By Travis M. Smith | Ellis County Sports Sports
ARLINGTON — In the era of high-octane offenses, the Waxahachie Indians have quickly found a unique identity on the football field.
These boys can — and will — bring the hat. Early and often, too.
The Indians stifled the Arlington Lamar Viking offense and scored twice in the second half for a 14-3 non-district Friday at Cravens Field in Arlington.
Waxahachie improved to 2-0 for the first time since 2016 behind a defensive effort that limited Lamar to 110 total yards of offense on 48 plays. For those currently reaching for a calculator, the Viking offense averaged — prepare yourself — just 2.3 yards per play on the evening.
Lamar averaged a measly 1.7 yards-per-carry (20-28yds) in the loss.
First-year head coach Shane Tolleson told Ellis County Sports Sports that this Waxahachie team “has no idea” that the Tribe has only begun to the surface of its potential.
“It is all mental,” said Tolleson following the win. “We have a lot of great kids who are all buying in and have made a lot of great improvements from one week to the next. We still have to make some corrections and there are still some penalties that are drive killers. We have to fix those to be able to beat the great teams.
“Our thing in our locker room is that we are not trying to be good in Waxahachie. We are trying to be great. We have a lot to fix but, I’ll tell you what, I am proud of these kids. Every day they are ready to come to work to make this city proud.”
The last time the Indians held an opponent to three points was in a 21-3 victory against Arlington Seguin on Nov. 3, 2006. Oddly enough, it was just one week prior, Oct. 27, 2006, when that Bennie-Reese-led Waxahachie defense defeated Midlothian 35-3.
Waxahachie has now held its opposition to nine-or-fewer points just 11 times since 2011 (11 seasons). Those games include:
• 2020 – Copperas Cove (34-7) and Mansfield High (21-7)
• 2019 – Mansfield Summit (10-6)
• 2015 – Red Oak (48-0)
• 2013 – Red Oak (21-7)
• 2012 – West Mesquite (42-0), Mansfield Lake Ridge (35-0) & Ennis (16-0)
• 2011 – Dallas Carter (48-7) & Red Oak (55-9)
Lamar tallied its lone points on the second drive of the game. Following a Waxahachie punt, the Vikings marched 68 yards on 14 plays to set Blake Ford up for a 44-yard field goal. He split the uprights for the 3-0 Lamar lead with 3:08 to play in the first quarter.
And that was it. The Vikings would not find the end zone or space between the uprights over the ensuing three-plus quarters.
The Waxahachie defense has not allowed a touchdown since 4:04 to play in the second quarter against Rowlett in a 28-22 week-one win. That means the Tribe has allowed just six points — two field goals — over its past six quarters plus 7:12 of game time and one overtime period.
The first half ended with a missed Waxahachie field, three punts (two for Lamar) and each quarterback tossing an interception.
“The clock is our best friend,” Tolleson explained. “They (Lamar) tried to use it as our enemy. Our offense sustained drives, and, yeah, we had some things we couldn’t get going, but our running game picked up the slack. We couldn’t get much going in the passing game, but we have some guys in the backfield who can tote it.”
That running game led by Jayden Becks (14-88) and Iverson Young (16-69, TD) carried the Tribe to victory in the second half.
Lamar decided it’d be a good idea to begin the second half with an onside kick, which backfired — terribly.
Waxahachie used the ensuing snap to move inside the Vikings’ 10-yard line following a 28-yard completion from junior quarterback Roderick Hartsfield Jr. (5-11, 71yds) to Joseph Lankford.
Back-to-back runs by Young ended with a 5-yard touchdown to put the Indians on top. Placekicker Jesse Garfias then sent the extra-point attempt through the uprights for his first successful point-after of the season and a 7-3 Waxahachie lead.
Lankford noted that the second-half spark came from Tolleson, who he said the team loves “the energy he brings and the amount of effort he puts into the team. We love playing for him.”
“We have a lot of potential,” Lankford continued. “We have a lot of weapons and a lot of running backs. Our receivers are really good this year and we have a lot of potential. Our defense is lights out. We won’t have ever have to worry about our defense.”
With 9:36 to play in the fourth quarter, Hartsfield busted a 21-yard run that would’ve ended in pay dirt had it not been for an awfully luck ankle tackle. The run set the Indians up at the Vikings’ 22-yard line.
Javon Jackson eventually capped the drive five plays later when he rushed across the goal line from 6 yards out. His first touchdown of the season — followed by a second successful Garfias extra point — put the Indians on top, 14-3, with 7:11 to play.
Here’s how that touchdown run looked in photo format.
That score held as the Indians ran out the clock to return home 2-0 on the season.
Lamar was hit relatively hard by health and safety protocols, which forced over a dozen players out of action Friday night.
The (2-0) Waxahachie Indians will face the (2-0) Ennis Lions in the 100th meeting of the storied rivalry, now dubbed The Battle of 287. Ennis leads the all-time series 49-48-2.
Kickoff is slated for 7:30 p.m. Friday at Stuart B. Lumpkins Stadium.
Ellis County Sports 1390AM/99.1FM will carry the call on-air and online at sports.kbec.com, beginning with a live tailgate at 5 p.m. and the official pregame show at 7 p.m.
All photos by Fred Phipps/Ellis County Sports Sports
Fred Phipps/Ellis County Sports Sports contributed to this report.
Travis M. Smith, @Travis5mith