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Steers shutout Rams in home opener

The team’s first shutout win since September 2016

In the first game of the season, the Steers relied heavily on junior Daniel Gilbertson for offensive output. During their week two matchup against Mineral Wells, the Steers spread the ball around while the defense held the Rams scoreless to win 56-0 in the home opener.There were questions when the season opened as to how the offense would run without Chase Gilmore. Head coach Kenny Davidson provided answers as five players found the end zone on offense. 

When the Steers traveled to Wichita Falls, Gilbertson combined for 270 total yards of offense plus five total touchdowns. While Gilbertson had no complaints with taking all of the work, Davidson would need to find other ways to score. Mineral Wells brought a mostly inexperienced team to the Steers’ home opener with only nine total returning starters from 2018. This inexperience was something the Steers took advantage of from the start.

It was another quick start for the Steers. Junior Brandon Palacios scored early on a two-yard run. Greg Simental missed the extra point attempt and the Steers took an early 6-0 lead. 62 second later, Corey Ballew picked off Rams’ quarterback Braden Fryer for a 40-yard touchdown return. Fryer could only manage 56 passing yards in the game. Sixty-eight seconds after Fryer’s touchdown, the defense had the Rams back to the Rams’ five-yard line. Fryer was forced back into his end zone and threw the ball away. The referees determined that Fryer was still in the pocked and called a penalty for intentional grounding. Since it happened in the offensive endzone, a safety was called. The Steers had three scoring plays in a matter of 1:56. 

Palacios proved that he is reliable when needed. It was a breakout game for Palacios who finished with two touchdowns on 20 carries for a total of 192 yards. The two scores were the first offensive touchdowns in Palacios’ varsity football career. On his way to the end zone for the first time, he was not thinking about the score as much as he was his teammates. “I was just thankful for my offensive-line and the wide receivers,” he said after the game. “They laid out some really good blocks for me.”The ground game was a strong point of emphasis for the Steers in the win. In total, the team combined for 435 yards on the ground. Jonathan Salazar also surpassed 100 yards on the ground with 133 yards on 15 carries. “We have a lot of players who can contribute,” Davidson said. 

Palacios was not the only Steer to find the end zone for the first time as wide receiver Gaven Henderson scored on an eight-yard pass late in the game. 

For the rest of the story, see the Wednesday, Sept. 11 edition of The Graham Leader.

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