Karl Elers prepares to tackle Livingston QB Chevoski Collins. Elers recorded an interception in the game. - Photo by Brent Guidry
The Silsbee Tigers may have weapons upon weapons to make any team cringe. But when that threat adds special teams play, then it gets very tough to defend against any team.
Silsbee (3-1) outgunned, outmuscled and outran the tired Livingston Lions to a 43-32 win in a final non-district game for the Tigers on Friday at Tiger Stadium.
The win notched the team its third straight victory against a District 20-4A team and sets up the first District 21-3A game at Orangefield on Friday.
The Tigers cashed in on four Livingston turnovers for scores and got the best out of Chris Elam on special teams scoring on a kickoff return and a punt return for touchdowns. In all, Silsbee defense recorded six takeaways in the game to throttle the Lions.
Livingston took a comfortable 24-10 lead with 45 seconds to halftime after Damion Collins picked off Silsbee quarterback Patrick Reed that led to a Lion’s score in three plays.
But Silsbee gained momentum in a big way when Elam raced down the sidelines on the ensuing kickoff return for a touchdown. Lazaro Vasquez added the extra point try to pull Silsbee within 24-17 of the Lions going into halftime.
It was the momentum score that led to 26 unanswered Silsbee points.
At the opening of the third quarter, Silsbee defense made a statement against the power running of Livingston, particularly standout quarterback Chevoski Collins.
The Tigers forced the Lions to its first punt of the night that landed in the hands of Elam.
The junior speedster did his work once again, this time racing 64 yards for pay dirt. The Tigers missed on the extra point try and Livingston held on to a 24-23 score two minutes into the third quarter.
On the Lions’ ensuing drive, Silsbee defense roughed up Collins to force a fumble that was recovered by junior defensive lineman Elijah Miller at the Livingston 46-yard line.
Silsbee moved into scoring position on first down when Reed found Coy Bird for a 33-yard pass play to the Lions’ 13-yard line.
One play later, Jordan Holmes scored on an end around for 10 yards. The Tigers attempted a 2-point conversion and failed, but took the lead 29-23.
Collins moved the Lions on its next drive but junior defensive back Jordan Gore picked off a deep pass at the Silsbee 4-yard line.
The Tigers were unable to move the ball on its next possession. Livingston was rattled by the Silsbee defense and Collins was picked off by Elam at the Silsbee 17-yard line with 11 seconds remaining in the third quarter.
Silsbee QB Reed then found Holmes streaking down the sideline for a 68-yard pass and catch play to the Livingston 12-yard line as the third quarter ended.
After Reed found Elam on an 10-yard pass to the Lions’ 2-yard line, the Tigers implemented junior running back Floyd Spearman at the wildcat.
Though it took three tries with no success to score, Spearman tried on a 4th and one from the goal and scored. Vasquez kick helped extend the lead 36-24 with 9:55 remaining in the game.
Livingston scored on its next possession on a 3-yard run by Collins and made a game of it adding a 2-point conversion to pull within 36-32.
Things became interesting when Silsbee RB Spearman took a toss from Reed on an option on its first play from scrimmage and lost the handle on the ball, giving it back to Livingston.
But the Lions went for the big play on first down and Silsbee senior linebacker Karl Elers picked off Collins two yards deep in the end zone and ran it back to the Silsbee 21-yard line with 6:32 remaining in the game.
Reed scrambled 26 yards on the first play from scrimmage. On a third and 12 play, Reed found Spearman open on a post for a 30-yard gain to the Livingston 13-yard line.
On the next play, Reed rambled 13 yards for the eventual winning score. Vasquez’ kick extended Silsbee’s lead 43-32 with 3:17 remaining in the game.
Silsbee’s defense sealed the win for the Tigers after senior defensive back Montana Garcia picked off Collins on his third interception toss of the game.
Early in the game, Silsbee tied the score in the second quarter 3-3 after Vasquez booted a 38-yard field goal to set the tone of the game.
Senior defensive lineman Cody Riley recovered a fumble on the ensuing kickoff for Silsbee setting up a 15-yard TD from Reed to Spearman.
Reed completed 12 of 16 passes for 191 yards and one interception in the game for the Tigers. Holmes finished as the leading receiver with five receptions for 103 yards.