Not since his Dripping Springs Youth Sports Association playing days had Tiger defensive back Brittan Howeth experienced a night quite like Oct. 27 at Oren Stadium in San Antonio.
After all, it took only one quarter for Howeth to secure more interceptions (3) than the two he had during the entire course of Dripping Springs’ 2016 football season.
But for Howeth, individual stats paled in comparison to the bigger prize of a dominant 34-14 road district win over the Alamo Heights Mules. The win places Dripping Springs that much closer to a possible outright 26-5A title.
Going full bore will be the focus for Howeth and the Tigers as they vie to become the first team in school history to secure back-to-back district championships.
“We’re going to do the same thing all year. We’re going to play hard and go 100 percent,” Howeth said.
At the core of Dripping Springs’ success was a smothering defensive effort that hamstrung Heights quarterback Reed Andersen and the Mules offense.
They were able to do so by administering excessive, constant pressure that led to 11 total sacks in the contest.
Andersen went 24 of 37 for 230 yards and only one score and threw three interceptions, all to Howeth.
Galen Zimmerman, Dripping Springs head football coach, said his defensive staff’s game plan was to bring pressure from a variety of angles, so as to disrupt Andersen’s timing.
“Passing is a big part of their offense. We wanted to put pressure in his face…and not to bring it from the same spot, and hopefully be able to confuse their blocking schemes,” Zimmerman said. “The kids did a great job of that.”
Efforts by the defense turned into momentum for the offense.
Leading the way was running back Jake Cox, who rushed for 131 yards on eight carries and finished with a career-high three touchdowns.
Cox began by rushing for a 67-yard touchdown to give Dripping Springs an early 7-0 first quarter lead.
Dripping Springs slammed on the gas pedal from there and scored 20 more points to take a 27-7 lead at intermission.
Cox said getting off to a fast start was a goal for the Tigers, which they struggled to do in its last road game against Seguin. Cox also lauded the play of the Tiger offensive linemen and their ability to secure blocks in the second level of the Mule defense.
“I feel like we’ve run the ball effectively all year, but we haven’t had a monster game where we needed to get on top early. That was key for that part of it,” Zimmerman said. “Our offensive line did a great job. Jake was good in the second level, making guys miss.”
Howeth said obtaining the large early lead kept Alamo Heights in check for the remainder of the game. Heights’ lone touchdowns on the night came in the fourth quarter.
“Any game, that’s a huge part of it. You can see once we get the momentum, it’s up in our favor, that the other team starts to buckle and they aren’t as energized as they were,” Howeth said.
The focus now centers on Friday when the Tigers face off against second-place Medina Valley in what is the defacto district championship game.
Holding to the cliche of staying 1-0 every week is what Zimmerman hopes to rely on.
“We just think of it as a weekly grind; one week after another to go 1-0 every week,” Cox said. “It’s easier to think of it that way. Every week is a battle and the whole thing is a war. We’re looking to play in Week 16.”