BELTON — Through two games this season, the Belton Tigers demonstrated, at times, that they are capable of being a top-caliber program.

Belton showed it can start fast, evident in a 27-7 lead at halftime against Georgetown in the season opener two weeks ago. The Tigers proved last week that they’re talented enough to overcome a rough opening quarter and score 26 unanswered points to nearly pull off a comeback at Round Rock.

Multiple goal-line stands on defense, 98-yard drives on offense and even an 85-yard kickoff return for a touchdown on special teams can all be added to Belton’s 2020 resume.

What’s still missing, though, is a victory to show for their efforts.

“Consistency is the key. We get into these lulls where we don’t play very good football and then there’s times where we play really good football. We just want to keep it at really good football for four quarters,” said first-year Belton head coach Brett Sniffin, who’s Tigers nearly overcame a 35-7 deficit against Round Rock last Friday, but ultimately lost 35-33. “We didn’t start off very well, but we finished great. I think, hopefully, that propels us through the rest of the season.”

Belton’s execution from the first half to the second half was night and day. After gaining 201 yards, nine first downs and failing to convert a pair of fourth downs before halftime, the Tigers flipped the script by scoring touchdowns on three of their six possessions of the second half, while registering 16 first downs and amassing 386 yards, and they set up a possible go-ahead 22-yard field goal with 2 seconds remaining.

However, Zach White’s game-winning kick was blocked by Round Rock’s Ty Dillon as time expired to keep Belton winless.

“It’s all about our execution,” Sniffin said. “We’re getting closer, but our losses have more to do with what we’re doing versus what other teams have done.

“It’s the little things that aren’t showing up in the box score that are hurting us right now. We got the onside kick to start the game last week, but we missed the field goal. We get down the field looking to score and we almost fumble the ball away on third down. We fumbled the ball on the second-to-last play of the game to put us back at the 5-yard line rather than the 1-inch line. Those little things are killing us.”

Belton (0-2) will have plenty of time to get mentally prepared for their game Friday at Midland Lee (2-0). The 5-hour drive is the longest road trip of the year for the Tigers, who play at Killeen next week to open District 12-6A play and also play road games at Bryan and Temple later this year.

And while two straight losses to open the season isn’t how the Tigers envisioned their start, the main objective according to Sniffin is to get Belton clicking on all cylinders for a full game before next week.

Belton has posted a strong first half and a strong second half. Unfortunately, they were in different games.

“Of course we can play four full quarters of a football game,” Sniffin said. “District is when it matters, but the fact is that with how the year has gone, all this can go away at any point because of COVID, so we want to win now. These first three games are all about us figuring things out and executing the best we can, but we also want to win every game.”

The Midland Lee Rebels are off to a strong start, posting a 31-21 win at Amarillo Tascosa last week after beating Amarillo at home 54-40 to open their campaign. The Rebels are averaging 465 yards per game on offense — compared to Belton’s 435 — and are led by quarterback Mikey Serrano, who threw for 59 yards last week after 283 yards through the air in Week 1.

Sniffin said Belton’s defense will focus on wide receiver Christian Romero, who has 16 catches for 189 yards and four scores. No other Rebel has more than four receptions.

Makhilyn Young leads the team with 220 yards rushing and Shemar Davis — who ran for a team-high 80 yards and two touchdowns last week — is another formidable rusher for Lee.

“They’ve scored a lot of points through their first two games so they’ve proven that they’re explosive, but it’s nothing that we haven’t seen so far,” Sniffin said. “If they’re going to beat us, let it be physically, not mentally. We have to take care of our responsibilities on defense.”

Belton’s offensive line continues to improve with new faces in the rotation. The line allowed one sack and helped pave the way for the Tigers’ 272 yards rushing last week. Anchored by senior Thomas Bowman, Sniffin said seniors Garrett Schoolcraft, Matthew Sierras and Charles Wilson, along with junior Jackson Engelke are meshing together and will continue to be a key factor in Belton’s future success.

“We’ve got guys that are still learning and trying to grasp what we want to do,” Sniffin said. “But each week, you can see the light bulbs going off and things are starting to click.”