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Sharks show progress, although Oilers score shutout

By Tom Halliburton

The News correspondent

These Sabine Pass Sharks displayed a little more bite in their jaws Friday night, but offensive opportunities escaped them at Shark Stadium.

They could consider their 14-0 loss to West Hardin a giant improvement over last year’s 60-0 Oilers win at Saratoga, but the Sharks still had to face the reality that their record dipped to 0-5 and 0-1 in District 12-2A Division II.

“Absolutely, this was huge progress for us,” third-year SP head coach Trey Harvey said. “West Hardin is a tough team. We couldn’t get the offense rolling because their defense did such a good job.”

Oilers second-year boss Michael Atkinson especially noticed how his West Hardin defenders behaved in the red zone. Sabine Pass produced positive offensive yardage only once out of eight snaps inside West Hardin’s 35.

“That game was a little closer than I would have liked it to be,” the WH mentor said after his team improved to 2-3 and 1-0. “They played us tough. They were still in the game with 8 or 10 minutes left.”

Sabine Pass principal and public address announcer Andy Bates had to have gotten tired of saying the word “Creel” all night.

Garrett Creel was the difference in this outcome. West Hardin’s senior quarterback accepted the snap in the shotgun and dared Sabine Pass to tackle him all night. Creel carried 27 times for 230 yards.

West Hardin dominated the yardage count, compiling 316 total yards to Sabine Pass’ 48, but the visitors often self-destructed with 125 penalty yards.

Creel kept the ball himself on six dashes for 55 yards as West Hardin went 63 yards in 10 snaps late in the first half, converting the game’s opening touchdown.

Creel handed off to brother Nathan Creel on a seven-yard scoring play. Garrett kept the ball on a two-point conversion with 2:16 left in the half.

Sabine Pass tried three different passers but four Oilers interceptions frustrated their efforts. The Sharks still had a chance with 9 minutes left, but West Hardin defender Ty Melancon lunged for a diving pick at the Sharks 22.

Backup quarterback Jay Hughes sealed the win with a 17-yard scoring run with 6:50 to play.

The Sharks answered with their deepest penetration on the next series, advancing from midfield to the Oilers’ 10. Junior defenders Collin Chesson and Tyler Snead caused SP to retreat 33 yards on the next four snaps, though.

Sabine Pass has an open date next week before it entertains Burkeville on homecoming night Oct. 9.