BEDFORD — Randy Huffstickler can take several positives out of his first game as interim head coach for Robert E. Lee — except the final score: Euless Trinity 30, Lee 7.
Euless Trinity (1-0), the third-ranked team in Class 5A had only one player go over 50 yards rushing, but used the quantity not quality strategy. The Trojans had eight different ball carriers total 241 yards, highlighted by a 45-yard scoring run from Matt Hawkins on a fake punt and 22-yard touchdown run by quarterback Kailahi Kautai. Kautai also threw a 22-yard touchdown pass.
Lee (0-1) rushed for 205 yards in the loss, led by Aneas Sutton who carried 11 times for 105. Junior tailback LaQuintas Wallace rushed for 51 yards in the first half before a foot injury kept him out of the second while Dalaven Baker rushed for 42 yards and a touchdown.
“I am proud of these guys; I thought they came in here and battled,” Huffstickler said. “It’s not easy to come in here and match up with them.”
The Red Raiders held Trinity to four first downs through two quarters while Lee controlled time of possession for almost 15 minutes.
But no points, and that was the difference as Lee trailed 17-0 at halftime.
Lee took the opening possession and drove into the teeth of Euless Trinity’s defense, using carries from Wallace, Sutton and Baker to go deep into Trojan territory. A 15-yard run by Marcus White put Lee with first-and-goal from the 5. Lee quarterback Joseph Seeber looked to have thrown a touchdown pass as he rolled out and hit his tight end in the hands, but it was dropped in the end zone.
Two penalties later, Lee faced a third-and-goal from the 15. Seeber tried a quick pass, but it was picked off by Trinity defensive end Gaius Vaenuku, who started to return it the other way before being cut down by a hustling Seeber.
“I thought we drove the ball real well and as you get down there, your concentration in the red zone needs to pick up and we get a penalty which backs us up and puts in a situation we don’t want to be in,” Huffstickler said.
Lee’s defense looked to have held Trinity following the turnovers as the Trojans faced a fourth-and-2 from the Red Raider 45. The Trojans used a fake punt to change everything into their favor. Matt Hawkins took the snap and came around the end and found a seam for a 45-yard touchdown. Austin Lopez’s PAT made it 7-0 Trinity with 3:36 in the first quarter despite the Trojans only having 9 yards of offense.
“That was a three and out and we were in a punt safe defense and we relaxed a little bit and you can’t relax on that down,” Huffstickler said.
Lee began at its own 5 following a muff on the kick return and a 5-yard penalty. Despite that, REL went to its ground game and churned out 41 yards in five plays to move to the 46. A holding penalty on first down, followed by a one-yard pass completion left the Red Raiders in second-and-long. Seeber rolled out and tried to force a pass into his receiver, but it was picked off by Illiau Moekiola.
The Red Raider defense held Trinity to a field goal, but more penalties and miscues on Lee’s third possession led to a three-and-out. The Trojans responded with a 67-yard touchdown drive, capped by a 14-yard run from Brandon Reeves and a 20-0 lead with 6:04 to play in the half.
Lee again drove into Euless Trinity territory, but more penalties stalled the drive, forcing a 52-yard field goal attempt from Lumi Kaba. Unfortunately, a fumbled snap by the holder ended the chance and left Lee down 17-0 at halftime.
Trinity scored on its first two possessions of the second half while Lee did not get a first down until the closing minutes of the third quarter. By that point, REL was trailing 30-0.
The Red Raiders got on the board in the fourth quarter thanks to strong running from Baker and Sutton. Baker eventually capped the drive with a 5-yard touchdown run, but Lee could not get any closer.
“Really I kind of thought we dominated the first half; we came out with a great plan and the kids executed it really well.” Huffstickler said. “But it’s a learning process; we’ve got some young guys and I am proud of them. I think they are going to compete.”
Euless Trinity 30, Robert E. Lee 7
Friday at Pennington Field, Bedford
Robert E. Lee 0 0 0 7 – 7
Euless Trinity 7 10 13 0 – 30
ET—Matt Hawkins 45 run on fake punt (Austin Lopez kick), 3:36
ET—FG: Lopez 44 (10:38)
ET—Brandon Reeves 14 run (Lopez kick), 6:04
ET—Kailahi Kautai 22 run (kick blocked), 7:27
ET—Enrique Oquendo 22 pass from Kautai (Lopez kick), 3:04
REL—Dalaven Baker 5 run (Lumi Kaba kick), 6:02.
First Downs 13 16
Rushes-Yards 35-205 31-241
Passing Yards 36 86
Comp-Att-Int 6-14-2 6-12-0
Punts-Average 3-41 1-18
Fumbles-Lost 1-0 1-1
Penalties-Yards 11-60 7-49
RUSHING – Robert E. Lee, Aneas Sutton 11-105, LaQuintas Wallace 10-53, Dalaven Baker 11-42, Marcus White 3-18, Dreak Scott 1-0, Joseph Seeber 1-(minus 6), Austin Martel 1-(minus 7). Euless Trinity, Kalahi Kautai 6-53, Matt Hawkins 1-45, Jonathan Brown 5-41, Brandon Reeves 7-32, Joel Kimpela 5-27, Remel Newton 3-20, Paul Tuipulotu 4-20, Kenneth Gonzales 1-3.
PASSING – Robert E. Lee, Seeber 6-14-2 36. Euless Trinity, Kautai 5-10-0 78, Joel Sullivan 1-2-0 8.
RECEIVING – Robert E. Lee, Sutton 2-19, Luke Swanson 2-7, Scott 1-10, Baker 1-0. Euless Trinity, Newton 2-35, Enrique Oquendo 1-22, Kenneth Gonzales 1-12, Kimpela 1-9, Ray Bolden 1-8.