Posted on September 1, 2012 at 3:05 AM
Saturday, Sep 1 at 3:39 AM
The Steele High School football team's theme this season is "Redemption."
Considering how Steele played in its 41-21 rout of highly touted Madison in their season opener Friday night at Heroes Stadium, opponents should be advised not to stir up the Knights any more than they have to this season.
Driven by the memory of last year's loss in the Class 5A Division II state final, Steele is already motivated enough.
Friday night's game, which drew a crowd of 7,438, was expected to be a back-and-forth contest between two of the best teams in San Antonio. What the fans got was a mismatch.
"The last time we played a game before tonight, we came up short," said junior Breylan McCollum, who made his debut as the Knights' quarterback after backing up Tommy Armstrong the past two seasons. "That's in our heads in every game, every practice, every film session. We definitely have a chip on our shoulder."
Steele, which won the 5A Division II state crown in 2010, went 15-0 last year before falling to Spring Dekaney 34-14 in the title game. Madison advanced to the 5A Division I state semifinals last season.
The Knights jumped out of the gate quickly Friday night, scoring on their first possession and taking a 24-0 halftime lead. While Steele looked ready to play from the get-go, Madison appeared lethargic and couldn't get anything going in the first two quarters.
Steele safety Erik Huhn goes down with knee injury
"We were out of sync and they really took it to us in the first half," Mavericks coach Jim Streety said. "I was real proud of the way we came back and played, for the most part, in the second half. So we're going to take that and build on it.
"But they're another good football team. Very physical, very physical. We need to get more like that."
Junior running back Justin Stockton, who saw considerable playing time on the state-championship team as a freshman, rushed for 263 yards and four touchdowns to lead Steele.
"We're playing for redemption," Stockton said. "We just showed people that when we lose, we're not going to stay down. We're going to get back up."
As good as the Knights looked, they didn't emerge from the game unscathed. Senior strong safety Erik Huhn, who has committed to Texas, injured his left knee while making an interception on Madison's second play of the game and didn't return.
"He'll have an MRI on Tuesday," Jinks said. "He's out for a while."
Huhn watched the game on crutches from the sideline after getting hurt.
"I just went up and came down on my leg wrong," Huhn said. "That's about it."
Steele offensive line dominant
Marquis Warford and Galen McAllister ran for TDs of 3 and 39 yards, respectively on Madison's first two possessions of the second half, cutting Steele's lead to 24-14 with 4:35 left in the third quarter.
But Stockton broke free for a 56-yard TD the next time the Knights got the ball. Evan Kotzur kicked a 23-yard field goal to put Steele up 34-14 and D'Angelo Wallace, who rushed for 116 yards, scored the Knights' last TD on a 35-yard run with 2:35 left. Kotzur kicked a 30-yard field goal in the first half.
Stockton's other scoring runs covered 1, 4 and 75 yards. He scored his 4-yard TD one play after defensive back John Burton returned an interception 68 yards with 7:24 left in the second quarter.
The Knights' offensive line – center Kevin Lavelle, guards John Paul Fernandez, Deionte Noel and Markus Wilder, tackles Justin Roberts and Jeremiah Goodridge, and tight end Matthew Moen – got the best of the Madison defense throughout most of the game.
"That's what I really liked coming into this season," Jinks said. "We're back to how we were three years ago. We're pretty big and pretty athletic up front and we've got some backs that if you get them a crease, they can do something with it."
Madison's other TD came on a 14-yard pass from junior Cody Ennis to wide receiver Byron Daniels. Warford, one of the top rushers in the city last year, finished with 139 yards.
Jinks liked the focus his team had heading into the game.
"It's kind of been our mindset all offseason," Jinks said. "What you saw tonight was a result of the way those kids have worked. We didn't do anything fancy. We've got to continue to get better from here."