Travis continues winning streak against Elkins
Travis and Elkins traded wins in their first six meetings, all of them high-scoring. Then they went on a two-year hiatus — after Elkins moved to Class 5A — and everything changed.
Now it’s all Travis.
The Tigers overwhelmed the Knights for the third straight season — they met in non-district the last two years — using a late first-half surge to spark a 40-21 victory in their District 20-6A opener Thursday night at Hall Stadium.
“With our kids and their kids, they’ve been playing against each other since they were 7, so it’s like brothers playing each other. It’s a great rivalry, and they have a great team,” Travis coach Trey Sissom said. “Looking at them on the hoof, they’re scary, and our kids really played well and responded to the challenge.”
It was the first district meeting for the two teams since 2013.
Travis, which also defeated Elkins 42-30 for the district championship in 2010, when Fort Bend ISD schools played a zone schedule, improved to 3-1 overall. Previously undefeated Elkins dropped to 3-1.
Neither team produced an offensive touchdown until the final 2:08 of the first half, when they combined for three.
The Tigers struck first, with quarterback Eric Rodriguez going deep to wide receiver Arjei Henderson on the first play after Jared Wright recovered a Cameron George fumble. Henderson, a University of Oklahoma pledge, fought off Kierron Ardoin in the end zone for a 25-yard score and 13-0 advantage.
Henderson supplied four receptions for 48 yards in addition to playing safety.
But Elkins answered his score less than a minute later.
On third-and-6, George completed a play-action pass to Issiah Nixon on a post route, and he pulled away for a 58-yard touchdown. But they left too much time for a high-flying Travis offense that had finally come alive.
Rodriguez, who has proven himself a capable replacement for graduated quarterback Amryn Jeffrey, engineered a quick 74-yard drive capped by his 16-yard touchdown pass to Parker Washington.
That produced a 19-7 advantage for the Tigers at halftime.
Rodriguez, who went 13-of-18 for 182 yards passing to go along with 16 carries for 104 yards rushing, now has 13 TD passes to no interceptions in four games.
“He’s stepped in big,” Sissom said. “He came in, in the spring, and he’s still learning. That’s what’s amazing about how productive he’s been. He’s really still learning a lot of things, and we’re adding stuff every week.”
Travis went up 7-0 in the first quarter after Nathan Wilson blocked a punt and Zach Zimos recovered in the end zone.
Elkins committed eight costly first-half penalties, including three of the 15-yard variety on a doomed drive that went backward, eventually resulting in a fourth-and-42 and Wilson’s blocked punt.
“Special teams were huge,” Sissom said. “We’ve been so close on all of our punt blocks, and (Thursday) we got one blocked for a touchdown, and another one where they muffed it and we got it, and it set up a quick score for us (in the fourth quarter).”
The Knights also lost three fumbles.
Elkins got within 19-14 and 26-21 in the second half, both times on scoring runs by Jacory Lee, who had 17 carries for 116 yards), but couldn’t get any closer.
Two 1-yard TD runs by Travis’ Kaelen Shankle sealed it.
Washington finished with five receptions for 95 yards and two TDs, including a 51-yarder in the third quarter. He also recovered a fumble on defense.
“Everybody wants to start 1-0 (in district),” Sissom said. “That’s the biggest thing, and we’re on another short week next week. We go from a Thursday game to another Thursday game.”