Houston quarterback Jared Schmidt takes off downfield Friday night against rival Germantown. The Mustangs improved to 5-0 on the season and are scheduled to play Bartlett Friday. Photo by Kevin Lewter
By Bill Sorrell
Before Houston quarterback Jared Schmidt enters a game, he gets a helping hand from his father David Schmidt.
The former children’s pastor at First Evangelical Church, David draws a cross on Jared’s throwing hand.
That follows pre-game prayers that Jared has with his team and with Houston running back Colby Cartwright.
“Christ is my number one man,” said Jared. “No matter what I do, in everything I try to represent Him the best way I can. I know I am not perfect but He sees that. I think everything should go to him.”
The cross represents Christ being with him in the battles of the game and in life he said.
“When everything is down, that is where I can always look for a positive, in Christ,” said Schmidt, whose favorite Bible verse is 2 Timothy 4:7, “I have fought the good fight. I have finished the race. I have kept the faith.”
“I look at that verse more than just football, it refers to everything in life,” said Jared, who “accepted Christ into my life when I was seven years old.”
As Jared focuses on the cross, he also focuses on the task at-hand: Winning. Houston is 5-0 after a 46-21 victory over Germantown on Friday at Houston.
“I want us to win and go farther that we ever have,” he said. The Mustangs started 6-0 last season and will play at Bartlett on Friday.
Schmidt has another goal. “As a team, my biggest thing is I want us to bond and learn from this and not get big-heads but stay level-headed and move on and focus on the next game. This team probably has one of the greatest relationships with each other,” he said. “We have our little groups but when it comes down to it, we would all fight for each other.”
Houston coach Will Hudgens expected a fight from Germantown.
“The most dangerous animal is the wounded one and we know that Germantown is wounded,” said Hudgens before the game.
The tradition-laden Red Devils entered the game 0-4. Germantown coach Charlie White said, “We are plowing new ground.”
He was hoping this game would provide offensive execution and a reduction in turnovers. After the four-touchdown loss, White saw challenges and hope.
“We need to work on blocking upfront and our defensive line has to be able to make stops. Teams that win, battle upfront well,” he said. “They (Red Devils) never quit. They kept playing. The worst part of any battle is when you give up. That is when you do not have a chance.”
The loss left Germantown 0-5, its worst start in White’s 12 years as head coach and worst in any of his 33 coaching career seasons he said. Germantown will be seeking its first win this Friday at home against Kingsbury.
An offensive line that Schmidt called “amazing” and a defense that Hudgens said played with “intensity” fueled the victory.
“Defensively, we just played great. We had multiple guys tackling the ball, staying at home, doing their responsibilities,” said Hudgens. “We talk all the time about doing your job and trust that guy next to is going to do his. They did and played an outstanding football game tonight. I loved the intensity that they played with.”
Houston’s offensive line provided the holes for running backs to gain 472 yards and four different players to score touchdowns.
Chase Moss-Pioreck had a game-high 155 yards rushing, including 77 yards on one play that set up a third quarter touchdown. Colby Cartwright rushed for 145 yards and scored an 11-yard touchdown. His brother Seth Cartwright, a sophomore, scored two touchdowns and gained 76 yards rushing. Schmidt, who rushed for 94 yards and passed for 63 yards, scored three touchdowns and passed for another.
“Me being a senior, I definitely love running with my senior boys. It’s an honor and a blessing to play with the guys I have grown up with,” said Colby Cartwright. “I love running with my little brother. I can’t explain what it’s like. It is a brotherhood within a brotherhood on a team. It means something more.”
Colby is a more of a run-up-the-middle and hit people type runner he said while Seth kind of “shakes and bakes.”
Said Seth, “He has taught me how to truck and how to block. It’s a great feeling getting into the end zone. Oh, it is even better with my brother. Brotherly love, there is nothing better, especially having someone to look up to. I have to give a shout out to my line because they are the ones that do it all.”
Houston’s offensive line of Clark Anderson, Sam Meagher, Matthew Taylor, Tim Belles, Mason Piper and Benny Carroll also got a plug from Hudgens.
“Colby Cartwright ran the ball really well but all that credit, and he will say the same thing, goes to the offensive line,” Hudgens noted.
Cartwright said, “I can’t thank my line enough. Coach (Eric) Crigler (offensive line coach) calls the right plays at the right time. I wouldn’t be anywhere without my line. The line is everything. I am nothing.”
Said Schmidt, “Our front five came off the ball hard. Our wide receivers started blocking tonight so that helped bring the outside runs.”
Houston opened with a 32-yard touchdown run by Schmidt. Jacob Painter kicked his first of four PATS.
A 70-yard touchdown pass from Germantown quarterback Jacob Ivy to Drew White, a cousin of Charlie White, tied the game when Cooper Foreman kicked the extra point.
“They answered our touchdown at the beginning and we knew this was not going to be a pushover,” said Schmidt.
Houston answered when Schmidt scored on a 2-yard run on a 68-yard drive. On Houston’s next possession, Schmidt had a 43-yard run before being pushed out of bounds. He went air-borne over an aluminum bench on Houston’s sideline but returned. The 15-yard penalty gave Houston the ball on the Red Devils’ 23-yard line.
Schmidt, whose personal goal is to set the school record for passing yards, then threw a 23-yard touchdown pass to Moss-Pioreck and a 20-7 halftime lead.
“I have always been taught to go hard from quarter-to-quarter,” said Schmidt. “My adrenaline was pumping so hard after I got up, all I worried about was trying to get my team in the end zone.”
Hudgens said, “He is the ultimate competitor. He is a warrior.”
The Mustangs began the second half with an onside kick. Donavan Wallace recovered at the Germantown 39. Runs by Colby Cartwright and Moss-Pioreck took the Mustangs to the 11-yard line before Colby Cartwright scored. Painter made it 27-7 with 10:06 left in the third quarter.
“We could handle being two scores down but that onside kick they recovered took the wind out of our sails,” said White.
Two runs by Colby Cartwright that totaled 54 yards put the Ponies on the Germantown 12-yard line, setting up a touchdown run by Seth Cartwright. On Houston’s next possession, the Mustangs were on their 11-yard line when Moss-Pioreck ran 77 yards to the Germantown 12-yard line. Schmidt then ran it in from the 10 and Houston led 40-7.
Houston went on top 46-7 after Seth Cartwright’s 13-yard touchdown, his seventh of the season.
Germantown scored on a 68-yard drive with a 32-yard kickoff return by Cameron Tewari, a 9-yard run by Ivy, an 8-yard pass completion from Ivy to Rodney Williams. Ivy then threw a 29-yard touchdown pass to Williams and Foreman kicked his second PAT. The Red Devils trailed 46-14 with 5:09 left in the game. Ivy passed for 122 yards with two touchdowns while the Red Devils rushed for 92 yards.
Germantown’s Evan Hoover raced 68 yards for a touchdown and Foreman pulled the Red Devils within 46-21 with 1:09 left.
“He has good speed. It was a good run,” said White of Hoover’s touchdown.
Houston is 2-0 in District 15-AAA while the Red Devils are 0-2. Houston defeated Germantown 17-14 last season.
“I am proud of the guys,” said Hudgens. “This is a big deal in the community.”
Colby Cartwright said, “If I could change one thing about tonight, I wish every player would get a touchdown, every wide receiver and every running back, not just myself, but everybody get in on everything. I loved my last senior game with Germantown. It is something that I will remember forever.”