In its first two district games, Sachse found itself facing a halftime deficit.
And while the Mustangs led at the break against an upstart Garland team on Thursday, it was a precarious 17-10 advantage.
As they did a week ago, Sachse turned it on after the break, outscoring the Owls 21-0 in a dominant third quarter en route to a 45-17 victory at Williams Stadium that gave head coach Mark “Red” Behrens his 100th career victory at the school.
The Mustangs improve to 4-2 overall and 2-1 in 10-6A, while dropping Garland to 3-3 and 1-2.
“Maybe we don’t need to play a first half, maybe we just need to play a second half,” Behrens said. “But I’m proud of the kids, they came out in the second half and got after it.”
The yardage numbers were relatively close in the first half, but that script changed dramatically in the third quarter.
Sachse held Garland to eight total yards on their first three possessions, which ended with two punts and an interception by Anthony Anyanwu.
They parlayed those stops into three straight scoring drives. Shon Coleman outraced the defense for a 71-yard touchdown run, quarterback Parker Wells converted on fourth-and-four with a 21-yard scoring run and Kori Jones capped a six-play, 76-yard march with a 1-yard plunge to give the Mustangs a 38-10 lead.
“We had made mistakes (in the first half). I know everybody is saying, well it’s week six, but we’ve got 48 first-year guys … 48 guys who had never played varsity football,” Behrens said. “Right about now is the time you start becoming second-year players is the way I look at it. This break (bye) came at a great time, we’ve been emotionally spent and this will give up the opportunity to regroup, work on some fundamentals and come back after the break.”
Garland running back Jayshon Powers entered the night averaging 125 yards per game, but the Mustangs bottled up the talented sophomore, limiting him to 17 yards on 16 carries, with 14 of those going for three yards or less and six for negative yardage.
Conversely, Sachse moved the ball at will on the ground—which was an area of concern at the start of the season after the transfer of Myles Nash--averaging eight yards per carry (45-359).
That effort was led by Coleman.
A week after a 36-carry, 228-yard performance, Coleman has 19 attempts for 243 yards and a pair of touchdowns. He had a 45-yard run to set up his own 2-yard touchdown on the game’s opening drive, a 51-yard tote to set up another score and his 71-yard touchdown run to start the third quarter changed the course of the game.
“He’s (Coleman) done a great job,” Behrens said. “We’ve got three, four quality backs and one of them has been injured early on and he’s starting to come around and one is just new to the program, so once they start feeling more and more comfortable ... our games have been tight so we haven’t been able to get them in as much, but they got plenty of action tonight. If we keep doing that, we’re going to be fine in that area.”
Though Sachse grabbed the early lead, Garland’s brigade of sophomores did not go away quietly in the first half.
Quarterback Cergio Perez, who was 19-of-36 for 306 yards, hooked up with Jordan Hudson on a 53-yard strike to set up a 20-yard field goal by James Cassidy and then hit Jabari Ellis for a 58-yard touchdown pass to grab a 10-7 lead early in the second quarter.
The Owls had a chance to pad that advantage, but Sachse’s Dexter Jean-Pierre picked off a pass at midfield that led to a 1-yard touchdown run by quarterback Xavier Forman and the Mustangs tacked on a 31-yard field goal by Addison Perez to take a 17-10 lead into halftime.
After Sachse seized control in the third quarter, Garland tried to hang around with Perez finding Hudson for a 29-yard touchdown pass early in the fourth, but the Mustangs quickly countered with a 1-yard touchdown run by Brian Okoye to make it 45-17 and that is the way it would end.
Following the game, Behrens was recognized at a brief on-field ceremony and presented a game ball commemorating his 100th win. It was a special moment for Behrens, who is the only head coach the school has known since it opened in 2002, but as is his style, he shared the praise on the milestone.
“It’s more to me than myself, it’s about the program,” he said. “We feel like we’ve built a quality football program and over the years, we’ve had some quality kids that have played here and high-character kids and we’re very proud of them. They are out there right now either in college or even like Devine (Ozigbo) that’s out there in Jacksonville (Jaguars), so we’re real proud from that standpoint.”