AUSTIN (KXAN) — Anderson junior receiver Ed Small hauled in three touchdown passes in the first half to help fuel the Trojans to a 42-0 win in the 22nd Taco Shack Bowl over McCallum on Thursday at House Park.
It’s the Trojans’ 12th Taco Shack Bowl victory and their second consecutive blowout win after taking the game 49-3 last year. Anderson took advantage of early mistakes by McCallum and had short fields for most of the first half, and when an athlete like Small has that type of advantage, it’s hard to stop him.
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The Trojans set the tone about four minutes into the game with a 45-yard touchdown pass by Brady Gephart to Small. Gephart threw a pass up for grabs while under pressure, but he knew Small would go up and get it. Small, who is committed to the Texas Longhorns for baseball, adjusted to the underthrown pass and made some nifty moves to avoid two McCallum defenders to get into the end zone.
Anderson had a short field after a bad snap on a McCallum punt, and that led to another Gephart to Small touchdown tandem, this time for seven yards. Gephart fit the pass in between three McCallum defenders for Small to gobble up in the back of the zone.
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Small caught his third score of the night early in the second quarter, a 17-yard play where Small reeled in the pass around the 10-yard line and then fought his way to the front pylon.
Anderson had a 35-0 lead by halftime.
In the second half, Anderson sophomore running back Ben Hatcher broke off a 59-yard touchdown run that ended the scoring with 10:18 left in the third. Hatcher, son of Trojans head coach Donald Hatcher, broke a pair of tackles and then used his breakaway speed to leave everybody in the dust.
McCallum’s best chance at a touchdown came late in the fourth quarter after quarterback Luke Dunham scrambled for 38 yards, and then a horse collar tackle penalty on Anderson tacked on more yardage to put the Knights at the 6-yard line. However, the Anderson defense held in the goal-to-go scenario and forced a turnover on downs with 5:18 left in the game to preserve the shutout.
Anderson (1-0) heads Leander Rouse next Friday and McCallum (0-1) hosts Kyle Lehman.
Ballgame: Anderson 42, McCallum 0. The Trojans took advantage of early miscues by McCallum and ran away with another blowout victory in the Taco Shack Bowl.
5:18 4Q: After the big play, the Knights couldn’t convert it into points. An incomplete pass on 4th and goal gives Anderson the ball back on the Trojans’ 5-yard line.
7:33 4Q: McCallum gets a huge play from quarterback Luke Dunham as he scrambles out of trouble for a 38-yard run down to the Anderson 14-yard line, and then a horse collar tackle penalty moves them half the distance to the goal closer.
End 3Q: Anderson 42, McCallum 0. 12 minutes left in the 2023 Taco Shack Bowl and it appears the Trojans will hang win No. 12 on the board. McCallum starts the 4Q with the ball after the Trojans turned it over on downs during the final play of the 3Q.
10:18 3Q: TOUCHDOWN ANDERSON: Ben Hatcher, son of head coach Donald Hatcher, takes it to the house. A 59-yard run after he broke a couple of tackles and then sped away from everybody. PAT good. Trojans 42, Knights 0
10:42 3Q: The Knights can’t get anything going on their first drive of the second half and have to punt it away. Anderson will take over on its own 39-yard line after a penalty on the return.
12:00 3Q: McCallum receives the second-half kick and will start on their own 26-yard line
Halftime: Anderson 35, McCallum 0. It’s all Trojans in the 2023 Taco Shack Bowl so far.
1:18 1Q: McCallum gets a defensive stop as Anderson’s 4th-and-10 pass falls incomplete. Knights take over just inside their own territory.
3:10 1Q: Every time McCallum gets something going with its run game behind Mitchell Butler, something bad happens. Friendly fire causes a fumble in the backfield and Anderson falls on it. Trojans have it on the McCallum 44-yard line.
4:08 1Q: TOUCHDOWN ANDERSON: Set up by a 24-yard run by Williams down to the 1-yard line, backup QB Max Gerlich finishes the drive with a 1-yard plunge for a touchdown. PAT good. Trojans 35, Knights 0
8:43 1Q: Anderson defensive end Jack Middleton is a game-wrecker. He records his fourth tackle for loss of the game and moves the Knights from a 1st-and-5 scenario to 2nd-and-9.
9:46 2Q: TOUCHDOWN ANDERSON: On 3rd and 8, Gephart finds Small again, and Small makes an incredible effort to get to the front pylon after the catch for a 17-yard touchdown. PAT good. Trojans 28, Knights 0
End 1Q: Anderson 21, McCallum 0. Trojans firmly in control so far after starting with plus field position in three of their first four possessions. They’ll have the ball in Knights territory to start 2Q
1:10 1Q: McCallum starts to put a drive together but it stalls and a 7-play drive ends on a turnover on downs. Anderson has it on its own 44-yard line to start its fourth possession of the quarter.
4:26 1Q: TOUCHDOWN ANDERSON: Dayden Williams will not be denied a touchdown from short range and he bulldozed his way into the end zone from a yard out. The Trojans took advantage of a fumbled kickoff return by McCallum to take over deep in Knights territory. PAT good. Trojans 21, Knights 0
5:20 1Q: TOUCHDOWN ANDERSON: Gephart hits Small again with a frozen rope on a designed rollout. Gephart fit it in a window between three McCallum defenders for a 7-yard touchdown. PAT good. Trojans 14, Knights 0
6:42 1Q: A bad snap on a McCallum punt attempt gives Anderson the ball deep in Knights territory on their second possession.
11:07 1Q: TOUCHDOWN ANDERSON: Brady Gephart just lets go of the pass under duress and he finds Ed Small, who makes a nice adjustment back to the football, for a 45-yard touchdown. PAT good. Trojans 7, Knights 0
11:45 1Q: An awesome start for the Trojans with a kick return to midfield, but then they lose some yards on a fumble they were lucky to fall on and keep possession
Game start: Anderson wins the coin toss and they elect to receive the opening kick