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Fulshear junior quarterback Parker Williams paced the Chargers' offense by rushing for 147 yards and two touchdowns in a 38-28 win over Fort Bend Christian Academy on Friday.
ROSENBERG — If last week's frustrating loss to Manor was a wake-up call for Fulshear's football team, as coach Nick Codutti attested it would be, then Friday's 38-28 win against state-ranked TAPPS Fort Bend Christian Academy at Traylor Stadium provided a definitive answer.
"It definitely put us back on track," junior quarterback Parker Williams said. "Last week was a hard loss, and coming out and winning like this just gives us a lot of momentum moving forward."
The Chargers (3-1) were prolifically efficient out of their wide-zone offense, gashing the Eagles (2-2) for five touchdowns and 378 yards on 54 carries, good for seven yards per carry. Three Chargers had 100 or more rushing yards: Williams (147 yards, two TDs), senior running back Tyjae Williams (116 yards, two TDs) and sophomore running back Davion Godley (102 yards, TD), who exited the game midway through the second half with a lower left leg injury.
"That's the offense," Codutti said. "The biggest thing for us is trust the process and it will work, and it did."
.@fulshear_fball’s @coachcodutti talks to his players after tonight’s 38-28 win over Fort Bend Christian Academy. T… https://t.co/KRQUstaecD — Dennis Silva II (@Dennis Silva II)
Capping off a bizarre week that forced Fulshear's initial opponent Clear Brook to cancel because of Hurricane Nicholas, the Chargers showed toughness and perseverance in dealing with adversity.
"I thought the hurricane thing kind of hit us hard mentally," Codutti said. "It was a crazy week for Fulshear High School. Our freshmen played Atascocita. We came out here and played a Christian school out of Fort Bend. I'm proud of our kids for adapting and adjusting."
The run game is the bread and butter of Codutti's offense. Codutti, who calls the plays on offense, is an aficionado of the wide-zone offense, with offensive linemen playing laterally to gain an edge.
Friday's rushing prowess is indicative of improved trust and confidence players are building in the system.
"Sometimes you may see something with your eyes that isn't really there," Parker Williams said. "The holes just flow, and then something opens up backside. Little things like that. It's not just what you see. It's trusting that you know what will open up."
.@fulshear_fball adding on. @Park9rWilliams 8-yard keeper. 16-6 Chargers, 1:20, 2Q. #txhsfb @FulshearABC https://t.co/ywVhFVz353 — Dennis Silva II (@Dennis Silva II)
It's trusting the offensive line, which was dominant against the Eagles. The physicality of juniors John Joe Vasquez, Jacob Sanders and Ryan Ferns, and seniors Joe Sims III and Logan Horn was on full display. The line has gotten better each week at zoning and holding off blocks.
"For us, it's about keeping our feet moving, laying someone out and doing our job," Vasquez said. "Trust our brothers next to us. Trust and run."
Friday's showing, Vasquez said, should be the norm, not the exception.
"It should be what we do; the bare minimum," Vasquez said. "If we do our jobs and keep pounding it, that's us. That's Fulshear football."
.@fulshear_fball RB @Tyja3Williams discusses the play of the O-line and running game in tonight’s win over Fort Ben… https://t.co/qPJS6X8d2o — Dennis Silva II (@Dennis Silva II)
Entering the game, the Chargers were averaging 278 rushing yards per game at 6.2 yards per carry. They obliterated those averages in their final non-district tune-up.
"We are who we are," Codutti said. "We basically run one play, and we run it over and over and over and in as many ways as possible.
>> STINGY DEFENSE: As dominant as Fulshear was offensively against the Eagles, its defense was just as impressive. Against a Fort Bend Christian Academy team with three NCAA Division I prospects at receiver, the Chargers held FBCA's passing game to just 6.8 yards per pass attempt. Eagles junior quarterback Brady Dever, a formidable talent, completed just 17 of 40 passes for 270 yards and three touchdowns to two interceptions. Seniors Kenya Walton Jr. and Cade Carter, and junior Maverick Schomberg were strong in coverage for Fulshear. "It was relentlessness," Codutti said. "Our DBs were all over the field. Those receivers over there are dudes. But our kids came out, competed, and did a good job. We knew they were going to score. We just had to score, too."
>> 'LIKE A DREAM': Walton was crowned Homecoming King at halftime and had a key interception in Eagles territory late in the fourth quarter that officially halted any hopes of a dramatic Fort Bend Christian Academy comeback. "As soon as (the ball) hit my hands, I knew it was game," said Walton, who said the night "felt like a dream." "We just executed. We were disciplined."
>> FAR FROM SATISFIED: Fulshear is off to a nice 3-1 start heading into district play next week, but the Chargers aren't content. Fulshear had a strong start, too, last season at 4-0, but went 1-5 in district play to finish the season. "Last year, we got last in district, and we still feel that," Tyjae Williams said. "We take that personal. We're going to change people's minds this year."
Fulshear suffered its first loss of the season in heartbreaking fashion Saturday in a 20-14 loss to Manor.
ROSENBERG—Fulshear's football team delivered a wake-up call of sorts last week with its impressive 38-17 win over then-No. 3 state-ranked El Campo. On Saturday afternoon, the Chargers were on the receiving end of a reality check.
Fulshear fell to Manor, 20-14, at Traylor Stadium, failing to score on five trips to the red zone. That included a relentless Manor defensive stand with less than three minutes. With first down on the goal line, Fulshear went backwards and was ultimately thwarted on 4th-and-3 for its fifth turnover on downs of the game.
"There's no such thing as a good loss, but sometimes you need that reality check," Fulshear first-year coach Nick Codutti said. "I think a lot of our kids woke up today. Defensively, our kids played their tails off. It was unbelievable. Offensively, it took us an entire quarter to wake up."
Codutti, regarded as a smart offensive mind by his coaching peers, was aggressive in going for it on fourth down. He is confident in his ways, what he believes works, and his ability to use personnel appropriately.
Simply put, the good was on showcase against El Campo. The bad affected the Manor game. Punting or going for a field goal on fourth down may be the traditional value in football, but Codutti saw 35 potential points to be had and couldn't resist.
Whoa. @fulshear_fball stuffed on 4th-and-goal from the 3-yard line with 2:53 left. That might be game. Impressive d… https://t.co/Zcv34IWZ3q — Dennis Silva II (@Dennis Silva II)
His players agree with the philosophy.
"We've got to get the ball in the end zone when we're in the red zone," said junior quarterback Parker Williams, who had 94 yards and a touchdown on 16 carries and completed 11 of 18 passes for 115 yards. "That's the main thing. You can't win the game when you can't put points on the board. We need to be firing off the ball and punching it in. We run the ball. That's what we do."
Added senior linebacker Luke Guzzetta of the aggressive offense: "It's different from last year, but we're super confident and we love it. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. It's a chance we're willing to take. We feel pretty confident in our defense that we've got their backs, and we want them to take those chances."
The outcome marred an admirable effort by the Fulshear defense, which had three takeaways and three sacks.
Junior linebacker Germany Williams and senior defensive back Luke McCurdy had fumble recoveries. Junior defensive back Maverick Schomberg had an interception.
Guzzetta, senior linebacker Grant Davis and senior defensive lineman Anthony Okeke had sacks.
.@fulshear_fball senior LB @luke_guzzetta talks about the Chargers’ strong defensive performance in a 20-14 loss to… https://t.co/USJexlyYZT — VYPE Houston (@VYPE Houston)
The kids are studs defensively, Codutti said. Through the first three games of the season, Fulshear has surrendered only 37 points.
"It's a brotherhood," Guzzetta said. "A lot of three-year starters that grew up playing together. I don't think many teams have what we have on defense. We're so close and we play for each other. There's no selfishness, and I think that's what separates us from other defenses."
After the game, Codutti relayed to his players the significance of using the loss as a wakeup call and turning a negative into a positive. The offensive line had a slow start and had big breakdowns at pivotal moments. Williams, playing just his third game at quarterback, has to get better trusting those around him, Codutti said.
"What it boils down to is, if you get the ball inside the 10-yard line, you've got to score," Codutti said. "You just have to have the want-to. We had missed blocks, fumbled snaps, penalties. Those are things that get you beat. We've got to clean that up."
Williams said the loss was indeed an awakening, with a semblance of good.
"I just hope we learn that we can play with anybody," Williams said. "We played with these guys down-for-down. We can play with anyone, but we just came up short when we needed it."
.@fulshear_fball junior QB @Park9rWilliams discusses the Chargers’ 20-14 loss to Manor. Williams rushed for 94 yard… https://t.co/2QpeS6dqYC — Dennis Silva II (@Dennis Silva II)