TOMBALL — The New Waverly Bulldogs faced another tough team Friday night in Concordia Lutheran. Despite another improved performance, New Waverly lost to the Crusaders 36-0.
New Waverly (0-3) showed promise early in the game after forcing a turnover. The Bulldogs then put together a decent drive down the field, which produced three first downs, before having to punt.
Concordia Lutheran took the ball and scored a touchdown on the next possession.
Throughout the remainder of the first half, each team played tug-of-war with the ball as neither the Bulldogs or Crusaders assembled productive drives.
A key play near the end of the half changed all of that. On a short yardage fourth-down play, Concordia running back Jared Mueller broke through a swarm of Bulldog defenders and ran for a 51-yard touchdown, extending the lead to 14-0.
Mueller, who rushed for 112 yards and scored four touchdowns for Concordia, was hit by behind the line of scrimmage on the game’s critical fourth-down play, but the Bulldogs did not wrap him up. Seconds later, the game was pretty much over for New Waverly, which struggled for the second week to get anything going offensively.
Garrick Perry led the Dogs with 52 yards on 10 carries, but New Waverly managed only 82 yards on the ground and 27 through the air. Johnny Hill, who started the game at running back, returned to his quarterback position and completed 3-of-15 passes for 17 yards. Sir Horace Saulsberry completed one pass for 7 yards.
After Mueller made it 14-0 on his 51-yard scamper, New Waverly failed to counter, going three-and-out and punting again.
On the next play for the Crusaders, quarterback Caleb Christian exploded on a draw and trucked down the field for a 60-yard scoring run.
With momentum clearly in the Crusaders’ corner, any chance the Bulldogs had of coming away with a victory was then reduced to faded hopes.
After his team was shut out for the second consecutive week, New Waverly coach Ken Craig did his best to remain upbeat about his squad.
“The difference this week was that our team played hard for four quarters. We improved protecting the ball and reducing our penalties,” Craig said.
New Waverly has much work to do to get ready for the district opener and homecoming against Somerville on Oct. 6.
“The offensive and defensive lines still need to be more physical,” Craig said.
The Dogs have a bye next week, allowing them an extra week to prepare for Groveton on Sept. 29, which is another road game. Craig said his players need to concentrate on more than just football this week because the Bulldogs need everybody to remain eligible.
“I am really encouraged by our faculty. They are so supportive to our athletes offering their time to tutor our guys,” Craig said. “Our goal is to keep everyone after the six-week mark. We don’t want to lose anyone to grades and our teachers really care.”