Mustangs rally in second half to upend Clear Brook
FRIENDSWOOD - With its normally potent offense stagnant much of the evening, Friendswood had to rely on its youthful defense to rescue it Friday night against Clear Brook.
Senior end Mike Hermes recorded five sacks and senior defensive back Trey Mappe returned an interception 36 yards for a touchdown with 8:44 left in a 17-6 Mustang victory at Henry Winston Stadium.
Clear Brook led just 6-0 at halftime, but Mustang head coach Robert Koopmann told his troops at intermission it could have been much worse.
“Our defense was on the field the whole doggone night because we just weren’t very good on offense,” Koopmann said. “Clear Brook just schemed us very well. All hats off to Brook and coach (Lupe) Florez and his staff because they did a fantastic job getting ready for this game.
“I was way impressed with how good they’ve become in a short amount of time. We were given a gift at halftime being down 6-0 when it should have been 24-0.”
Friendswood scored on its first possession of the third quarter with Luke Revere scoring on a 53-yard sweep of right end to cap a 5-play, 70-yard drive. With Austin Alvarez’s PAT, the Mustangs had their first lead, 7-6, at 9:39 of the period.
The Mustang lead swelled to 10-6 after a bad snap on a Clear Brook punt on the Wolverines’ ensuing possession. The Wolverine defense stiffened, and Friendswood settled for Alvarez’s 40-yard field goal.
Brook then started its next possession at its 14 yard line, looking to drive for the go-ahead score, but Mappe stepped in front of a pass in the flat and returned it uncontested for the insurance score.
The loss was obviously disappointing to Florez.
“Our kids came out fast and we had close to 300 yards in the first half and only six points,” Florez said. “We kept making mistakes, and that’s part of a young offense.
“We’ll get there eventually. Our kids learned some lessons tonight. We came out slow in the second half, and Friendswood is a great program. They go 9-1 every year for a reason. They knew the situation, and they came out and got on top of us.”
Hermes was in the Brook backfield all night, either sacking Wolverine quarterback Shane Porter or chasing him out of the pocket.
“We just kept on fighting hard the whole time,” Hermes said. “Our defense is always amped. We’re always ready to go.
“We watched a lot of film and prepared for the game. We’ve had some adversity losing nine seniors off last year’s team, but the juniors that came back really shined a light on the younger guys. This defense can get so much better.”
Clear Brook led 6-0 at halftime, but totally dominated the opening 24 minutes. Had Friendswood’s defense not come up with two point-denying stops, the Wolverines could have had a much more substantial lead.
The Wolverines ran 46 plays in the opening half to just 21 for Friendswood.
Clear Brook took a 3-0 lead on its first possession, using a 44-yard completion from quarterback Porter to wide receiver La’Darrion Florez to set up Curtis Falkenburg’s 26-yard field goal with 7:45 left in the opening quarter.
The Wolverines then forced a three-and-out possession, and went on another lengthy march.
Following its 10-play drive to open the game, Clear Brook then held the ball for 14 plays, driving from its 15 to the Mustang 16.
However, when the Mustangs forced a 33-yard field goal attempt, holder Porter was sacked at the Friendswood 30 following a high snap.
The Mustangs could hold the ball only four plays on their next possession as Clear Brook defensive back Michael De Jesus intercepted Mustang quarterback Luke Grden at the Wolverine 43.
From there, Brook again pounded away at the Friendswood defense using completions of 13 and 20 yards from Porter to Loronzo Thompson to fuel a march inside the Mustang 10.
Friendswood, though, produced another big defensive stand when, on fourth-and-goal at the 2 yard line, Brook running back Michael Norris was stopped at the 1 yard line.
The Mustangs held the ball for the next nine plays, but after one first down, a penalty and lost yardage, Friendswood had to punt from its 14.
That resulted in Brook getting ideal field position at the Friendswood 40, and the Wolverines drove all the way to the Mustang four yard line where they faced fourth-and-three.
A holding call, though, negated a touchdown, and Brook settled for Falkenburg’s 27-yard field goal with 27 seconds left in the second quarter for the 6-0 halftime cushion.