HOUSTON -- After sitting around for two weeks due to COVID-19-related cancelations and earning two forfeit victories, the Houston Hilltoppers finally got a chance to take the field on Friday. Rust was not an issue as the Hilltoppers (3-0) dominated visiting Shannon on both sides of the ball.
Jalen Washington led the charge, carrying the ball 17 times for 187 yards and two touchdowns in Houston’s 49-6 victory.
“We know what we’ve got with Jalen, and he brings it every day in practice and in the game, and we just hope we can build off this one and keep it rolling,” Houston coach Baylor Dampeer said.
It was an all-around effort for the Hilltoppers. Quarterback Red Parker totaled 243 yards – 200 in the air – and four total touchdowns, two passing and two on the ground, including a 40-yard quarterback keeper.
Jamal Cooperwood added 68 yards on five carries.
“We hope to spread the ball around, makes you harder to defend. I think guys played really well, our guys played really well up front, couldn’t be more proud of the guys up front, and it’s a big deal going into the season and they played lights out tonight."
E.J. Stovall turned a short pass from Parker into a 57-yard jaunt for a score. He finished with seven catches for 125 yards. Stovall added an interception and forced a fumble in the first quarter.
As dominant as the offense was, the Hilltoppers’ defense joined the party, holding the Red Raiders to fewer than 200 yards all night. In the first half, Houston forced a fumble, picked off a pass, forced two turnovers-on-downs and forced a punt.
“Just proud of the fight in the kids,” Dampeer said. “It’s been a long offseason and not being able to play the first two weeks and you don’t really know what you’re going to get until you get out there and the kids played really well. I couldn’t be more proud of them.”
“They were full of energy and just the past two weeks they’ve gone and watched some games, and they were happy to be the ones on the field finally.”
Also making plays for Houston was Will Vance, who had two catches for 44 yards. Chris Parker had two catches for 23 yards. Cooperwood had six tackles, Ja’tavius Eskridge and Vance each had a pair of tackles and Will Echoles, Brandon Watkins, Jordan Pratt, David Hollingsworth, Jermaine Cockrell and Parker each had a tackle.