Codutti, Fulshear find optimism in loss to Montgomery
ROSENBERG—When Fulshear's first-year head coach Nick Codutti watched film from last year of his new team during the spring, he saw a team that would often wilt under pressure or adversity. He saw a team that lacked fight.
So, while the Chargers fell 52-32 to Montgomery on Thursday evening at Traylor Stadium, Codutti was still optimistic. Mad, yes. Frustrated, sure. But encouraged.
"It was lack of execution," Codutti said. "We got down (21-3) early and we lose the game by 20 points. That's what it boils down to. Once you get past that, I thought our kids played really well. Our kids need to understand that we need to execute and do our jobs. We can't take a quarter to get going.
"That's a good football team, a well-coached football team. They're more athletic than a lot of people thought. I was proud of how the kids fought. They played their tails off."
Codutti then doubled down with a tweet he sent not long after the game.
"Tonight did not go our way, but let me tell you something.
I love these kids, we have fighters, we have kids who love each other.
We have coaches who love these kids-
I'm proud to be a CHARGER.
Tonight did not go our way, but let me tell you something. I love these kids, we have fighters, we have kids who l… https://t.co/Px3yseKxjs— Coach Codutti (@Coach Codutti) 1633058332.0
Fulshear (4-2, 1-1 District 10-5A, Division II) trailed Montgomery (5-0, 1-0) 21-3 not even four minutes into the second quarter. But the Chargers never hung their heads. They kept pushing and pushing, and some of that effort was rewarded.
Fulshear, which trailed by just nine points with 7:47 left in the third quarter, outgained Montgomery 433-411 in total yards and won the turnover battle, 2-1.
"It shows that even though we were down, we just never gave up," said junior quarterback Parker Williams, who completed 14 of 25 passes for 144 yards and two touchdowns to Gavin Waits and rushed for 173 yards and a touchdown on 18 carries. "It gives us that confidence in that we can play with a team like that and score against a team like that."
.@Park9rWilliams making something out of nothing for an 18-yard gain. #txhsfb @fulshear_fball https://t.co/Gbyt0uCBGN— Dennis Silva II (@Dennis Silva II) 1633049542.0
A typically stout and physical Fulshear defense struggled, as the Chargers had absolutely no answer for Montgomery senior running back Jalen Washington, who ran rampant for 294 yards and five touchdowns on 25 carries.
The 5-foot-9, 190-pound Washington scored on runs of 66, 3, 13, 70 and 59 yards, respectively.
"The kid had a great game," Codutti said. "The offensive line blocked well for him. He runs really hard. (Montgomery coach) Coach (John) Bolfing told me he had the game of his life. The kid's breaking tackles, running his feet for 20 yards. It is what it is."
Codutti praised the Bears' coaching. Montgomery got Fulshear out of proper defensive alignment early and often for big plays, and the Bears forced the Chargers to tackle in space.
"It didn't end well for us," Codutti said.
Fulshear players and coaches kept reverting to the lackluster first quarter that ultimately doomed any hopes of a win. As they head into a bye week, it is a point of emphasis.
"We have to start off better," Williams said. "It's happened multiple games, and this time it finally hurt us. It's trusting the game-plan. I started second-guessing myself the first drive, and I just need to do a better job sticking to the game-plan. That's going to be my focus."
>> JAMES IMPRESSES: Senior receiver Natrell James, a transfer from New Orleans who left because of Hurricane Ida, made his debut for Fulshear. The 6-foot, 170-pounder caught six passes for 30 yards and was dynamic in the return game. "I thought he had a great game," Codutti said. "When he got the ball in his hands, he did a really good job." James has only been on campus for 18 days. "He's an athlete," Codutti said. "We need to do a better job getting him in space. We had some plays designed to get him the ball pretty quick. Between (junior) Gavin (Waits) and (junior) Jax (Medica), those are two great outside receivers. He's going to complement them well."
>> WAITS EXCELS: Speaking of Waits, Codutti could not laud the play of his 6-foot-4, 210-pound pass-catcher enough. Waits had four catches for 62 yards and two touchdowns. They were Waits' first touchdown catches of the season. "Gavin had a fantastic game," Codutti said. "He looked like a man-child out there."
>> CHARGED UP FOR TAKEAWAYS: Fulshear had two more takeaways Thursday, with an interception by senior Ashton Bates and a fumble recovery by senior Cade Carter. The Chargers are now an impressive plus-13 in turnover differential, with 18 takeaways to five giveaways.