After Tivy’s 49-0 demolition of Uvalde on Friday night, Coach David Jones decided to depart from tradition.
Normally, one of the Antlers’ five team captains breaks the team huddle after games. But on this night, Jones asked Jack Patterson to perform the honor. The decision was greeted with cheers from Patterson’s teamamtes.
“He had such a special night,” Jones said. “He deserved to get to do that.”
What was so special about Patterson’s night? Well, the junior cornerback gave the best performance of his career in front of a raucous homecoming crowd at Antler Stadium to help the Antlers (5-1, 3-0 District 14-5A Div. II) record their first shutout this season. He returned an interception 52 yards for his first career touchdown in the first quarter, snagged another interception covering a seam route in the second quarter and delivered the most vicious tackle of the season in the third quarter — sniffing out a receiver screen and slamming Uvalde’s Christian Rivera to the turf for a one-yard loss.
“I’m glad we could get the shutout for (Tivy defensive coordinator Jeremy Hickman),” Patterson said. “I’m feeling really hyped up.”
He’s wasn’t the only one who enjoyed playing against Uvalde (3-3, 1-2). Basically, anyone who marched on the field wearing a blue uniform had a good game Friday night. Tivy’s defense forced five turnovers, and limited the Coyotes to 175 total yards and 3.2 yards per play. Senior quarterback Trapper Pannell threw his first three interceptions of the season, but still finished with 311 yards of total offense and four touchdowns to help the Antlers collect 557 yards. Sophomore running back Fisher Middleton logged his first career 100-yard rushing game, savaging Uvalde for 102 yards on 13 carries. And senior Colten Drake proved he’s 100-percent healthy after missing the first five games with a back injury, hauling in five receptions for 132 yards and three touchdowns.
The Antlers delivered the knockout punch in the first 12:12 of the game. Pannell began the contest by orchestrating a 10-play, 75-yard drive that ended with him charging through Uvalde’s defense for a one-yard touchdown. Tivy’s defense immediately returned the ball to its offense when defensive tackle Dominic Jefferson pounced on a fumble in Uvalde’s backfield. Three plays later, Pannell connected with the homecoming king, Brooks McCoy, for a 30-yard touchdown. Five minutes hadn’t even elapsed yet.
And the carnage was only beginning. Two possessions later, Patterson broke several tackles on his 52-yard journey to the end zone. On the first play of the second quarter, Pannell sensed a blitz from the outside linebacker, and realized Drake had single coverage against Uvalde’s safety. He liked his receiver’s chances of winning that battle and called an audible. It worked. Drake caught Pannell’s pass on a slant route and outran Uvalde’s secondary for a 45-yard touchdown.
“It’s nice to have him back,” Jones said.
For all intents and purposes, the game was over after Drake’s touchdown reception. But the Antlers continued playing, and they continued dominating. Senior Cole Miears eluded four tacklers on his way for a 16-yard touchdown before halftime, and Drake snagged two more touchdowns to maintain Tivy’s lead in the district standings.
“(The Coyotes) had no chance, and they knew they didn’t have a chance,” Jones said. “It didn’t matter what we did, they didn’t have an answer. It was a dominating performance.
“It was a good night for us,” Jones continued. “It was a good homecoming win, and we know we can get better. We haven’t played a complete game yet.”