Tony Adams - Sports Editor, Belton Journal

The Belton Tigers hosted the Killeen Shoemaker Grey Wolves on Friday night at Tiger Field, as the team looked to stay undefeated in District 12-6A action.

The Tigers scored on their first two possessions before Shoemaker scooped up a bad punt snap for a touchdown to make the game close.

Belton was able to get four touchdowns in the second to pull away from Shoemaker and take the win, 42-20.

The Tigers improved to 3-0 in District 12-6A play, to keep pace with Midway (who defeated Waco High 57-7) and Temple (idle) atop the standings.

Shoemaker dropped their 25th straight decision and fell to 0-2 in district play.

The Grey Wolves won the toss, deferred to the second half, and kicked off to the Tigers. A penalty forced Belton to start the opening drive at their own 6-yard line. Connor Carothers converted a third down and three play with a 22-yard pass to Anthony Brown. On third down and two at the Shoemaker 47, Carothers tucked the ball and ran 24 yards down to the Grey Wolves’ 23-yard line. Carothers then found Jose Perez for a 23-yard touchdown strike to complete the nine-play, 94-yard, 2:09 drive. The extra point was no good, which kept the Tigers in the lead with 9:51 remaining in the first quarter, 6-0.

A great defensive stand, led by Devin Martinez, Marco Moctezuma and Jarrett Karnowski, forced the Grey Wolves to punt. Tristan Clay’s punt was blocked by Jason Stephens, and Belton took over at the Shoemaker 43.

Six plays later, the Tigers converted the block into seven punts as Carothers found Perez for a 6-yard touchdown catch. Logan Smith booted to the extra point to put Belton up 13-0 with 6:03 to play in the opening quarter.

Belton was able to knock the Grey Wolves backwards on the ensuing drive to force Shoemaker into another punt. However, Clay’s punt hit a Belton player in the back of the leg on a strange bounce and Shoemaker pounced on the ball.

The Tigers turned away the Grey Wolves in the red zone, as Devin Brown was dropped for a two-yard loss on fourth down and one yard to go on the Belton 14, which created a turnover on downs.

Later in the second quarter, the Grey Wolves forced Belton to punt on fourth down and nine at the Tigers’ 31-yard line. The snap went over Smith’s head and rolled into the end zone, where a Grey Wolves’ special teamer fell on the loose ball for a touchdown. Vance Brown’s extra-point with 6:40 to go in the second quarter cut the deficit down to six points, 13-7.

Holman’s 30-yard kickoff return gave Tigers excellent field position at the Belton 42. The Tigers were able to get down to the Shoemaker 38, but were turned away on a fourth down and one play.

Shoemaker’s Hail Mary attempt to end the half was intercepted by Anthony Brown and returned 40 yards. The Tigers led at the half, 13-7.

Karnowski and Martinez disrupted the Grey Wolves’ attempt at a tying scoring drive to start the third quarter. They forced Clay to punt and Belton had good starting field position at their own 37-yard line.

On third down and six at their own 41, Belton was able to find a way into the red zone. Carothers hit Anthony Fairbanks on a sideline pattern at the 45, he leapt over a Shoemaker tackler and Sauce sprinted all the down to the Grey Wolves’ 9-yard line. Two plays later, Carothers hit Marques Aguilar, who came open in the pass pattern to the left, and Aguilar scored on the 11-yard pass play. Smith’s extra-point put Belton up 20-7 with 8:22 to play in the third quarter.

Stephens stopped a near breakaway run by Devin Brown, and contained the gain to 24 yards to the Shoemaker 44. The Tigers slammed the door to force another punt.

Carothers hit Perez for a 35-yard pass play and a Shoemaker facemask penalty moved the ball down to the Grey Wolves’ 4-yard line. Carothers scored from four yards out and then completed the two-point conversion on a long run to the left side to give the Tigers a 28-7 lead with 3:05 remaining in the third quarter.

Shoemaker drove the field in 11 plays and drove 75 yards, with Devin Brown scoring on a one-yard run. Vance Brown’s extra-point brought Shoemaker back to within 14 points of the Tigers with 11:14 remaining in the game, 28-14.

Holman’s 42-yard kickoff return set up Carother’s screen pass to Anthony Brown, which the senior receiver converted into a 50-yard touchdown reception. Smith’s extra-point kick gave the Tigers back their 21-point lead with 11 minutes to play, 35-14.

Belton’s defense stymied the Shoemaker offense on the next drive, as stalled a Grey Wolves’ drive on fourth down and nine on their own 30-yard line, as Trey Harrison dropped Walker for a sack to create a turnover on downs.

Belton scored five plays later, as Carothers found Perez for a 7-yard touchdown and third touchdown reception of the game. Smith’s extra-point put Belton up by 28 points with 7:26 left in the ballgame, 42-14.

Shoemaker’s last drive of the game was a 15-play, 72-yard, 6:42 drive, which resulted in Devin Brown’s second touchdown carry from one yard out. The two-point conversion failed, which kept the Tigers in the lead by 22 points with 43.9 seconds to play, 42-20.

The onside kick landed in the arms of Stephens at the Belton 45, as they took a knee in victory formation, as the Tigers won the game by 22 points.

Belton will travel to Wildcat Stadium on Friday night (Oct. 5) to take on the Temple Wildcats in a pivotal battle in the District 12-6A race.