jackson Gilkey (2-2, 3yds).
The Lions ultimately outgained the Indians 425 total yards to 148, which included 207 rushing yards. Beasley led all ballcarriers with 75 yards on 10 carries, while Beasley (6-60), Jacobie Collins (6-31) and Karon Smith (2-24) also contributed out of the backfield.
The Indians offense continued its quarterback rotation between senior Casey Kelley and sophomore Roderick Hartsfield. That combination led the Tribe on just 43 total offensive plays compared to the Lions’ 63. Of those total offensive plays by the Ennis offense, 41 came in the first half.
Waxahachie began the game with seven drives of six or fewer plays. The Tribe then recorded drives of eight and nine plays, both of which ended on negative plays for a loss of yardage.
Shawn Cherry led the Indians with 18 carries for 66 yards. The two Waxahachie quarterbacks combined to complete 7-of-10 passes for 61 yards and no interceptions. BJ Hawkins (3-36) and Taevion Wofford (3-25) led the Tribe receiving corps.
Ennis was fresh off of a two-week bye following its opening week win against then-No. 9 (0-1) Red Oak. The Lions were set to play Keller Fossil Ridge in week two, only to have the Panthers cancel due to COVID-19 related issues inside the varsity locker room.
Ennis returns to action to open District 8-5A Division II play Friday on the road against (2-1) Greenville. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.
Waxahachie will take the next Friday off and then return to the field at 7 p.m. on the road against District 11-6A foe (1-0) DeSoto.
All photos by KBEC Sports photojournalist Kirk Holt
Travis M. Smith, @Travis5mith