— By GREG WEBB
The Weatherford Kangaroos took a bigger bite of success on Friday than they had enjoyed in the previous week, but well before the dessert course could be served, the feast turned to near famine for the Roos.
After scoring the first two touchdowns of the game with workmanlike drives, a special teams gaff prompted a momentum shift WHS could not stem, as they fell to the Cleburne Yellowjackets, 54-35.
“The kids had a very good first quarter and I thought their effort was great,” said Weatherford head coach Weldon Nelms. “Then we hit sort of a lull in the second quarter, where we had [Cleburne] stopped, but gave up some big plays.”
After a three-and-out series from the Roo defense on Cleburne’s first possession, the offense went to work, driving 78 yards in nine plays, with Weatherford quarterback Grant Werts scoring on a 1-yard plunge.
Another stop by the Weatherford defenders yielded even better field position after the Cleburne punt, resulting in an efficient, five-play series. The culminating play was a crowd-pleasing circus catch off the arm of Werts to a tightly-covered Chris Whitling. After the ball was tipped virtually straight up into the air at the goal line,
Whitling focused his attention, and eventually both hands, on the ball and grabbed the rebound for the touchdown.
On the ensuing kick, the momentum Weatherford had established took a significant hit when Cleburne’s Reggie Robinson took the ball to the house with an 89-yard kick-off return.
Although the Roos again answered on their next drive, set up by a nice return from return man Dalton Clubb, the ‘Jackets were looking resurgent.
“We really had things completely going our way until the kickoff return they ran back,” Nelms said, “That kind of changed “old Mo” back in their direction.