Mineola brought more than a thunderstorm up US 69 on Friday night as they overpowered Farmersville, 42-13. Behind an unrelenting rushing attack, the Yellowjackets added some new wrinkles to a proven gameplan, once again turning a close game at the half into a dominant Yellowjackets’ victory.
Quarterback Shaw Franklin (273 yards on 13 carries) and Running Back Trevion Sneed (246 yards on 15 carries) provided the offensive punch, while the Yellowjackets’ defense played lights out in the second half. In a game filled with highlights, the ball-running skills of Franklin and Sneed were clearly on display. Using well-timed cutbacks and field reversals, the two Jackets seemed to take turns busting through the line and cutting up the Farmers’ secondary. It was the perfect recipe for victory on a rain-soaked Friday night.
Following a lengthy weather delay, lightning struck in the form of Yellow Jacket Dalton Rodgers who took the opening kickoff 83 yards for a score. In what would become an unfortunate trend for the Jackets this night, the score was nullified by an illegal block in the back. Despite the penalty, Rodgers’ return was a thing of beauty, breaking straight up the middle then cutting left, outracing and outmaneuvering the Farmers’ coverage team. All told the Jackets amassed 16 penalty flags throughout the night, a number of which were personal fouls or major penalties.
The Jackets fumbled away their first offensive possession, but forced a Farmerville punt providing the second highlight of the night. A 60 yard punt from Farmersville rolled perilously down the sideline until it jumped out of bounds at the Mineola 1 yard line. This set up the Jackets first score, an 11 play, 99 yard drive. With Sneed ripping off runs of 12 and 24 yards and Franklin adding a 33 yard completion to Cameron Bowman, the Jackets quickly moved deep into Farmers territory. A 13 yard strike to Wylie Franks put the initial points of the night on the board, and capped a historic drive.
The Farmers fought back embarking on an eight play touchdown drive. Assisted by a Yellowjackets late hit, the Farmers used quarterback draws and a heavy line package to push in for a score. A dropped interception would have stymied the Farmers comeback, but the heavy rains made ball security a problem all night.
Enter Trevion Sneed. With the score Mineola 7 Farmersville 6, Sneed took the initial handoff of the ensuing drive and went 70 yards for the score. It looked to be the classic Mineola counter play which Sneed exploited with his lateral movement, quickness and outright speed. Outcome 14- 6, Mineola.
Yet again the Farmers answered. On their best offensive effort of the night the Farmers negotiated 73 yards on 13 plays with most of the yardage coming from quarterback option keepers up the middle. A nicely executed screen pass under very difficult conditions highlighted the drive. Early in the second period, Farmersville had closed the gap to 14-13.
The tandem of Franklin and Sneed did not waste any time increasing the margin. Taking the Jackets 70 yards in six plays, the two alternated first down runs. Sneed capped the drive by taking the ball around left end, then reversing his field and beating the defense to the right corner of the end zone.
The Mineola defense then stepped up and recorded their first negative yardage play of the game, and their first sack of the night. The consecutive plays forced a Farmersville punt. Despite starting the drive near midfield, the Jackets could not capitalize. Back-to-back penalties killed the drive and resulted in a turnover on downs with just seconds remaining in the half.
At the break the score and stats line looked a lot like the season opener against Wills Point. Mineola was up by 9 points with possession and first downs almost equal between teams. It was a hard-fought half played in a driving rain. The second half promised to be a real battle.
The second half was a completely different football game. The Mineola defense began to shed the blockers and shut down the middle. The half time schematic and psychological adjustments worked. In five Farmersville second half possessions, the Mineola defense forced four punts and a fumble.
Meanwhile, quarterback Franklin was adding to the highlight reel. On the Jackets’ first second half play from scrimmage he took a counter play 69 yards for a score. In the next possession he scrambled for a 74 yard score. At that point the game appeared, at 36 – 13, to be decided.
Mineola was keen to keep the pressure on, but misfired in their next possession. Following a nine yard touchdown burst by Sneed which was nullified by off-setting personal fouls, the Farmers jumped a slant route and picked the Franklin pass at the goal line.
The Yellow Jacket’s final scoring came after a short punt gave them the ball on the hosts’ 36 yard line. With 10:00 left in the game, Franklin scored on a 14 yard quarterback keeper. This drive was the last offensive series for Sneed, who contributed a hard-won 20 yard effort through the Farmers defense.
Farmersville restored their pride with an 11 play 55 yard drive which ended with a fumble turnover on the Jacket’s 16 yard line. Mineola took possession and ran out the clock.
The Farmersville test indicated Mineola has the firepower to score quickly and in multiple ways. It also revealed that game-planning for the talents of Franklin and Sneed will be a defensive nightmare. Defensively, the squad closed ranks once again in the second half and put in a sterling performance. However, the mental toughness which Coach Blackwell is trying to nourish is just not there yet. Sixteen penalties (including two scoring nullifications), is a dangerous situation in East Texas football. It is anticipated that mental toughness will be the feature characteristic of the Jackets’ next battle, Friday September 21st as they host the Big Sandy Wildcats.