Smaller classifications capture the spotlight under the Friday night lights with staggered start to 2020 high school football season
With the staggered start to the 2020 Texas high school football season, the smaller classifications grabbed the spotlight as the season opened under the Friday night lights last week. And certainly, several Class 2A clashes captured their share of the attention.
Class 2A, DI’s 10th-ranked San Saba played host to Class 2A, DII’s 19th-ranked Eldorado, Class 2A, DII top-ranked and three-time defending state champion Mart took on Class 3A, DI playoff qualifier Teague, perennial powerhouse Crawford, under the direction of new head coach Greg Jacobs, traveled to Goldthwaite, Marlin traveled to Riesel for the annual rivalry showdown, and the Meridian Yellowjackets were looking for its first win under head coach Wade Morton on the road against the Kerens Bobcats.
To get things started, San Saba appeared primed to make another run at the Class 3A, DI state title as the Armadillos rolled to an impressive 56-14 win over state-ranked Eldorado. And the Hico Tigers snapped a 12-game losing streak with a convincing 33-6 victory over the Waco Texas Wind.
CRAWFORD 14, GOLDTHWAITE 0
GOLDTHWAITE — Crawford’s Breck Chambers caught a touchdown pass and ran for another score to lead the Pirates to a solid season-opening victory under new head coach Greg Jacobs last Friday night.
Breaking a scoreless tie early in the second quarter, Crawford quarterback Tanner Merenda connected with Chambers on a 13-yard touchdown pass to put the Pirates on the scoreboard.
In the meantime, the Crawford defense limited Goldthwaite to only seven first downs while holding the Eagles to a paltry 100 yards of total offense to post the shutout.
Chambers added an insurance score with a three-yard rushing touchdown in the third quarter as the Pirates grinded out 154 yards rushing while adding 93 yards through the air to control the game.
KERENS 19, MERIDIAN 7
KERENS — Heading into unknown hostile territory on opening night, the Meridian Yellowjackets headed home optimistic despite falling to the Kerens Bobcats, 19-7, last Friday.
“I’m not really into moral victories,” Meridian second-year head coach Wade Morton said. “But if you were going to walk away with one, I guess you could say this was it for our players. Our players left off from last season with the same fight they had, which is great to see, because we can continue to get better each and every day based on that mentality.”
Taking advantage of an early Meridian mistake, Kerens scored on a pick-six early in the first quarter. The Bobcats added another score to built a 13-0 lead, but the Jackets responded late in the second quarter.
Driving the ball down to the Kerens two-yard line just before intermission, Meridian benefitted from a face mask penalty called against Kerens as time expired. On the bonus play, Jacket quarterback Dylan Poole ran in from two-yards out to make it a one-score game.
Offensively, Poole completed seven of 17 passes for 57 yards, while Anthony Gonzalez led the Jackets on the ground with 41 yards rushing on 10 carries along with three receptions for 25 yards. Michael Crawford added another 27 yards on the ground, while Teagan Smith caught one pass for 24 yards, Victor Orozco caught two for 18, and Brady Taylor snagged two for 11.
Receiving the second half kickoff, Kerens marched down the field and scored to rebuild its lead. From that point, the game turned into a defensive struggled as neither team found the end zone again.
Defensively, the Jackets smarmed the Kerens running game while limiting the Bobcats to only 203 total yards. Teagan Smith led the Jackets with 16 tackles, followed by Gonzalez with 15, Taylor with 10, Crawford with eight and Orozco with seven.
“We were very pleased with our players and effort they displayed,” Morton said. “We looking forward to hosting Frost this Friday in Meridian.”
MART 34, TEAGUE 7
MART — Looking for their fourth straight state championship armed with the preseason consensus Class 2A player of the year, the top-ranked Mart Panthers eased past the Class 3A, Division I Teague Lions, 34-7, last Friday night at Panther Stadium.
After winning the Class 2A Division I state title in 2017 followed by back-to-back Class 2A, DII championships in 2018 and 2019, the Panthers sprang for 427 yards on the ground against Teague, led by senior running back Roddrell Freeman. While building a 27-0 lead before intermission, Freeman finished with 223 yards rushing and three touchdowns.
Although the Panther defense effectively shut down the playoff-caliber Teague squad, Lion running back Nemier Herod finished with 140 yards rushing and Teague’s only score in the third quarter.
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 15 Class 2A schools spread out across six districts in two divisions. Be sure to check back every Sunday for the Class 2A Gridiron Grades and Friday Night Flashback featuring district standings, scores and upcoming matchups for all 15 Class 2A teams from the Heart of Texas.
Photos by WENDY OROZCO & SIMONE WICHERS-VOSS
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