A year ago, the Jourdanton Indians fell at the hands of Natalia on their homecoming game. In 2019, they weren’t necessarily looking for revenge in the rematch. Rather, they wanted to send a statement of their quality this season.
The Indians did just that in a 58-18 win over the Mustangs on Friday night, where the Indians posted a season-high output of 677 total yards of offense and held Natalia to 297 yards.
“I think it says a lot. They’ve beaten three of our district opponents,” head coach Darrell Andrus said. “It was definitely a game I thought we could test ourselves on and see where we stack up with three of our [district] teams. But ultimately, it’s about cleaning up things and getting better for district. Man, I was really proud of our performance tonight. It was one of those deals where we were clicking on all cylinders. [Natalia’s] a good ballclub. They’re gonna be in their district race till the end, I’m sure.”
Jourdanton scored on all nine of their offensive possessions. They scored touchdowns on eight of those, with junior Jarel Lilly proving he can boot the ball with a 42-yard field goal to close out the third quarter.
During their first three possessions, Jourdanton implemented their up-tempo offense. They ran a total of 19 plays spanning a total of 203 yards and chewing up 5 minutes, 38 seconds of game clock. Entering the game, coach Andrus said that’s what he wanted his team to do in order to take control of the game in a hostile environment.
“I think it was huge,” Andrus said. “Playing in this environment, I don’t know if it was sold out but it looked like a pretty good crowd to me. We didn’t want to give them any life. When we got the ball first, we knew we were gonna take some shots and go big and push the tempo.”
In the end, it was the balanced attack that helped the Indians score more than 40 points for the third time this season. The Indians rushed for 370 yards while junior quarterback Cole Andrus was 22-of-27 passing for 307 yards and three touchdowns.
With Aidan Borth’s 111 rushing yards and two touchdowns leading the way on the ground, Jourdanton welcomed the sight of a 300-yard game on the ground as a team. He also has another 200-pound running back alongside him in Robert Miranda. Those two combined for 159 yards and three rushing touchdowns Friday night.
Having those big backs line up together in the backfield is what makes it tough to stop the run for opponents.
“I think it’s way more dangerous, because last year, we weren’t as big and we weren’t as fast and we weren’t as experienced,” Borth said.
Coach Andrus has seen the development of all of the Indians’ ball carriers from Borth to Miranda to QB Andrus. He agrees with Borth that the backfield is much more dangerous.
“[Aidan’s] getting pretty good,” coach Andrus said. “It’s one of those deals where, as we continue to go, Aidan is going to be a huge part of it. Both him and Robert on the interior. You know, they run a 6-yard gain, but to take those guys to the ground, it takes a little bit of work.”
After opting to put Cole under center for a quarterback sneak that gained one yard while on the Natalia 2-yard line, coach Andrus decided to go with the back that got him there and hand the ball off to Borth, who converted the 1-yard run into a score at the end of the first half.
“I said, ‘We’re gonna go with two 200-pound running backs. If they stop us, kudos to them,’” Andrus said.
But, Jourdanton’s bread and butter was also operating at high efficiency with both Lilly and Jacob Reyna recording 100-yard games as receivers. Lilly finished with 107 yards and a touchdown on six catches, while Reyna finished with 103 yards on nine catches.
Lilly feels the passing game has started to open up more with the Indians finding traction on the ground.
“We’re very skilled. In the pass game, we can spread people out for the run game, we can get people out of the pocket. With the run game, we can bring people closer in and be wide open on the outside,” Lilly said.
Jourdanton (4-0) will enjoy a bye week before opening District 15-3A Division I on the road at Karnes City.
Note: This story was updated with official stats.