The DeSoto Tarantulas kicked off their first season in the Texas United Football League with a two-hour road trip and a 22-12 victory over the Eastland County Cobras.
“It was a big win for us,” Tarantulas running back Julius Williams told DFUSA.
Quarterback Michael Smith led the way for the Tarantulas offensively, completing 12 of 21 passes for 247 yards and three touchdowns, while Williams added 12 carries for 64 yards and three catches for 115 yards and a score.
“He’s a veteran quarterback,” Williams told DFUSA. “That veteran leadership helps a lot. Besides that, you also have Jordan Mann. He plays cornerback and receiver. He had a pretty good showing and so did wide receiver Marty Barnett.”
Smith’s three touchdowns came on a 24-yard touchdown strike to Barnett, an eight-yard dump off to Shannon Whitfield and a 98-yard touchdown pass to Williams.
Defensively, linebacker Larrie Zeuse led the way with eight tackles, two sacks and a forced fumble, while rookie Timothy Crownover added six tackles and three sacks of his own.
“I’m proud of my defense,” Williams said. “Larry Jr., he actually came over from the Trojans. Those were the playmakers from Saturday. The other leader on defense was Markeith Harris.”
During the pre-season, the Tarantulas fell short against the 2015 TUFL Champion Dallas Trojans 14-8, but playing the game close helped DeSoto gain a surge of confidence which proved valuable against the Cobras.
“We took a three-hour trip in the pre-season so a two-hour trip during the season was no problem because we had a good idea of how we would travel,” Williams said. “It was real big for our young guys.”
Last year the Tarantulas went 2-8 in the Minor Professional Football League but seems to be off to a hot start in 2016 and should easily surpass that record. DeSoto is off this weekend, before playing the Lonestar Pitbulls in Arlington on March 12.
“They’re a scrappy team,” Williams said. “Once they get down, they like to fight.”