KIDWELL - With a ton of starters back on both sides of the football, Tyler Consolidated coach Rob Caldwell hoped his squad might come out firing on all cylinders against visiting West Virginia Class A power Williamstown on Friday night.
While the Silver Knights did move the ball well at times, mistakes ultimately were too much to stay in a game with Coach Terry Smith's Yellowjackets.
Williamstown scored every time it touched the ball in the first half, including 17 points off of turnovers, and the Yellowjackets offense had 10 of its 21 plays during the initial 24 minutes of play go for 10 yards or more, as they rolled to a big halftime lead before cruising to a season-opening 52-19 victory against the Knights at Tyler Consolidated High School.
After Tyler looked impressive on its first offensive possession, moving all the way down to the Williamstown 25, a fourth-down sack ended the threat and put the Yellowjackets in business at their own 37.
"We had a chance to set the tone early and take it to them, but we shot ourselves in the foot," Caldwell said. "And then to make matters worse, they turned around and took it to us on their first possession."
It took the visitors all of five plays, four of which went for first downs, to put the first points on the board on a 28-yard burst up the middle by junior fullback David Hastings at 7:38.
Things didn't get any better for the Silver Knights defense after a quick four-and-out as sophomore standout Dakota Watson returned a punt 24 yards to the Tyler Consolidated 26.
Three plays later, Alan Tracewell found sophomore Gage Wicks down the far sideline for a 19-yard scoring toss at the 4:54 mark.
The Knights got one back early in the first quarter, capping an 80-yard, 14-play march with Hunter Lemasters' pushing the pile into the end zone from 6 yards out at 9:53 of the second. Drew Casey's point-after made it 14-7 and finished off the nearly seven-minute drive.
As impressive as Tyler Consolidated was on offense, the 'Jackets once again went straight through the defense. Williamstown needed five plays, moving 55 yards in 2:12 as junior Trace Hart burst through the middle for a 27-yard touchdown run.
Even though the Silver Knights were moving again, an ill-advised Lemasters pitch resulted in a 42-yard Hastings fumble return for a touchdown a short time later at 5:50. Just like that the hosts were down three scores at 28-7.
"That was just a play that we were a little too aggressive and should have just eaten the ball, but it is the kind of mistakes we continually made," Caldwell added. "We had some big plays, but bad things at the wrong time cost us."
A very costly 5-yard penalty, an ineligible player downfield, cost Tyler a pretty 50-yard touchdown pass from Lemasters to Alex Doak late in the half that could have brought the hosts back to within two scores.
Not only did that penalty cost the Knights a touchdown, just two plays later, senior Avery Goff intercepted a Lemasters pass to give the Yellowjackets the ball back.
While Williamstown was held out of the end zone for the first time in the half, the 'Jackets still capitalized, getting a 30-yard Garret Butler field goal with 36 ticks showing for a 31-7 halftime advantage.
The onslaught continued in the third quarter with Tracewell firing a 6-yard scoring pass to Trevor Anderson for a 38-7 margin.
After having a second touchdown called back, Tyler Consolidated recovered a muffed punt midway through the third and cashed it in with a 15-yard Skyler Leasure scoring jaunt. The pass for two failed and it was 38-13 with a quarter-and-a-half to play.
Smith's powerhouse added two more scores in the second half, while junior Josh Ruble added a 4-yard run for a touchdown for the Silver Knights.
"You have to have good plays, followed by good plays, followed by more good plays and we just always seem to have good plays, followed by average plays, followed by bad plays," Caldwell added. "It is hard to overcome so many mistakes against a team the caliber of Williamstown.
Watson finished with 89 yards rushing and a touchdown for the 'Jackets, while Meeks added 91 stripes. Leasure finished with a game-high 104 yards and two trips to the end zone.