Tuesday, February 27, 2024

Rattlers make history with another romp

Advance to first state semifinals


One year after their best season, the Tolar Rattlers made new history Thursday night, Nov. 30. They did so with their 42-19 victory against Marlin in the quarterfinals of the Class 2A Division I state playoffs at Midlothian Multi-Purpose Stadium.

The victory propelled the Rattlers (13-1) into the first state semifinal in program history. They will face Stratford (14-0) Thursday night, Dec. 7 at 5 p.m. at Lions Stadium in Vernon. The Elks defeated 2022 state champion and 2021 finalist Hawley 46-6 in their state quarterfinals matchup.

"Very happy for our kids and coaches. They all have put in a heck of lot of time and effort into this deal, and to be able to experience something like that is certainly rewarding," Tolar coach Jeremy Mullins said. "We had to do a good job tonight to responding to some adversity, and I was proud of how our kids handled that.

"We had an awesome crowd. Our community does a tremendous job of supporting all of our kids. Great time to be a Rattler!"

Tolar quarterback Isaac Blessing ran for three touchdowns of 2, 47 and 1 yard, along with throwing a 19-yard TD to Matthew Behrens. His first rushing score and the TD pass gave Tolar a 14-6 halftime lead, and his second rushing TD made the score 21-6 in the third quarter.

Following a 90-yard kickoff return by the Bulldogs (11-3) to close to within 21-13, Blessing scored his third TD on the ground to give Tolar a 35-13 advantage heading into the final quarter.

Blessing finished the night with 118 yards rushing on 16 carries. He completed three of his seven pass attempts for another 63 yards.

On the season Blessing has passed for 28 touchdowns opposite just two interceptions. He also surpassed the 1,000-yard mark on the ground with 1,068 yards and 19 TD.

Running back Peyton Brown scored the final two Tolar touchdowns on runs of 19 and 24 yards as the Rattlers built their lead to 42-13. In his best game of the season - he missed eight games after injuring ankle in the first week games - Brown rushed for 114 yards on 16 carries.

The Rattlers outgained the Bulldogs 404-201, once again rushing for over 300 yards (341 on 48 carries). They also did not punt the entire night.

The Tolar defense forced three turnovers, recovering two fumbles with an interception.

The Rattlers are 36-5 over the past three seasons, including 9-2 in the postseason.

Class 2A Division I State Quarterfinals

At Midlothian Multi-Purpose Stadium

Thursday, Nov. 30

Rattlers 42, Bulldogs 19

Marlin  0   6   7  6 - 19

Tolar    0 14 21  7 - 42

T - Isaac Blessing 2 run (Brooks Stone kick)

M - 1 run (kick failed)

T - Matthew Behrens 19 pass from Blessing (Stone kick)

T - Blessing 47 run (Stone kick)

M - 90 kickoff return (kick good)

T - Blessing 1 run (Stone kick)

T - Peyton Brown 19 run (Stone kick)

T - Brown 24 run (Stone kick)

M - 8 pass (pass failed)

Team statistics

First downs: Tolar 19, Marlin 12.

Rushes-yards: Tolar 48-341, Marlin 38-138.

Passing yards: Tolar 63, Marlin 63.

Caught-thrown-intercepted: Tolar 3-7-0, Marlin 6-14-1.

Fumbles-lost: Tolar 3-1, Marlin 3-2.

Punts-average: Tolar 0-0, Marlin 4-36.0.

Penalties-yards: Tolar 7-51, Marlin 9-75.

Time of possession: Tolar 22:12, Marlin 25:48.

Total plays: Tolar 55, Marlin 52.

Tolar individual offensive statistics

Rushing: Blessing 16 carries, 118 yards, 3TD; Brown 16-114, 2 TD; Garrison Nation 10-80; Kelvin Murray 4-25; Clayton Stembridge 1-5; Stone 1-(-5).

Passing: Blessing 3-of-7, 0 interceptions, 63 yards, TD.

Receiving: Stembridge 1 catch, 36 yards; Behrens 1-19, TD; Talan Culberson 1-8.