Photo by Kevin Lewter
Houston defender JC Reynolds takes Germantown quarterback Myles Guyton to the ground by his facemask Friday night. Guyton went through concussion protocol after the play and later returned to the game. Houston won the contest 39-7.
By Bill Sorrell
Special to The Independent
With a career rushing night and two touchdowns, Carson Blackfan was more than in the end zone after leading Houston to a 39-7 victory over Germantown on Friday at Germantown.
He was in the zone.
“My mind is in a different place. I am so excited right now. I am at a loss for words. It’s been awhile since this program felt this way. I couldn’t be happier. They are crosstown rivals. I was motivated to get back at them after last year,” said Blackfan after rushing for 289 yards on 39 carries and scoring on runs of 6 yards and 1 yard.
A 78-yard run that went from his 20-yard line to the Germantown 2 on the Mustangs’ first possession of the second half was the turning point of the game.
Shane Ptacek scored from the 1-yard line, giving Houston a 20-7 lead.
Blackfan’s 40-yard run zenithed an 86-yard opening drive that put Houston ahead 6-0 in the first quarter.
“I have got to give this game to my O-line. They came to play,” said Blackfan, a senior.
Houston coach Will Hudgens said, “Carson will give all that credit up front. Those guys got a great push all night. Those big guys, those hogs up front moved some people around for him.”
Avenging a 21-14 loss to Germantown in 2015, Hudgens was as jubilant as Blackfan.
“It feels great. I am so excited for my kids. They have worked their butts off during the off-season. The whole week, the way they have prepared to come into this game and fight. The first region game that is huge for us,” said Hudgens, adding his team “got the monkey off our backs.”
Ending a six-game losing streak, the win was Houston’s first since defeating Bartlett in Week 5 last season.
“It’s a huge confidence boost. Last year we fell short the first, second and third games. This year the first and second games are the ones that you need to win,” said Blackfan, who planned to celebrate the victory by “going with my boys. I love them. I love hanging out with them. I’m gonna chill out and enjoy this tonight.”
Germantown (1-2) did not enjoy the game. It was like no other game Chris Smith had coached.
The Red Devils were penalized 21 times (12 in the first half, nine in the second) for 230 yards.
“I never have,” said Smith of being in a game where his team was flagged so often. “A lot of them were very inopportune times. I know emotions are high because it is a rivalry game but it definitely did not help our cause.” Houston had five penalties for 45 yards.
“The turning point was every time we got something going, we had a penalty. Here a penalty, there a penalty. That was some momentum killers. We made some big plays that got called back. The ball definitely didn’t go our way the whole night. We have got to bounce back and try to make plays.
“We have got to play clean football and try to eliminate some of the penalties. We can’t shoot ourselves I the foot.”
Germantown’s Anterrious Branch intercepted Houston quarterback Garrett Bates at the Germantown 39-yard line. However the Red Devils were charged with pass interference. Houston then got a first down at the Germantown 24 with 7:21 left in the third quarter.
On the next play, Germantown was penalized and Houston had a first down at the 14. Houston was then penalized for holding after Ptacek ran to the 10-yard line.
From the 20, Terrell Tatum ran to the 1-yard line and Blackfan scored his second touchdown of the game with 6:20 left in the third quarter for a 27-7 lead.
A face mask penalty in the fourth quarter got Houston a first down on the Germantown 37. Blackfan then ran to the 20 before Jeramie Tate scored from the 15 with 3:47 left in the game to give Houston a 33-7 lead.
A penalty on Germantown on Houston’s kickoff put the Red Devils on their 24-yard line. Tatum then intercepted sophomore quarterback Ethan Payne, returning 29 yards for a touchdown and a 39-7 lead with 2:45 left.
A scary play came in the second quarter.
What Germantown fans claimed was a face mask became a holding penalty on the Red Devils with 10:17 left. Senior quarterback Myles Guyton ran 27 yards to the 50-yard line. He was flipped out-of-bounds and his 6-3, 210-pound frame lay motionless for several minutes.
“It looks like he got flipped on the sideline,” said Smith. “He landed really awkwardly and fell close to his neck.”
Guyton eventually returned to the game.
With 1:05 left in the second quarter, Guyton threw a 29-yard pass to Cameron Tewari that went to the Germantown 45-yard line. The Red Devils were penalized for unsportsmanlike conduct on the next play. Guyton then threw a 36-yard pass to Marvell Hodges and the Red Devils were on the Houston 34. A 21-yard pass from Guyton to Jaylin Williams got them to the 13-yard line.
Guyton ran to the 10-yard line before a penalty pushed them to the 27-yard line. A 23-yard pass from Guyton to Tewari got to the Houston 4. A false-start penalty pushed the Red Devils to the 9. Houston’s defense held Tewari at the 9 after Guyton’s incomplete pass with 4.3 seconds left.
With 10:42 left in the third quarter Guyton was hurt again. “He got hit in the back of the end zone right in the face with a helmet,” said Smith. “That was it for him. We have not heard his status yet.”
Guyton finished with 14 pass completions for 126 yards.
Guyton’s absence “affected morale” said Smith. “He is a senior leader. He has experience executing the plays and the system is a little bit different when he is in the game. The kids feed off him. He can make the plays in tough situations. We lost that tonight.”
Hudgens said, “Eleven guys play football. He (Guyton) is a great player. I hope he is all right and will be able to play next week. At the end of the day, 11 guys have to go on the field.”
At the end of the game the Houston band yelled “Defense wins games.”
Blackman said, “Our defense played lights out from start to finish.”
“No question,” said Hudgens. “Hats off to our defense. Those guys have done a great job of preparing. One of the mottos this week was, the definition of crazy is doing the same thing over and over again expecting a different result. We just came to work. We have a bunch of great coaches here, a bunch of great kids. I am excited.”
Hudgens’ excitement built in the second half. Leading 13-7, the Mustangs wanted to “come out and make a statement.” With Blackman bursting through a hole on the right side, he ran to the 2 before he said that he ran out of gas. Williams tackled him.
“To give that first kick in the second half got some momentum moving our way,” said Hudgens.
In the first quarter, Bates, who completed 5-of-11 passes for 134 yards, scored the Mustangs’ first touchdown on a 1-yard run.
Also in the first, the Red Devils got a first down on fourth-and-two when Guyton ran to the Houston 45-yard line. A 17-yard run by Kameron Walker got to the 16 but an incomplete pass by Guyton on fourth down stopped the drive.
The Red Devils took advantage of a Houston turnover to score their first touchdown. When the center hiked the ball over punter J.C. Reynolds’ head, Germantown was at the 23-yard line. Williams scored on the next play. Marshall Ware gave the Red Devils their only lead of the game 13-7 with a PAT with 11:44 left in the first.
Blackfan gave Houston a 13-7 lead on his 6-yard touchdown run with 10:47 left in the second quarter.
Houston recovered a fumble at the Germantown 10 with 4:20 left in the second but Blackfan and Bates were both stopped at the 1-yard line.
With Houston leading 27-7, in the third quarter Blackfan ran 16 yards to his 36. A penalty moved the Mustangs to the Red Devils 45. Blackfan later got a first down at the 24-yard line with a 17-yard run. Germantown’s Jaylen Jackson then recovered a Ptacek fumble to stop the drive with 2:07 left.
Payne, who started Germantown’s season opener against Lausanne due to an illness by Guyton, played practically all the second half. He completed 6-of-19 passes for 46 yards.
“I have been here before. There are some ups and downs about it. It is a big role to fill. I learned that I don’t need to be so hard on myself. I have great teammates. They all love me. I am their brother. I need to trust in them. I need practice and work a little bit harder on my passing reads. I missed a couple of tonight,” said Payne, an active member of Trinity Baptist Church youth group, adding that he applies Philippians 4:13 to his game, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”
“No matter what, you got to know that God is there and you have got to have faith that things happen for a reason. You have always got to know that He is going to do something about it. Everything is possible with Him just like the verse says.”
Smith credited Blackfan. “He ran hard. He ran tough. We have got to do a better job of leading blocks, wrapping up (tackles) and running downhill.”
Houston had 329 yards rushing on 50 carries. Reynolds had two punts for 42 yards. Ware had two punts for 46 yards. Ryan Arthur had 9 tackles for Germantown, including seven solos. Williams had eight solo tackles. Devin Wright had 12 tackles including nine. Branch had eight tackles, three solos. Cory Dyson had eight tackles.
Hudgens said of Germantown, “You have to give credit to their front-five and front-seven. They are a dadgum good front.”
Admitting the game got a “little chippy” because of the crosstown rivalry, Hudgens said of the penalties, “That’s football. There are ups and downs. We tell our guys every day that you have got to be able to ride the wave. You have got to keep that even-keel and overcome. There is going to be a lot of adversity. You have got to fight through things like that.”
The Mustangs, who play CBHS this week, traveled to Paris last week only to have their game against Henry County rained out. “We knew that Henry County is a tough team. We really wanted to play that game but Mother Nature did not allow it. Things happen for a reason,” said Hudgens. “We moved on and got it out of our minds.”
The Region 4-6A victory over Germantown led to congratulatory hugs and handshakes for Hudgens.
“This is our town. Go Mustangs,” he said.