VANDERBILT — The Industrial Cobras scored over 40 points in eight of their nine wins this season. Nothing changed in the team’s 3A Division I bi-district playoff game against the Bishop Badgers on Saturday.
Undistracted by thoughts of another deep playoff run, Industrial head coach Jamie Dixon had his players focused on the team in front of them and it showed on the field.
A balanced offensive attack and a strong defensive performance, helped by a rotating cast of players, saw the Cobras storm out to a 42-6 halftime lead in the eventual 42-18 victory.
“I told the kids, let’s come out, play hard and get after it,” Dixon said. “Our focus was Bishop. I didn’t want them looking ahead. It’s what I told them all year, just take it one week at a time.”
The offense began and finished with junior running back Clay Martin. Martin opened with the game’s first touchdown, a 31-yard score put the Cobras on the board mere minutes into the game. His second touchdown, a one-yard run, was the final score by the Cobras and gave them the huge halftime lead.
Martin finished the day with seven carries for 75 yards and the aforementioned touchdowns, second only to Dylan Giesalhart’s eight carries for 77 yards and one touchdown.
Throw in a few series on defense and Martin was all over the field for the Cobras.
“We prepared all week long, knew what was coming and just came at them,” Martin said. “We want to get an early lead, hoped we could get an early start and we did just that.”
Along the way, the Cobras received a balanced effort from their junior quarterback Matthew Davis.
Davis finished the day 10-16 passing for 140 yards and three touchdowns, two to senior Devin Barr and one to sophomore Clearence Hosey.
The Cobras never had the enormous, highlight reel chunk play, but they controlled the ball and wore down the Badgers throughout the game, finishing with 17 first downs to the Badgers’ 10.
“We knew we were the better team but we didn’t want to end up in a close game like London-Edna,” Davis said. “We knew we had to take care of business and that’s exactly what we did tonight.”
The Cobras jumped out to such a huge lead that the team twice changed quarterbacks in the second half and allowed a number of JV and freshman players to see action.
“It’s special,” Dixon said. “When I first got here there were low numbers. We had 86 kids comer out tonight. I told them, ‘I’m taking you along for a purpose. You’re going to help us in practice and if I get the opportunity you’re going to play.’”
The offensive threats from Bishop came from running back Isaiah Rodriguez and wide receiver Justin Moreno.
Rodriguez finished with 182 rushing yards and an 80-yard touchdown. While Moreno caught two touchdown passes from quarterback Manny Pina. However, most of their damage came in the second half when the game was already out of reach.
Industrial moves on to face Blanco in the 3A Division I area round 7 p.m., Friday in Giddings.
“They’re a tough team, they have a lot of tradition, they’re well coached and very discipline,” Dixon said. It’s going to be a good game.