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Waxahachie defense forces 4 turnovers, holds Arlington Lamar under 125 yards in win

By Travis M. Smith | Ellis County Sports

ARLINGTON — The Waxahachie Indian defense improved the Tribe to 2-0 on the season with a 14-6 victory Friday against (0-2) Arlington Lamar at Cravens Field.

Through two weeks of the season, the Indian defense has limited Ennis and Arlington Lamar to 334 total combined yards and 10 points with 6 forced turnovers. The unit forced four turnovers against Lamar while allowing just 117 total yards of offense.

The Waxahachie offense, however, has yet to gel or find any rhythm. The Indians started 6 drives inside the Vikings’ 40-yard line on Friday and had zero points to show for the opportunities. 

Waxahachie ultimately gained 254 total yards, with 249 coming on the ground. Senior quarterback Ramon McKinney Jr. rushed 15 times for a game-high 108 yards and two touchdowns. He completed just 2-of-his-11 passes for 5 yards and 3 interceptions.

Running backs Wade Lemons (11-68) and Ta’Modrick Davis-Robinson (9-60) also helped pace the Indian rushing attack.

HOW IT HAPPENED

Lamar quarterback Gannon Carey narrowly escaped a sack on the opening snap, and the Waxahachie defense forced the first Viking turnovers on the second. Viking running back Melvin Marshall put the football on the turf and set up the Indian offense at the Lamar 28. 

Waxahachie faced 3rd-and-1 at the 6-yard line three snaps later, only to have the ensuing snap slip through the hands of quarterback Ramon McKinney Jr. 

Ethan Guillen then saw his 28-yard field goal attempt bang soundly off the left upright. 

The Viking offense lost 6 yards in three plays on their second driving, setting the Tribe up at the Lamar 31 after a short punt and 15-yard face mask. 

Waxahachie turned the football over on downs without picking up a first down.

With two minutes and change to play in the first quarter, Micah Cook picked off a Carey pass at the Indian 9-yard line for the second Lamar turnover. The Viking quarterback attempted to throw a go-route down the Waxahachie sideline, but Cook was there to undercut the underthrown ball for his second pick of the season.

For the third time in as many tries, the Tribe offense failed to cash in on a gift. It wouldn’t be the last. 

Waxahachie was promptly gifted a fourth opportunity when the special team’s unit recovered a muffed punt by Lamar at the Viking 32-yard line. The second Lamar turnover came with 10 minutes and change to play in the first half.

But it was the Vikings who were first to turn a turnover into points when Damien Brown picked off a tipped McKinney Jr. pass and returned it 68 yards to paydirt. A second sideline violation forced Lamar kicker Robert Duncan into a 35-yard extra point attempt, which he missed wide right. Lamar led 6-0 with 10:07 to play in the first half.

The pick-6 was both the second interception thrown by McKinney and the second returned for a score on the season.

Following a 23-yard Trenton Kidd kickoff return, back-to-back runs by McKinney Jr. (39 yards) and Ta’Modrick Davis-Robinson (13) moved the Indian offense inside the Viking 10.

The senior quarterback scored one snap later on a designed run to the left. Backham Atkins split the uprights — despite a bad snap handled well by backup quarterback Beck Sullivan — on his first extra-point attempt on the season. The scoring drive put the Indians on top, 7-6, with 8 minutes and change to play in the second quarter.

McKinney Jr. threw a second interception with 4:02 remaining in the first half. This time, the turnover came on an underthrown go-route and started the Viking drive at the Lamar 33. It also did not result in anything more than a Lamar punt.

Two McKinney Jr. runs and a 15-yard Viking personal foul had the Indian offense at the Lamar 11. McKinney Jr. scampered home to put the Indians on top 14-6 with 56 seconds to play before the half. His second rushing touchdown was followed by a successful Atkins extra-point kick and capped the scoring — for the game.  

Waxahachie outgained Arlington Lamar 162 total yards to 65 in the half — though only 6 of those Indian yards came through the air.

McKinney Jr. accounted for 106 yards and 2 touchdowns on nine carries over the first two quarters. Waxahachie running backs Lemons (6-34) and Davis-Robinson (3-18) were the only other ball carries for either team to reach double-digit rushing totals in the opening half. 

The Vikings had 16 rushing yards as a team to go with their four turnovers. Waxahachie turned the football over twice on a pair of McKinney Jr. interceptions. 

It is rather difficult to tell whether the second half was a defense showcase or a display of offensive ineptitude. The two teams combined for just 144 total yards.

The Viking offense mustered just 52 total second-half yards, while the Indians accounted for 92 yards and three turnovers. Waxahachie started three more drives inside the Lamar 40-yard line, with the 6th attempt beginning at the Vikings’ 28-yard line with 6:32 to play in the fourth quarter. 

Atkins had a successful 32-yard field goal wiped away by a Lamar personal foul with 11 seconds to play. Instead of the 17-6 lead, Tolleson accepted the automatic first down and allowed Sullivan to kneel out the win. 

UP NEXT

Waxahachie hosts (0-2) Grand Prairie in its home opener at 7 p.m. Friday at Stuart B. Lumpkins Stadium. 

The Gophers have been outscored 89-20 in a pair of losses to Royse City (40-20) and Wylie East (49-0). The Indians defeated the Gophers 49-7 in 2022. 

_____

Travis M. Smith, @Travis5mith

tsmith@elliscosports.com

About Travis M. Smith

Travis M. Smith is the owner and content director of Ellis County Sports and has over a decade of award-winning sports coverage. He most recently served as the digital sports director for KBEC 1390AM/99.1FM. He is the former managing editor of the Waxahachie Daily Light, Midlothian Mirror and Glen Rose Reporter.

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