HUMBLE — For the second consecutive week, a swarming Huntsville defense overpowered a 6A opponent.
The Hornets shutout Kingwood 21-0 on Friday night at Turner Stadium in Humble, improving to 2-0 on the season. And following another dominant effort against a school from a larger classification, Huntsville's defense is stating its case as one of the best — if not the best — in Class 5A, Division II.
"I love these boys," Huntsville senior defensive end Quaterian Riles said. "I think we're the best D-line in the state of Texas. I don't think there's any offense that can block us, so we're going to keep dominating up front every game."
"I feel like we have the best defense in Texas," added junior linebacker Calvin Simmons. "Nobody can stop us."
Huntsville's offense went quiet following a pair of touchdowns in the first five minutes, but that was all the scoring Hornets would need. They recorded 13 tackles for loss, held their opponent to just 82 total yards and forced three turnovers — including a defensive touchdown that put the game away early in the fourth quarter.
The Mustangs held Huntsville's offense scoreless over the final three-and-a-half quarters to keep the game within 14 points, and had the ball with an opportunity to cut the deficit to one score with just over eight minutes remaining. A swarm of Hornet defenders had other plans.
Simmons broke free for a third-down sack, and popped the ball loose in the process. Riles scooped up the fumble and scampered 22 yards to pay dirt to put Huntsville up 21-0 with 8:04 remaining.
"I had to watch the quarterback and time it good," Simmons said. "It was perfect timing. I popped it out, and Q was right there to pick it up and score."
"I wasn't expecting it, but I thank my teammates for putting me in that position to make the play," Riles added. "I look forward to making more plays for this team."
Riles finished Friday's game with two sacks and three tackles for loss. Senior defensive lineman Edward Bobino led the Hornets with three sacks, while his brother Brian got to the quarterback twice as well. Nehemiah Winfrey also pulled down an interception for one of three turnovers forced by the defense.
Huntsville quarterback A.J. Wilson — who finished the game with 242 total yards — showed off his speed early on, scrambling for a 21-yard touchdown run on the opening drive of the game. Riles recovered his own forced fumble on a sack during the ensuing possession, and Justin Butcher — who rushed for 72 yards on the night — took a sweep 23 yards for a score on the next play to stretch the lead to 14-0 in the opening minutes.
Huntsville head coach Rodney Southern sees room for improvement, especially on offense. But overall, the coach was pleased with his team's ability to set the tone and maintain momentum — starting on the defensive side.
"There are times we know we are going to win with our defense," Southern said. "Sometimes you don't like it, but I'm OK with it. Sometimes you have to win ugly, and this was ugly ... but I'll take a 6A win however we can get it."
The Hornets return to action on Oct. 16 at Bowers Stadium against C.E. King, in what will serve as their home opener and senior night. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.