Defense leads Friendswood to 21-2 win over Hightower

FRIENDSWOOD — So far this season -- the Friendswood Mustangs have avenged two of the three losses they suffered last year in District 10-5A-I which places them in a good position to advance to the playoffs -- something they missed last year.

The Mustangs (7-1, 4-1) have beaten Texas City, Ball High, Foster, and Hightower while falling to Shadow Creek. Their latest win was a 21-2 over Hightower with Terry and Angleton still left on their schedule. Friendswood should be favored in those to allow them to punch their ticket to the post-season.

Of course, Friendswood head coach Robert Koopmann is going to keep his chargers focused on one game at a time.

Defense has been the key to some of their district wins this season that has helped reverse their fortunes from a year ago.

Hightower entered the game undefeated in league play, but they hadn't played the meat of district competition. The Hurricanes still have to face league-leading Shadow Creek and Foster.

Friendswood didn't let a first snap mistake influence the outcome of the game. On the first play of the contest, Friendswood's center sent the ball over quarterback Luke Grden's head who punched on the ball in the end zone for a safety and an early 2-0 lead for Hightower.

Little did the Hurricanes know that would be the only points they would get the remainder of the game.

“Our defense just played awesome, and I’m going to tell you, our offense really grinded it out against a good defensive team,” Koopmann said. “I’m proud of the coaching staff and proud of the kids for the effort. It was an outstanding effort.

The Mustangs would respond with a 38-yard touchdown pass from Grden to Patrick Elizondo who reached over a Hurricane defender to catch the ball and then break away for 38 yards and the touchdown for a 7-2 lead in the first quarter.

After Friendswood forced a three-and-out to force a punt, the Mustangs set up their next possession on Hightower's side of the field.

Grden found Matthew Kovacevich on a 7-yard scoring toss to give the Mustangs a 14-2 lead mid-way through the second period.

The short drive was highlighted with Grden connecting with Christian Lee covering 14 and 19-yards.

Neither team scored for the rest of the first half as Friendswood went into the dressing room with the 14-2 lead.

The defensive struggled continued in the second half as the Mustangs kept the Hurricanes out of the end zone while scoring one more time when Noah Palitz iced the game with a 13-yard scoring run to post the 21-2 final score.

Defensive stars of the game included Johnathan Farrell, Ryan Helton, and Dane Roenne who recorded sacks while Luke Boone forced a fumble that was recovered by Trey Mappe. Connor Haines also had an interception.

Offensively, the Mustangs outgained Hightower 369 to 152 in total offense including 181 to 77 on the ground.

Grden was 15-for-23 for 204-yards and four touchdowns.

Palitz had eight carries for 80-yards and one score.

Lee had six catches for 110 yards.

“I didn’t think we’d ever run the ball on these dudes, but in that fourth quarter, we really went out there an ran the ball,” Koopmann said. “Our kids competed against a really good football team, and I think that just kind of wears on people sometimes."

Friendswood will travel to face Terry on Saturday, November 2 at Traylor Stadium at 1:00 p.m.