In just their inaugural season as an organization and their first year in the Rio Grande Football League, the West Texas Pride, of Midland, has really kicked things off on a high note. On Saturday, the Pride blew out the Curry County Cats 38-6 to improve to 2-0 on the season.
“We had a big play towards the start of the game – our quarterback, Chris Ware, did a quarterback lead and ran down the sideline for an 86-yard touchdown and set the tone and really got us on our way,” Pride owner Harold Fuller told DFUSA.
Ware finished the game 12 of 20 passing with 221 yards and two touchdowns and added another 98 yards on the ground for the Pride.
“As a quarterback, doubling as our offensive coordinator, he’s leading up things for sure,” Fuller said.
Oe’Sha Schoclet was on the receiving end of a Ware pass for another Pride touchdown in the second quarter to extend the lead to 13-0.
Schoclet had four catches on the day, while tight end Brandon Butler added another four. In the Pride’s Week 1 win over the El Paso Armor, nine different receivers caught passes from Ware in a 13-7 victory.
“Chris has been spreading the ball around well,” Fuller said. “One of our big weapons has been tight end Brandon Butler. He had a big game last night.”
Dominic Howard added a nine-yard touchdown run two minutes before halftime and the Pride took a 20-0 lead into the locker room.
Ware’s second touchdown pass went to Quentin Hunter to open up the fourth quarter and extend their lead to 26-0.
After that, Ware’s day was done as back-up quarterbacks Walter Washington and Tyler Grizzell finished the game for the Pride and each got in the end zone.
“As a running back who has just played his first two games in semipro football, Dusty Hicks has played well,” Fuller said. “He had almost 100 yards receiving. He had a 52-yard touchdown catch late in the game from one of our backup quarterbacks. He’s been running and playing well.”
West Texas’ success hasn’t been all because of their offense, though. Through two games, the Pride is winning the turnover battle with a plus-7 turnover margin.
“The first game we got five turnovers and this game we had four,” Fuller said. “Brandon Taylor and Dee Moore have combined for three interceptions in both games. In the first game Adidas Moore had had two and Brandon Taylor had one. Then this game, Brandon Taylor had two and Moore had one. Cedric Thomas has gotten a fumble recovery in both games as well.”
Thomas and Tyrone Stoglin have held things down on the defensive line for the Pride. Then at linebacker, the Garcia brothers – Alex and Eddie – have played well. Last but not least, the Pride’s secondary, led by Taylor, Moore and cornerback Albert Jones could potentially be the best in the Rio Grande Football League.
“The defense is playing really well together and the offense is starting to click, especially this last game, by putting up that many points,” Fuller said.
This weekend, the Pride (2-0) travels to Carlsbad, New Mexico, to take on the New Mexico Rush (2-1). The Rush are coming off a 31-7 home victory over the West Texas Outlaws of Lubbock.
“Our goal at the start of the season is certainly to win a championship,” Fuller said. “We want to make it deep in the playoffs, but for our team it’s more important than that. We want to be champions off the field and in life too.”
This past game, the Pride raised money for St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital and later this season, they are doing benefits for breast cancer survivors as well as supporting the military.
“We also have 26 girls on our Lady Lion dance team,” Fuller said. “We try to get out in the community, in the hospitals and doing charity walks and stuff like that. It’s important to be winners off the field too.”