Alva Review-Courier -

Goldbugs lose season opener to Thomas 33-26


September 8, 2019

Trey Lunn

Goldbug Dalton Hess runs through two defenders for the first touchdown of the day. Alva Goldbug, Kaden Slater throws his second touchdown of the day versus Thomas Friday night.

The Alva Goldbugs opened football season at Thomas-Fay-Custer Friday night. The Class 2A Goldbugs came away with a loss, 33-26, against the powerhouse Class A team.

Both teams are relatively young with four seniors each on the rosters. Thomas already had one game under their belts, a 40-6 victory against Merritt of Elk City.

Thomas gained possession of the ball far more than the Goldbugs who struggled in the first half, trailing by nine points at the break. In the second half, the Goldbugs rallied to pull within seven at the end of the third. Defense on both sides dominated the final quarter, which remained scoreless.

This was the eighth meeting of the teams, and Thomas now leads the series 5-3.

First Quarter

Alva started off the contest with a six play scoring drive covering 54 yards. Sophomore quarterback Kaden Slater had one incomplete pass and relied heavily on carries by Dalton Hess to put the ball within two yards of the goal. Hess scampered across the line, but Samuel Houston's extra point kick was short, and the Goldbugs led 6-0.

The Thomas Terriers took over at the Alva 35 yard line after Ethan Hamberlin managed a long kick return. Most of the Terrier yardage came from quarter Dylan Castillo and Hamberlin. On the second play, the eager Goldbugs jumped the gun and earned an off-sides penalty that assisted Thomas. Then a Castillo to Hamberlin hand-off was fumbled with some help from Goldbug Todd Ruwaldt, causing a loss of two yards.

In two more plays, the Terriers hit pay-dirt on an 11 yard run by Castillo, and Ryden Luper's kick was good. Thomas now led 7-6.

A high squib kick by Luper left the Goldbugs looking for the ball. Thomas jumped on it, and regained possession on Alva's 36.

The Goldbug defense stopped the first play for no gain, but Alva earned another penalty for encroachment on the second play. Hamberlin ran for ten yards, and Thomas was at the 21.

Castillo ate up seven yards with a quarterback keeper and then handed off to Hamberlin who made the 14 yard rushing TD. Luper's extra-point kick was blocked, and the score stood at 13-6 with about four and a half minutes left in the quarter.

This time the Goldbugs were ready for the kick-off. Gavin Perez took possession and evaded some Terriers to make it to the Alva 24.

Slater handed off to Drake Wharton who gained a couple of yards. Reece Martin's carry went nowhere. Then Slater tried a throw on the run to Martin. The ball was tipped and Martin couldn't haul it in.

At fourth and eight, Martin stepped up, and it looked like a punt play. Instead, he threw the ball to Perez for a first down. Unfortunately, the trick play was negated because Alva had an illegal man downfield. Martin was ready to try again but was blitzed by a gang of Terriers.

Thomas took over at the Alva 25, but Alva's defense held them to just two yards in four plays. On the fourth, Castillo attempted a pass but it was incomplete because of Goldbug Tanner Butcher.

Alva took over at their 23, facing an uphill battle. On the second play, Slater's pass was tipped and Hamberlin recovered. The interception put Thomas at the Alva 30. A run by Castillo made only two yards before time ran out. The quarter ended with Thomas leading 13-6.

Second Quarter

At the beginning of the second period, Martin earned an Alva flag for pass interference when he stopped Castillo's throw. The 15 yard penalty gave Thomas their first down. A run by Castillo put them inside the Alva 5. Then Hamberlin ran the final four yards for the touchdown. Luper's kick was good, and Thomas led 20-6.

Freshman Drew Glass made a nice kick return run, putting Alva in good field position at the Alva 41. Slater connected on a little pass to Martin for a gain of three yards, but his next throw over the middle was in and out of the hands of Ruwaldt. Then Thomas was called for roughing the passer, their first penalty. That gave Alva the first down.

Two hand-offs to the strong-running Hess gave Alva a first down and a position on the Thomas 47 yard line. Slater threw to Martin who went up and made a beautiful catch in the air to score a 47 yard touchdown. Needing to make up the now ten-point deficit, the Goldbugs tried for a conversion. The throw to Nathan Hunt was incomplete, and Alva trailed 20-12.

In the ensuing kick-off by Houston, Jeremiah Fernandez was well on his way to put Thomas in good position. But a flag on the Terriers for an illegal block called the ball back to the Thomas 12. The setback didn't last as Hamberlin had a huge wide-open run. Hess put on the speed and finally pulled him down after 48 yards.

Thomas was now on the Alva 36. Despite earning a false start penalty, Castillo and Hamberlin kept the drive going. Hamberlin made the final three yard run for the goal line. Luper's kick barely made it through the uprights. Thomas now led 27-12 with 3:55 left in the first half.

The Goldbugs started on their own 26 yard line. In two plays, Hess ran for a first down. Then Slater threw to Perez who caught the ball on the run and broke free for the touchdown. That was probably Alva's most successful drive of the night, covering 74 yards in three plays. The conversion attempt failed, and the Terriers led 27-18.

Fernandez took Houston's deep kick and ran it all the way to the Alva goal. However, a flag was thrown on Thomas and someone was down for Alva. Kory Faulkner was able to get up and walk to the sidelines. The game continued with Thomas starting at the Terrier 13 yard line after the penalty.

Hamberlin broke loose for a big run, finally stopped by Hunt and Hess. Thomas was now deep in Alva's end of the field. The Terriers drew a couple of flags for holding and ended up back on Alva's 25.

Castillo threw to Jaxen Mannering in the end zone, but Alva's Zayin Tiger negated the play by drawing a pass interference flag. Thomas continued their drive from the Alva 12, making it within two yards of the goal on two plays. On the fourth down, Castillo handed off to Noah Rainwater who went up the middle. Goldbug Domonick Covert came up behind Rainwater and dragged him back just as he was stepping into the end zone.

Alva took possession at the Goldbug 5 with seconds left in the half. A false start put them back at the 3. Hess made a four-yard gain. Then Thomas took a timeout, followed by one for Alva. On the next play, Alva was called for holding. Hess managed to run the ball out to the 22, before the clock ran down. Thomas led 27-18 at the half.

Third Quarter

As the sun dropped below the horizon, the players started feeling some relief from the 100 degree heat. Thomas had the ball first at their 13. On the first play from Castillo to Hamberlin, the ball popped out, and the Terriers lost a yard. Alva's Martin was called for pass interference on the next play.

After that, the Terriers drove steadily down the field despite a fumbled snap and a false start call. At the Alva 24, Castillo was getting ready to throw when he was sacked by Hess for a loss of seven yards. Luper had to punt on the fourth and 32.

On the next series, Alva had their own problems with a loss of three on the first play and a false start penalty. At second and 18 to go, Slater tried a throw to Hunt, but it was high and incomplete. Slater set up for another pass but was sacked by Billy Camden. Martin had to punt, and Thomas was set to start on the Alva 46.

In two plays, Thomas covered 46 yards to the goal on a wide open run by Hamberlin and a five yard rushing TD. The conversion attempt looked good, but an illegal shift on Thomas negated the play. Then a false start on Thomas set the ball back even farther to the 14 yard line. Castillo's throw was incomplete. Thomas led 33-18.

After a nice run back by Glass, Alva was in possession of the ball at the Thomas 30. Slater connected on a pass to Martin who was immediately taken down for a five yard loss. Alva made up the distance and more on the next play. Slater handed off to Hess who ran it to the 16 for the first down.

On the next play, Slater was again sacked, this time by Fernandez. Slater threw to Perez, but Alva was called for holding when Hess tried to protect his quarterback. Slater threw a pass to Perez for a nice gain to the 15 yard line. Hess carried the ball within a yard of the goal, and then ran it across on the next play. In six plays, Alva had covered 30 yards for the TD.

Alva finally had a successful conversion with Slater handing off to Hess. The margin was now a manageable seven points with Thomas leading 33-26.

Thomas got in three plays moving to the Alva 45 before the quarter closed.

Fourth Quarter

The fourth period was a defensive show as neither team managed to score. Alva tried hard to make up the deficit, but Thomas was determined to thwart the Goldbugs.

Thomas had possession but continued to draw penalty flags. They finally had to punt from the Alva 48.

Alva's drive stalled out at the Thomas 36, and Martin had to kick the ball away.

Thomas kept the ball for four plays, losing a yard on a Covert tackle and dropping the ball for a loss of four. A pass was overthrown, and the Terriers had to punt.

On four successive handoffs from Slater to Hess, Alva gained two first downs. At the Terrier 10, Alva was called for holding and set back to the 20. They weren't able to make up that deficit. A fourth down pass to Martin was knocked away by Hamberlin and ruled incomplete.

Thomas took control on the Terrier 17. They had a setback from a holding penalty but managed to get to the 25 with help from an Alva penalty. They elected to kick the ball away.

Alva took over on the Goldbug 46. On the second play Slater's throw on the run under pressure was picked off by Mannering.

With the clock running down, Thomas slowed down the action. The final stood at 33-26 for Thomas.


A few plays in the first half made all the difference in the score for the Goldbugs. However, Alva made a good showing for their first outing of the season. Hess was a real strong point in the game, gaining most of the rushing yardage for the Goldbugs. Slater's long 63 yard touchdown pass play to Perez was another bright spot. The Alva defense was strong, especially in the second half.

Coming up next Friday, Alva will play Watonga at home at Ranger Field. Kickoff is 7 p.m.

Looking at conference 2A-1 scores from Friday, Hennessey lost to Perkins-Tryon 35-0; Luther topped Community Christian 43-7; Newkirk fell to Tonkawa 41-0; Perry topped Blackwell 55-12; Chisholm shut out Fairview 28-0; and Oklahoma Christian School lost to Pauls Valley 20-12.

In Class A area contests, Ringwood beat Timberlake 22-14, and Cherokee won 44-8 over South Barber, Kansas, for homecoming. In Class B, Waynoka shut out Deer Creek-Lamont 54-0 and Mooreland topped Hinton 27-7.


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