Tigers christen new stadium with 55-21 blitz

Dripping Springs Tigers Saturday wasted little time in picking up where they left off last season.

Twenty-seven unanswered points scored in the first 24 minutes of play guided the Tigers to a dominant 55-21 victory over the Bastrop Bears.

The ability to claim victory in the first game at the newly built Tiger Stadium was a moment to relish for Tiger head coach Galen Zimmerman and his team. But the ability to also help their opponents, who are continuing to recover from the impact of Hurricane Harvey was equally important.

“We talked to them about our opponent and how they were affected and how we were going to honor them,” Zimmerman said. “How we honor them is by preparing for this game and playing the game.”

Dripping Springs’ linebacker Nico Ramirez gives thumbs up sign to Tiger fans after being loaded on a gurney due to an apparent ankle injury in the first quarter of the Tigers’ season opener against Bastrop. (photo by Wayland D. Clark, wfotos.com)

Near the goal line, en route to an 82-yard touchdown run, Johnny Hoyle (13) looks over at teammate Parker Alford. Hoyle had a pair of touchdown receptions totaling 97 yard in the game. (photo by Wayland D. Clark, wfotos.com)

Dripping Springs’ first game at the new Tiger Stadium was delayed by a day due to the impact of Hurricane Harvey in the Bastrop area.

Tiger quarterback Trevor Greenman said staying focused was how the team attempted to overcome the unusual 2 p.m. start time.

Dripping Springs needed only four plays on its opening drive to set the tone. A 15-yard touchdown pass from Greenman to wide receiver Johnny Hoyle gave the Tigers a 7-0 lead.

From there, the Tigers exploded for 20 additional unanswered points to hold a commanding 27-0 lead at intermission.

Zimmerman said the offense “clicked right” from the start. He added the game plan was to get out to a fast pace early in the game.

“Our guys were ready to play. We felt like we’ve been practicing for a while,” Zimmerman said. “We wanted to start fast and we weren’t worried about our guys being ready.”

Leading the Tigers was Greenman, who amassed 334 of the Tigers’ 531 total yards on the day. Zimmerman said Greenman executed the offense effecitly and did a good job of adjusting and going through his reads.

His primary target was wide receiver Johnny Hoyle, who compiled 97 yards and two touchdowns on two receptions.

Greenman, who last year played defensive back, felt like he prepared as much as he could for the quarterback role. Prior to last season, Greenman had been playing quarterback since middle school.

Helping with the transition was experiences from last year, primarily going up against wide receivers from their playoff game against Richmond Foster.

“I saw fast guys last year in the fourth round,” Greenman said. “It didn’t scare me at all. It was good.”

While the offense thrived, the Tiger defense kept Bastrop’s run-oriented offense grounded for the majority of the game. Dripping Springs’ defense allowed only 281 total yards. Bear quarterback Dreyson Watters led the team with 103 rushing yards.

Saturday also saw the first two kickoff returns for touchdowns in the new Tiger stadium. Both returns, made by each team and both encompassing 90-plus yards, happened within the first 30 seconds of the second half.

While successful, Zimmerman said the Tigers aim to improve as they ready for Vista Ridge this week. Greenman said the team will look to maintain consistency and focus on being “1-0” every week.

“We can’t take anyone for granted,” Greenman said. “It’s a new year and every team has changed.”

But the Tigers also took time to bask in writing history.

“I’m not sure if it makes or breaks anything, but it’s important to win,” Zimmerman said. “It’s great to have a day like today.”

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