SUGAR LAND – When the game between Foster and Travis was canceled on Oct. 1 due to COVID-19 concerns, there were fears that the annual rivalry between both schools would be lost for 2020.
There was an opportunity to get the Falcons and Tigers to play again on Saturday afternoon, but like almost everything that has happened in 2020, good things don’t last long.
Foster and Travis played only two-and-half quarters of football at Mercer Stadium before the game was called due to coming storms that brought heavy rain and lightning eventually to the area.
“The football gods just didn’t want to get this Foster-Travis game in,” Travis head coach Trey Sissom said. “It was two really even teams playing hard.”
Both Travis and Foster had already clinched a playoff berth in their respective playoff brackets and were trying to get some preparation in this game before the weather turned ugly.
Foster was leading 7-3 with 8:26 left in the third quarter in a defensive battle when Fort Bend ISD officials sent both teams to the locker rooms after detecting lightning in the area. Ten minutes later, the announcement came that the game was over.
“We didn’t know if we were going to play this morning, and the lightning and the forecast didn’t look good for our players and fans,” Foster head coach Shaun McDowell said.
The first half was low scoring, but it did have some big plays from both teams. A 55-yard kick return by Cameron Oliver helped the Tigers get in field goal position, and kicker Sergio Rubio connected on a 39-yard attempt to put Travis in front, 3-0, on the opening drive of the game.
Foster’s offense tried to establish the run in its first drive but unleashed its big-play passing attack on the Falcons’ second possession of the game. Quarterback Phillip Amy first found receiver Cody Jackson for a 40-yard strike to the Tiger 30-yard line. Then on the next play, Amy threw a bomb to receiver Ethan Newton, who caught the pass in the back of the end zone for a 30-yard touchdown to put the Falcons ahead.
Travis had a chance to go back in front early in the second quarter, as Njoku found receiver Jeremiah Powell for a 10-yard pass that turned into an 86-yard play after Powell broke free of a tackle, and ran down the sideline to the Foster four-yard line.
But on the next play, Njoku got a bad snap, and Foster linebacker Cole Tipton fell on the loose ball to stop the Travis drive.
Both teams had long drives in the second half that didn’t materialize into any points, as Foster got to the Tiger 30 before turning the ball over on downs, while Travis got to midfield before penalties pushed them back 20 yards and punted the ball away.
After halftime, Foster took the first possession and got to the Travis 29-yard line, but the offense stalled and punted the ball away. The Tigers moved the ball six yards in their first drive of the third quarter when lightning was detected in the area.
Travis will have one more game to play before focusing on Katy Tompkins, the Tigers’ first-round opponent in the 6A Division I playoffs. The Tigers will meet Houston Memorial on Thursday at Tully Stadium.
“We got some good guys, but we’re just trying to put the right piece in the puzzle,” Sissom said about his team dealing with some injuries. “It’s a team effort right now.”
Meanwhile, Foster is still trying to get a game in before the Falcons open the 5A Division I playoffs in two weeks, either against Beaumont United or Goose Creek Memorial.
“I wished we got a full game in,” McDowell said. “I’m going to do my best to find a game, but it’s been very difficult. A lot of coaches are looking for easier games and not really a challenge. But I’m going to find a game if we can.”