Robert E. Lee High School fans and alums have never forgotten the greatness that once was Gander football.
This year’s edition may be well on its way to resurrecting that feeling.
REL used five first half touchdown passes by Ijenea Wooley, three total scores by running back Keke Davis and two interception returns to the house to lead 62-14 en route to a blistering 75-35 win over Splendora Thursday night at Stallworth Stadium in front of 1,750 fans.
The game didn’t end smoothly as the Ganders had to struggle along to put the game on ice.
“It’s been a while since our program had to learn how to finish off a game,” REL head coach Tim Finn said. “We didn’t practice a situation like what we had in the second half, but what a first half. We scored a couple of different ways. We didn’t send out our punt team until the end of the game.”
In the first quarter, the Ganders (2-0) scored three offensive touchdowns on a total of eight plays with Wooley tossing three scoring passes to Davis (52 yards), Adrian Boston (18 yards) and Trudell Berry (51 yards). REL only had 28 plays the entire first half.
“We had some explosive plays and if we can protect the quarterback, he has some guys he can throw it to and catch it” Finn said. “I am really proud of the guys. We had a day off of school and a short week and they handled it really well.”
Berry’s score came with no one within 15 yards of him.
“It was speed, but we ran the same play a few times and they bit on it, so (Wooley) gave a pump fake and I was wide open,” Berry said. “I was wide open. I was like ‘no one is around me, I have to catch this.’”
Joseph Jones picked off a Splendora pass and sprinted 62 yards to the end zone for his second pick six in two games.
REL led 27-7 after 12 minutes.
Then it got even worse for the visiting Wildcats.
Berry scored on a 59-yard pass from Wooley and Ja’Corey Davis caught on to a touchdown strike of the 33-yard variety and Davis scored on 33 and 1-yard touchdown runs.
Throw in Danavious Hill’s 35-yard pick six right before halftime and the game was iced with 24 minutes left to play.
“Splendora’s game plan is to grind it out and run the clock,” Finn said. “The defense put the ball back in our hands. Our kids did their jobs tonight. The defensive backs did their jobs and didn’t give up the big plays. We played very disciplined on defense.”
Wooley threw for 277 yards with only nine completions on 11 attempts, Berry had 127 receiving yards and Davis collected 80 total yards of total offense in the first half.
Edgar Pulido blocked a punt in the first quarter to set up Boston’s score and a Hill sack ended a Wildcat drive with a forced fumble.
The swarming REL defense forced four Splendora turnovers in the first half.
Jabier Quinones capped off REL’s first drive after the intermission with a one-yard plunge to put the Ganders up 69-21 just south of the five-minute mark.
Boston added an interception seconds after the ensuing kickoff.
Elijah Partida added an eight-yard scoring run out of the quarterback position on the first play of the final quarter.
“All the hard work we’ve put in, all the time that we spent in the summer, all the gassers we did, is all paying off right now,” Partida said. “Everyone is buying in now. The way we’ve been locking in and getting serious. We are ready for the game.”
Wooley ended the game with 339 yards of total offense, 286 through the air and connected with five different receivers.
“The dual threat of Wooley and Davis in the backfield makes it easier for the guys on the outside and vice versa,” Finn said. “You can’t really overplay either of them. I am just glad some of those guys are on our side.”
Quinones ended with 50 yards on 10 carries while Davis had 48 yards on six carries.
REL plays host to Galena Park at 7 next Thursday night at Stallworth Stadium.
Robert E. Lee 75, Splendora 35
Splendora 7 7 7 14 = 35
REL 27 35 7 6 = 75
REL - Keke Davis 52-pass from Ijenea Wooley (Gilberto Nunez Kick), 9:01
REL - Joseph Jones 62-interception return (Nunez kick), 7:24
REL - Adrian Boston 18-pass from Wooley (Nunez kick), 4:11
REL - Trudell Berry 51-pass from Wooley (kick failed), 2:34
SPLEN - Jagger Kennedy 47-pass from Cody Thorndyke (Kevin Luna kick), :07
REL - Berry 59-pass from Wooley (Nunez kick), 11:18
REL - Davis 33-run (Nunez kick), 10:28
REL - Davis 1-run (Nunez kick), 6:04
SPLEN - McCray Fails 18-pass from Thorndyke (Luna kick), 3:10
REL - Ja’Corey Boston 43-pass from Wooley (Nunez kick), 1:15
REL – Danavious Hill 35-interception return (Nunez kick), 1:07
SPLEN - Thorndyke 24-run (Luna kick), 9:58
REL - Jabier Quinones 1-run (Nunez kick), 4:49
REL - Partida 8-run (kick failed), 11:52
SPLEN - Matthew Owen 12-fumble return (Luna kick), 6:29
SPLEN - Kennedy 3-run (Luna kick), 2:51