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12/18/1994  Defense paves the way for Goldthwaite repeat  Football

Abilene Reporter News: Archive
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Defense paves the way for Goldthwaite repeat

By Lance Fleming/Staff Writer
December 18, 1994

Austin — Throughout the 1994 campaign, Goldthwaite has lived and won with its defense.

Saturday at Memorial Stadium, it won the Eagles a second straight Class 2A state championship.

Going against the best passing offence in Class 23A, the Eagle defense intercepted four passes, recovered one fumble and made big play after big play to help preserve a 20-16 victory.

The Eagles become the third straight Class 2A team to win back-to-back titles, joining Groveton and Schulenburg on the list.

"I saw that earlier," Goldthwaite head coach Gary Proffitt said. "I was just hoping the pattern would continue tonight."

The Eagles’ win was made even sweeter by the fact that they beat the team that kept them from having three straight state titles. In 1992, the Shorthorns beat the Eagles, 35-20, at the Astrodome.

"We knew we wanted to get revenge," Goldthwaite linebacker Kent Schillings said. "But we couldn’t let it be all revenge, because we didn’t want to get caught up in just getting revenge."

That’s because there was a state title to be won, and when it was on the line Goldthwaite turned the game over to its defense.

The Eagles were never able to generate much offense in the second half, and that dictated the defense would have to control the potent Shorthorn attack. The defense did that, but not without a few hairy moments.

Leading 20-7 early in the fourth quarter, Cockrum dropped to punt from his own 37-yard line with 7:54 to play. But the snap went over his head, and he covered the ball at the 10-yard line.

Schulenburg quarterback Steve Sartain wasted little time getting his club into the end zone, firing a 10-yard scoring pass to Eric Oeding on the first play. With the lead cut to 20-14 with 7:42 to play, the game was back on.

After forcing a Goldthwaite punt, Schulenburg got the ball back at the Eagle 40 looking for the lead. But on the second play of the drive Sartain was intercepted by Heath Nuckolls at the 1-yard line.

It was the Eagles’ second interception deep in their own territory in the second half.

"We played better in the second half," Schulenburg head coach David Husmann said. "It was right there all day. But they made the plays and we didn’t. We just couldn’t get a big play all day."

But Goldthwaite was unable to do anything with the turnover, and, facing fourth-and-1 from the 10-yard line, elected to give Schulenburg a safety. When Cockrum backed out of his own end zone with 3:42 left the score became 20-16.

Schulenburg took over on the 50-yard line after the free kick and proceeded to move down to the 12-yard line. Big plays in the drive included a 19-yard run by Derrick Jackson and a 10-yard pass from Sartain to Steven Adams.

But deep in its own end, Goldthwaite’s defense stiffened, forcing a fourth-and-6 situation.

Sartain was flushed out of the pocket, then fired a pass into the end-zone. The ball was tipped and intercepted at the 2-yard line by Goldthwaite’s Paul Wiedebusch, who returned the ball to the 17-yard line.

Wiedebusch appeared to have returned it 98 yards for a score, but the officials ruled he stepped out of bounds 83 yards up the field.

"I was real surprised I ended up with the ball," Wiedebusch said. "All of a sudden the ball was up in the air and it came down in my arms. I just took off."

Sartain said the play allowed him two receivers in the end zone, but neither was open.

"They had both of them covered really well," Sartain said. "I waited a little longer for them to get open, but then I ran out of time and I decided to throw it in the end zone and hope something good happened."

But even after that interception Goldthwaite couldn’t relax.

The Shorthorns forced a punt, and got the ball back one last time with 29 seconds left.

They moved to the 32-yard line where, with one second left, Sartain found Jamie Jackson for 17 yards. But that left Schulenburg 15 yards short of the end zone, and left Goldthwaite basking in the aftermath of a second straight state title.

"You can look at a lot of different things in this game," Proffitt said, "but I think everything goes back to us playing good defense. We bent, but we didn’t break down the stretch."

And although they gave up some yards, the Eagles contained an offense that had been averaging 38 points per outing.

Part of that containment included keeping Jackson under control. While Jackson did have 158 yards on 10 catches, the longest was for 39 yards, and 42 of it came in the final three minutes of the game.

He entered the game with 1,617 yards and 16 touchdowns on 77 catches, but Cockrum hounded him all game long in man-to-man coverage.

"We knew we had to contain Jackson," Cockrum said. "We played man coverage because we felt I might have a height advantage on him (6-1 to 5-11). I don’t think we could have double-covered him, because that would have left somebody else open. And they had too many weapons for that."

The Eagles also appeared to rattle Sartain, who, despite throwing for 265 yards, completed just 19 of 37 passes and threw four interceptions.

"I don’t think he’s ever been hit like he was tonight," Schillings said. "We wanted to get him jumpy and out of any kind of rhythm."

While Goldthwaite was keeping Schulenburg’s offense out of sync in the first half, it was showing off a big-play ability of its own.

Those big plays started early as the Eagles trapped Schulenburg punter Jarrod Schramek for a 19-yard loss on the first punting attempt of the game.

The Eagles marched right down the field, going 38 yards for the first touchdown of the game. Heath Nuckolls, who found the running tough the whole game, had a big 15-yard run to get the ball down to the 25-yard line.

Chris Conradt ended the drive when he went 16 yards for a score on a reverse.

Schulenburg came right back, but failed to convert on fourth-and-3, turning the ball over at the Eagle 30-yard line.

Goldthwaite then went 70 yards in seven plays to grab a 12-0 lead. The big play in the drive was a 51-yard pass from Cockrum to J.T. Auldridge. Cockrum then ended the drive with a 7-yard scoring run.

Schulenburg, though, showed some big-play ability of its own, getting out of a third-and-19 situation with a 33-yard pass from Sartain to Kevin Marak.

Two plays later - on the first play of the second quarter - Sartain hit Steven Adams with a 36-yard scoring pass to make it a 12-7 game.

Goldthwaite’s defense then stepped up its game, stopping Schulenburg on a fourth-down play and intercepting a pass on Schulenburg’s ensuing drive.

In between those two plays Goldthwaite took a 20-7 lead on a 17-yard TD run by Cheyenne Horton.

That extra score would prove to be huge, because the Eagles never could get much offense going in the second half.

In fact, Goldthwaite’s average starting field position on its seven second-half possessions was its own 19-yard line.

And that forced the conservative Eagles to grow even more conservative.
"We couldn’t get much going at all in the second half," Cockrum said. "We just wanted to keep the ball away from them and not do anything too risky. We were trapped down there most of the second half, and that hurt us."

But Schulenburg could only score once against a Goldthwaite defense that knew it had to win the game.

"Defense brought us here," Schillings said, "and it had to carry us through. I think it did."

Goldthwaite 12 8 0 0 - 20
Schulenburg 0 7 0 9 - 16

First Quarter
G - Chris Conradt 16 run (kick failed)
G - Keith Cockrum 7 run (pass failed)
Second Quarter
S - Steven Adams 36 pass from Steve Sartain (Barry Shepard kick)
G - Cheyenne Horton 17 run (Heath Nuckolls run)
Fourth Quarter
S - Eric Oeding 10 pass from Sartain (Shepard kick)
S - Safety when Cockrum stepped out of own end zone

Goldthwaite Schulenburg
First downs 10 19
Rushes-yards 46-138 30-102
Passing yards 58 265
Comp-Att-Int 2-8-0 19-37-4
Punts 4-42 1-26
Fumbles-lost 0-0 3-1
Penalties-yards 4-30 3-25


RUSHING- Goldthwaite: Keith Cockrum 24-116, Heath Nuckolls 13-19, Cheyenne Horton 3-17, Conradt 2-16, Luis Barrera 2-7, team 2-(-37); Schulenburg: Errick Jackson 10-61, Bradley Wright 4-12, Sartain 13-37, David Raines 2-11, team 1-(-19)

PASSING- Goldthwaite: Cockrum 2-8-0, 58 yards; Schulenburg: 19-37-4, 265 yards

RECEIVING- Goldthwaite: J.T. Auldridge 1-51, Horton 1-7. Schulenburg: Jamie Jackson 10-158, Kevin Marak 1-33, Steven Adams 3-49, Raines 1-(-3), Curt Besetsny 2-18, Oeding 2-10.

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