HUMBLE, Texas -- It was supposed to be a battle between the irresistible force and the immovable object, but nothing was going to stop Navasota Friday night in Humble. The Rattlers rode a wave of big plays and first half turnovers by West Orange-Stark to cruise to a 38-7 win the 3A Division II Region III final.
West Orange-Stark came into the game with a perfect record and an impeccable defense. The Mustangs hadn’t allowed a team to score more than 13 points in a game this season but Navasota’s offense took less than seven minutes to smash that streak.
The Rattlers struck first on their opening drive with a 46 yard strike from Kadarius Baker to Austin Collins. It was the first of two first quarter touchdown passes by Baker and the first of four touchdowns by Collins.
The tone from that point was set by the Navasota defense, which forced four first half turnovers, three interceptions and a costly fumble by quarterback Jimmy Salter. Salter entered the game having thrown just two interceptions all year.
Navasota led 21-0 late in the second quarter when the Mustangs had their best chance to keep the game close. Having thrown two interceptions already, West Orange-Stark stuck to the running game and drove down to the Navasota 15 when Salter lost the handle on the ball on an inside run. Navasota pounced on the ball, ending the threat. On West Orange-Stark’s next drive Navasota ended the Mustangs’ hopes of staying in the game.
Pressure forced Salter out of the pocket to the left and in the scramble a Mustang receiver broke free down the sideline. Throwing against his body, Salter couldn’t deliver the ball deep enough and Collins picked it off. Collins then weaved his way across the field and through the would be tacklers for a 66 yard interception return for a touchdown and a 28-0 lead the Rattlers would take to halftime.
Navasota called off the dogs in the second half but still scored 10 points to push the score to 38-0 before the Mustangs were able to get on the board. Chase Rutledge pushed the ball across the goal line from three yards out after West Orange-Stark blocked a Rattlers punt to score it only points.
With the win Navasota advances to the 3A Division II state semifinal and will play the winner of Saturday’s game beetween Port Isabel and Bellville.