Six-man schools steal market share of the spotlight under the Friday night lights with staggered start to 2020 football season
While six-man football rules in the small towns in which it’s played, Class 1A football often gets lost in the shadows of the big 11-man schools. But will the staggered start to the 2020 Texas high school football season, the Heart of Texas area featured a host of marquee matchups on the opening night under the Friday night lights.
Topping the list, Class 1A, DI’s sixth-ranked White Deer held off Class 1A, DII’s seventh-ranked Strawn to post a hard-fought 48-36 victory in a cross-division clash of two powerhouses on opening night.
In Class 1A, Division I, second-ranked Jonesboro blanked Coolidge, 48-0, seventh-ranked May crushed Bryson, 70-14, on the road, 11th-ranked Blum rolled to an impressive 56-6 thrashing of Aquilla, and Gorman upset Class 1A, DII’s 13th-ranked Blanket, 30-22.
In the meantime, several state-ranked squads remained idle on the opening weekend, including 14th-ranked Milford in Class 1A, DI, as well as 17th-ranked Brookesmith and 19th-ranked Dime Box in Class 1A, DII.
But the area’s undercard featured several interesting matchups to open the season as District 12-1A, DII defending champion Cranfills Gap, coming off its first district title since 1982, played host the District 15-1A, DI’s Evant Elks, while Class 1A, DI’s 22nd-ranked Avalon visited perennial powerhouse Abbott.
ABBOTT 58, AVALON 37
ABBOTT – Despite trailing early, Abbott running back Kadyn Johnson score seven touchdowns to lead the Panthers to a come-from-behind 58-37 victory over the state-ranked Avalon Eagles last Friday night.
With Avalon leading 18-12 in the second quarter, Johnson broke off back-to-back long touchdown runs to give the Panthers a lead they would never relinquish. Johnson accumulated 376 rushing yards on the strength of scoring runs of 55, 48 and 57 yards before putting the game away with three touchdowns in the fourth quarter alone.
EVANT 62, CRANFILLS GAP 14
CRANFILLS GAP – Led by six seniors, the Evant Elks took advantage of Cranfills Gap’s youth and inexperience to post a convincing 62-14 victory over playoff hopeful Lions last Friday night.
“Tough loss to a good DI team,” Cranfills Gap head coach Adam Carroll said. “We will bounce back and improve, no doubt. Hopefully, everyone will come out healthy.”
Senior Cason Cox led the Cranfills Gap offense with 53 yards rushing and a touchdown along with 133 yards passing and a score, connecting with sophomore Aiden Doty on six tosses for 75 yards and a touchdown.
Defensively, Jason Youngblood led the Lions with three tackles, followed by Blake Allen, Cox and Doty with two takedowns apiece.
“Playing through injuries, heat and exhaustion, I was proud the boys never laid down,” Carroll said. “However, we made a lot of silly mistakes that we have to fix if we want to improve.”
WALNUT SPRINGS 39, THREE WAY 30
THREE WAY –Freshman Bryan Chavez threw four touchdowns passes to lead Walnut Springs to an exciting 39-30 road victory over the Three Way Warriors in Hornet head coach Lonnie Flippen’s return to the sidelines.
Scoring on the fourth play of the game, Walnut Springs jumped out to an early 13-0 lead then matched Three Way score-by-score to hang on for the season-opening win.
“Our kids had an opportunity to lay down late in the game, but showed a great deal of character and held on to win the game,” Flippen said. “Several big plays were made on both offense and defense, including the four touchdowns by our freshman quarterback.”
Chavez completed five of eight passes for 122 yards with only one interception, connecting with Jordan Ontiveros for two touchdowns, Christian Aguilar on a 42-yard scoring toss, and Corey Hargrove on a 45-yard touchdown strike.
On the ground, Abraham Lares led the Hornets with 79 yards rushing on eight carries, followed by Hargrove with 74 yards on nine attempts and Christian Aguilar with 21 yards on two totes.
Defensively, Lares led Walnut Springs with 15 tackles, followed by Chavez with 10 and freshman Diego Muniz with six.
PENELOPE 48, MORGAN 0
MORGAN – Taking advantage of several early mistakes, the Penelope Wolverines pounced on the shorthanded Morgan Eagles for an overwhelming 48-0 victory last Thursday evening.
“It was a great effort by our seven players currently on the roster,” Morgan head coach Edward Aviles said. “The lack of numbers and substitutions is always a teaching moment for these players because they know they have to depend on each other to get better. It’s not how you start the race, but how you finish.”
Although Morgan put a couple of solid drives, the Eagles were unable to avoid the shutout as the game ended in the fourth quarter by virtue of the 45-point mercy rule. Sophomore Kason Sims passed for 26 yards and ran for a team-high 10 yards.
Defensively, junior Geraldo Monroy led the Eagles with 11 tackles, followed by junior Manuel Muniz and sophomore Keylan Watts with four each.
Once again this season, THE SPORTS BUZZ will provide award-winning coverage of the 2020 Texas high school football season, focusing on Class 3A, 2A and 1A schools in the 10-county Heart of Texas region — which includes Bosque, Comanche, Coryell, Erath, Hamilton, Hill, Hood, Johnson, McLennan and Somervell counties.
Within the Heart of Texas region, THE SPORTS BUZZ will be covering 21 Class 1A-Six-Man schools spread out across eight districts in two divisions. Be sure to check back every Sunday for the Class 1A Gridiron Grades and Friday Night Flashback featuring district standings, scores and upcoming matchups for all 21 Class 1A teams from the Heart of Texas.
Photos by SIMONE WICHERS-VOSS
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