After a back-and-forth first half, Granbury dominated the final 24 minutes of play as the Pirates evened their season record at 1-1 with a 56-27 win over Waco University Friday night at home.
Austin Jinkerson threw four touchdown passes for the second consecutive week, and Gus Hamlin was on the receiving end of three of them. The senior quarterback added two scores on the ground and hit a streaking James Byrd on a 67-yard bomb on his fourth passing touchdown.
BACK AND FORTH
Starting from behind for the second week in a row, it was a see-saw battle in the first half as the Pirates used a balanced offense to keep pace. Jadon Rogers’s 28-yard run set up Pirates’ first touchdown out of a hammer-time offense and a 2-yard score by Braydon Olthoff.
It looked like Granbury was prepared to match the Trojans’ running game as Jinkerson scored a 2-yard touchdown run and Luke Stettler-Yates had a 3-yard score.
Up 21-20 with four seconds left in the first half, Granbury seized the game’s momentum as a scrambling Jinkerson found Hamlin in the back of the end zone on a 12-yard strike.
STICKING TO FUNDAMENTALS
The Pirates emerged from the halftime locker room a different team, and it wasn’t a change of schemes that made the difference.
“At halftime, we talked about being more fundamental in what we teach,” Coach Chad Zschiesche
said. “It wasn’t so much as we switched anything; it was where guys were there to make plays -- they made the plays.”
Those fundamentals also meant improved tackling, and players stayed in their spots and trusting in their teammates.
“I thought our interior defensive line and our defense ends played a far better second half, Zschiesche said. “Brooks Pearce just continues to impress us. He’s not very big, but he is very long. He has a motor that never stops, and it showed tonight.”
On the biggest hit of the night, Olthoff had a slobber-knocker tackle on the Trojan quarterback that sent his helmet flying. Pearce’s fumble recovery led to a Pirate touchdown.
With three rushing scores on their defense, University started “cheating” in the box, and up in the coaches box, offensive coordinator Matt Holly saw how to take advantage.
“They were trying to man down on us and pack the box,” Holly said, “We started throwing a little bit to try and open it back up, which opened up some of the runs. It’s kind of like a chess game.”
It would be a while before Rogers would get into the end zone on the game’s final touchdown when he rambled in from 14 yards out.
Before that happened, Jinkerson sandwiched two touchdown passes to Hamlin around his big heave to Byrd, who beat double coverage to gather in the reception.
“Austin did a great job, and that’s what we have been preaching to him,” Holly said. “As a quarterback, you think you have to try and be superman and try and win the game every play. We want him to understand his role and take care of the ball. Make sure we don’t have any turnovers. Throw it away when you need to, get down when you need to, don’t take any big hits. Protect your moneymakers, your head, and your arm.”
Coach Zschiesche had thoughts on his quarterback, too.
“Besides the first play of the game where he could have punted the ball to Hamlin (overthrew), he played very well and made excellent reads tonight,” Zschiesche said. “The only thing we wish is he knew how to slide. He’s not going to go down – that’s just Austin. He’s very aggressive and played very, very well tonight.”.
Hamlin’s three touchdowns come with his also playing full time on the defensive side of the football, and senior has thrived in his new role.
“For a skill kid to go both ways, we ask a lot of him. He plays the majority of the downs of defense, and we try to split him on offense,” Zschiesche said. “He is special, and I normally do not say that about kids, but he is special. He’s got the size that makes him very hard to cover on the outside. Once Gus catches it, you had better bring a load. He showed that a couple of times on big third downs and touchdowns.
Senior wide receiver Crash Davis didn’t get into the end zone but led all receivers with seven receptions for 85 yards. Rogers 12 carries netted 118 yards and a touchdown.
Homecoming is this Friday as the Pirates (1-1) play host to Southern Hills (0-2) that suffered a 46-6 loss to Joshua (2-0).
Russell@hcnews.com | 817-573-7066 Ext. 231
PHOTO GALLERY: Granbury Pirates beat University 56-27
Austin Jinkerson accounted for six touchdowns as Granbury dominated the second half against Waco University 56-27. Jinkerson threw four TDs for the second week in a row as he linked up with Gus Hamlin on three scores and hit a streaking James Byrd on a 67-yard bomb. Jinkerson ran for two other scores. Jadon Rogers ran for 115 yards and a touchdown. Luke Stettler-Yates rushed for a three-yard score.