CLASS 1A GRIDIRON GRADES: Week 4

in Roundups

Jonesboro remains undefeated to head up the class for talented six-man squads across the Heart of Texas as COVID-19 continues to threaten programs

While a host of Class 1A, Division I teams remained undefeated through the first four weeks of the season, the cream began to rise to the top in Class 1A, DII across the Heart of Texas region.

Class 1A, Division I’s undefeated Jonesboro dropped down four spots in the state rankings despite a convincing 53-18 victory over Blum. But on the other hand, Class 1A, DII’s sixth-ranked Strawn stayed put by blanking Gorman, 45-0, last Friday night.

Class 1A football often gets lost in the shadows of the big 11-man schools. But with the staggered start to the 2020 Texas high school football season, the Heart of Texas area continues to feature a host of marquee matchups as the season moves into Week 5 under the Friday night lights.

But unfortunately, the coronavirus COVID-19 strikes continues to strike in some of these small towns, having a debilitating effect. In fact, several teams stand on the brink of cancelling their entire seasons due to the pandemic.

JONESBORO 53, BLUM 18

JONESBORO — Five different players found their way into the end zone as the state-ranked Jonesboro Eagles remained undefeated with dominating 53-18 victory at home over the defending state chamion Blum Bobcats last Friday night.

Opening the game with 24 unanswered points, the Eagles (4-0) featured a balanced attack by scoring four touchdowns on the ground and two more through the air. Senior Wade Foote and junior Nat Hilliker caught touchdown passes, while Kaleb Sanders rushed for two scores and senior Brandon Nemelka and junior Manuel Torres ran for touchdowns as well.

Although Jonesboro enjoyed a commanding 32-6 advantage at intermission, the Eagles could not put the defending state champion Bobcats away with the 45-point mercy rule in the second half.

The perennial contender took down the reigning champs in one of the state’s top six-man matchups of the week.

ABBOTT 56, FW THESA 8

ABBOTT – Senior Kadyn Johnson ran for six touchdowns and threw for another as the Abbott Panthers remained undefeated with a resounding 56-8 victory at home over Fort Worth THESA last Friday night.

With 253 yards rushing, Kadyn Johnson provided all the offense the Panthers needed, accounting for all but 42 yards of Abbott’s total offensive output, also connecting with Keaton Pustejovsky on a nine-yard touchdown pass.

Defensively, Kane Klaus led the Panthers with 18 tackles and a recovered fumble for a score, followed by Kadyn Johnson with 11 takedowns and sophomore Karson Johnson with 10.

WALNUT SPRINGS 65, AVALON 54

WALNUT SPRINGS – Continuing to establish its young squad as a legitimate playoff contender, the Class 1A, DII Walnut Springs Hornets surprised the Class 1A, DI Avalon Eagles, 65-54, last Friday night as freshman quarterback Bryan Chavez tossed three touchdown passes and freshman Diego Muniz scored three times.

“I thought our kids rose to the occasion being 33-point underdogs,” Walnut Springs head coach Lonnie Flippen. “We are still learning to play as a team, but we are becoming much more confident in the roles they are expected to play. Everyone is contributing to the overall team effort.”

Featuring a balanced attack, the Hornets (3-1) scored four times through the air and another five times with its diversified ground attack, led by junior Corey Hargrove and Muniz with two touchdowns each.

Chavez spread the ball around through the air, connecting with junior Jordan Onterveros, senior Christian Aguilar and Muniz on scoring strikes.

Defensively, Bryan Chavez led the Hornets with 12 tackles, followed by Abraham Lares with 11, while Aguilar and Hargrove contributed eight takedowns apiece. “We played against a great spread back last night who was very difficult to defend,” Flippen said. “But we forced a couple of turnovers and took advantage of those mistakes to pick up our third win of the year.”

IREDELL 49, BUCKHOLTS 46

BUCKHOLTS — Despite trailing 40-28 at halftime, the Iredell Dragons used a 21-point fourth quarter to rally for a thrilling 49-46 road victory over the Buckholts Badgers last Friday night.

With Iredell (1-1) leading 28-22 in the second quarter, the Badgers (0-3) scored 18 unanswered points to take a 12-point advantage into the locker room at halftime.

Then trailing 46-34 in the fourth quarter, the Dragons responded  with two late touchdowns, converting a one-point run and a two-point kick to walk away with the win.

MORGAN 59, LINGLEVILLE 12

MORGAN — Senior Derik Davenport threw three touchdown passes and ran for another score to lead the Morgan Eagles to an overwhelming 59-12 home victory over the Lingleville Cardinals last Friday night.

With seven different Eagles scoring touchdowns, Morgan not only spread the ball around but did so using a balanced offensive attack, piling up 182 yards in the ground and 146 yards through the air in just one half of play, ending the game at halftime with the 45-point mercy rule.

“It was a mosquito-infested night, but the Eagles offense continued to put points on the scoreboard,” Morgan head coach Edward Aviles said. “The Eagles were able to spread the football around and make some adjustments at the beginning of the second quarter to keep the Cardinals from scoring.”

While Derik Davenport accounted for four scores, junior Manuel Muniz produced three touchdowns, throwing for one, running for one and catching a 75-yard scoring strike from junior Gerardo Monroy. Sophomore Adrian Vera-Rico broke off a 30-yard touchdown run and caught a 45-yard scoring toss from Muniz.

With Morgan scoring quickly and often, sophomore Dathen Davenports caught a two-yard scoring pass, senior Ivan Alvarez turned the corner for a 37-yard touchdown run, sophomore Cason Sims hauled in a 12-yard scoring strike, and sophomore Tony Conner pulled down a 12-yard touchdown toss as well.

Defensively, Muniz and sophomore Keylan Watts led the Eagles with six tackles apiece, followed by Monroy with five, while Derik Davenport collected four tackles with a forced fumble and a 65-yard interception return, and freshman Mark Anthony Garcia came up with two fumble recoveries.

CRANFILLS GAP at LOMETA, CCD.

With two players testing positive for the coronavirus COVID-19 last week, the defending district champion Cranfills Gap Lions were forced to cancel their trip to Lometa last week. And due to pandemic protocols, the Lions’ non-district game at Cherokee this week remains in doubt.

“We ended up having to cancel Thursday morning due to two positive COVID tests from two players,” Cranfills Gap head coach Adam Carroll said. “I was tested earlier in the week, and it came back negative. The team had to go into quarantine, and according to protocols can get tested Monday. If negative, they can return to school and practice.

“Those that tested positive will be out 14 days, then be tested again. We are hopeful to have a game next Friday, but we will see. It’s a tough situation, but we knew it might be a possibility.”

Once again this season, THE SPORTS BUZZ provides 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 covers 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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