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Houston beats Bartlett, improves to 6-0

Houston defeated Bartlett 40-7 Friday night on the road. The Mustangs are now 6-0 and scheduled to host Southwind Friday at 7 p.m. The Jaguars are 2-3 on the season. ABOVE: Chase Moss takes the hand off from quarterback Jared Schmidt.

Houston defeated Bartlett 40-7 Friday night on the road. The Mustangs are now 6-0 and scheduled to host Southwind Friday at 7 p.m. The Jaguars are 2-3 on the season. ABOVE: Chase Moss takes the hand off from quarterback Jared Schmidt.

By Bill Sorrell

Two patterns emerged from Bartlett’s game with Houston on Friday; one painful, the other joyful.
For the second straight game, Houston scored a touchdown on its first possession of the second half and for the fourth time in five games, Bartlett gave up a touchdown with seconds left in the first half.
Capping a 56-yard drive, Houston quarterback Jared Schmidt threw a 3-yard touchdown pass to Chanse Pullen to give the Mustangs a 26-0 lead after Jacob Painter’s PAT with 9:03 left in the third quarter. A week earlier, Houston recovered an onside kick against Germantown and scored a touchdown on its first second half-possession.
Houston went on to defeat the Panthers 40-7 at Bartlett in a non-district game.
“If it is (a pattern), I hope it stays. It is a great way to start the second half, no doubt about it,” said Houston coach Will Hudgens.
For Bartlett coach Jeff McFerran, it was déjà vu. In a 41-7 Bartlett loss to Arlington on Sept. 5, the Tigers scored a touchdown with 2.8 seconds left in the first half on a 51-yard pass. Again, with 2.8 seconds left in the first half, Bartlett allowed a touchdown. Schmidt hurled a 46-yard pass to Josh Myers for a 19-0 halftime lead.
“It’s heartbreaking,” said McFerran. “We are four out of five games giving up a touchdown with under 30 seconds to go in the first half. I do not understand what part of our kids do not understand, don’t get beat deep. I honestly don’t know the answer other than the kids have got to figure out, don’t get beat deep in zone coverage. Losing is a frustrating thing for everybody. We are going to continue to work to try to be the best coaching them to be the best people they can be and be the best football players they can be. The kids care. They show up and practice hard and play hard.”
The Panthers fell to 2-3 with their third straight loss and will play a District 14-AAA contest at Cordova this Friday. Starting 6-0 for the second straight season, Houston hosts Southwind in a District 15-AAA game Friday. Southwind ended the Mustangs winning streak in 2013. Both games begin at 7 p.m.
There were 21 penalties in the game. Houston was penalized 11 times for 84 yards while Bartlett was penalized 10 times for 62 yards.
Houston was flagged for holding six times, including five in the third quarter. Bartlett’s nemesis were false start penalties with seven.
“To be honest, I’ll have to go back and watch the film. Those are things we have got to clean up obviously,” said Hudgens. “Those are drive-killers. We had the ball inside the 10 and ended up a third and 30-something. We have to make sure that we are flowing. We can’t have stupid mistakes. In a tight ball game, they will come back to bite us.”
McFerran echoed Hudgens. “The sad part is it is the same chapter that we keep rewriting. We make mistakes, we give up plays before half and we continue to get penalties. On the offensive side we continue to drop passes and dig ourselves into holes that we are struggling to get out of. I have got to find a way as a coach to fix it,” said McFerran.
Perhaps no penalty was greater than Bartlett sustained in the first quarter. Running back
LeMarcus Young ran for an 85-yard touchdown with 6:31 left only to have it nullified with a holding penalty.
“He (referee) called it on the tackle opposite of the way the play went, so I don’t know how it affected the play. I am a little disappointed with the flag but it reality it was what it was. For us to come out and score early and establish that we are going to be able to run the football and be able to mix it up, it was a big play at that point,” said McFerran.
Said Young, who rushed for a team-high 94 yards on seven carries, “No matter what the outcome, I want to make my coaches proud.”
McFerran was pleased with Young. “He played a great game at tailback. He did a good job having to play both ways. I can’t get the ball to him a ton because of legs. He had a really good night stepping in there now that Jurien (Martin) has been hurt and splitting time with (Tyrone) Cason at tailback. If I was pleased with anything, it was his (Young’s) running.”
Hudgens was proud of his offensive line that paved the way for running back Colby Cartwright to have another stellar night. Cartwright, who rushed for 145 yards in a victory over Germantown, rushed for a game-high 150 yards on 12 carries, including his longest, a 54-yarder. Cartwright scored on a 25-yard touchdown in the second quarter that put the Mustangs ahead 13-0.
His brother Seth Cartwright scored on two 9-yard touchdown runs. Chase Moss-Pioreck scored on a 37-yard run, his longest of the game, in the first quarter to give the Mustangs, ranked 7th in Shelby-Metro, their first touchdown. He finished with 98 yards rushing.
Houston rushed for 304 yards on 35 carries while Schmidt passed for 158 yards on 9 of 13 passes and two touchdowns. Pullen paced Houston with 46 receiving yards.
Bartlett rushed for 221 yards on 42 carries. Cason gained 41 yards while quarterback Jonathan Bowlan gained 36 yards. Bowlan completed 7 of 20 passes for 96 yards. Bowlan scored the Panther’s touchdown on a 9-yard run, capping a 66-yard, seven-play drive in the third quarter. Mario Washington was his leading receiver with 51 yards.
Houston finished with 462 yards total offense while Bartlett had 252.
“They are a run team and they are going to throw some big passes and continue to do what they do. We prepared to do what they do; it still comes down, they got to make plays or we got to make plays and they made more plays than us at big times,” said McFerran. “We continue to struggle to make big plays and we give them up defensively. The frustrating thing is we go on the sideline and talk about what we are going to do the next series and they struggle to do what we talk about it. I really don’t know the answer right now. I am frustrated.”
Houston’s answer said Schmidt was its offensive line. “We struggled at the beginning with their run defense. We were still trying to run the ball and finally connected in the air. Then our line blew them off after that and that helped us a lot,” he said.
Hudgens said, “Again, we have to take our hats off to those guys (offensive line). They are opening holes and moving people for them. Colby Cartwright ran his butt off. Jared stood out.”
Said Schmidt, “The Lord Christ was with me tonight.”
The first quarter was scoreless until 51.8 seconds were left and Moss-Pioreck scored his 37-yard touchdown. Houston’s Donavan Wallace had returned a punt by Bowlan from the 50-yard line to the 37. Painter kicked four of six PATs.
A 19-yard pass from Schmidt to Colby Cartwright that went to the Bartlett 39 fueled the Mustangs’ second touchdown. Schmidt ran 12 yards to the Bartlett 27 and then Cartwright scored on a 25-yard run.
Trailing 13-0, Young ran 25 yards to the Bartlett 45-yard line but Houston’s defense forced Bowlan to punt.
One of game’s best plays came in the second quarter when Washington caught a deflected pass off a Houston defender. He grabbed a first down at the Bartlett 33 with 2:45 left. Later a 23-yard pass from Bowlan to Washington put the Panthers on the Houston 27. However, Houston’s Justin Jones sacked Bowlan for a 6-yard loss and two incomplete passes later, the drive stalled.
With 37.8 seconds left in the first half, Cartwright ran 24 yards to the Bartlett 43. Cartwright then scored on the next play.
“That probably took their wind out of their sails, to go up three scores instead of two,” said Hudgens. “The last drive of the first half and a big stop by the defense and then scoring on the opening drive of the second half” were other turning points he said.
Houston added two touchdowns in the third quarter. A 13-yard run by Moss-Pioreck, Schmidt’s 12-yard pass to Parks O’Neill, a 25-yard pass from Schmidt to Pullen and Cartwright’s 11-yard run set up Pullen’s 3-yard touchdown run and the 26-0 lead.
Seth Cartwright padded Houston’s lead to 33-0 in the third quarter with his first 9-yard touchdown run.
Bartlett then began its touchdown drive. The Panthers scored after Young ran 37 yards to Houston’s 44-yard line. Bowlan then ran 26 yards to the Houston 9 and scored two plays later. Manny Barrientos’ extra point reduced Houston’s lead to 33-7 early in the fourth quarter.
The Mustangs would score again. Colby Cartwright’s 54-yard gain put the Mustangs at the 12-yard line and set up Seth Cartwright’s 9-yard touchdown for the 40-7 win.
“Our defense just came out ready to run down hill and hit somebody. We hit them again and hit them again,” said Schmidt.
Houston got big hits from Jamal Cox, Aryton Schafer, Drew Dowdy, who each had a sack, and Justin Jones, who had two sacks and a team-high seven tackles. Schafer and Zach Childress each had six tackles.
“Our defensive line is holding things down. As long as they do their job and linebackers fill in, we can hold it down,” said Jones, a senior defensive lineman.
Hudgens said, “Justin did a great a great job. Reid (Ostrom) and R.J. (Myers) did a great job of staying home. They did a lot of zone reading stuff with their quarterback (Bowlan). Their quarterback is a heck of a player. He competes. They have got a good running back. Our secondary played well. They are in the right stops, knocking balls down and making it tough for them to complete passes.”
Jones said, “I am surprised at how our DBs are a lot better in dropping back in coverage. Last week (against Germantown), we had a big play and it was a big touchdown on us. They locked it down today.”
The defensive line “does their job,” said Schmidt. “The same thing for us. Everybody is all one team doing for each other.”
Barlett had top defensive efforts from Young, who led the team with six tackles, Johnnie Sheppard and Devonte Stigler who each had five tackles. Nate Lewis had two tackles for losses of 11 yards and a sack for seven yards.
Schmidt also praised Bowlan. Both Schmidt and Bowlan are punters. Schmidt punted six times for a 36.33 average while Bowlan punted eight times for a 32.62 average.
“It’s pretty unusual having both quarterbacks punting because you can do trick plays and run the ball. It’s a great advantage. You have somebody you can trust with the ball. He (Bowlan) is a great, great athlete. He had a little trip-ups here and there. If he could get just one more block,” said Schmidt. “The dude fought with what he had.”
McFerran said it is frustrating to come so close to making plays. “We don’t pick up the stunts and we talk about going on two the whole second half and we continue to jump off sides. There is a lot of pressure on him (Bowlan). He is a good football player. It is hard on him because I think he feels like he has got to find a way to make up for something. He is that kind of athlete. Jon-Jon is that kind of competitive kid.”
Young hopes for more consistency from the Panthers. “We gave up a big play before half time. I felt like everybody got down on themselves. We have got to bounce back and we’ll get back on it.”
Young said that he will persevere because of his faith. “I put God first. I pray to Him before every game and every night I talk to Him. He is like a best friend.”
The Panthers’ first six minutes of the first quarter were pleasing to Cason.
“Defense played really well. We stopped them. Then after they scored the first touchdown, our team kind of fell apart. They (Mustangs) made a big play right before half. I thought we were ready but we were not. Our team did not come out and show how we were supposed to be Bartlett. I love my team to death.”
Schmidt said that his team must eliminate mistakes and “play hard for fourth quarters because the Southwind has playoff seeding implications. “It’s a little more added pressure,” said Hudgens. “It’s going to be a battle.”
Cason looked for the silver lining in the loss. “There are a lot of positives to take away,” said Cason. “I like how we just didn’t fold. We played our hearts out and everybody gave 100 percent.”

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