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October 14, 2020

CLASS 2A FRIDAY FLASHBACK

in Roundups

WEEK 7: State-ranked Crawford Pirates solidify position at the top of the Heart of Texas while defending state champion Mart gets sidelined by Covid-19

It took Covid-19 precautions to prevent the Class 2A, DII’s top-ranked and three-time defending state champion Mart Panthers from winning another game under the Friday night lights last week. But the Class 2A, Division I’s seventh-ranked Crawford Pirates continue to look like the region’s team to beat after dominating the Hamilton Bulldogs, 51-6, last Friday night.

In other Class 2A, DI action around the region, the Bosqueville Bulldogs moved into a first place tie with Crawford on the strength on an overwhelming 49-0 District 7-2A, DI victory over the Itasca Wampus Cats, while the surprising Rio Vista Eagles soared past the Valley Mills Eagles, 41-33.

In other Class 2A, DI action across the Heart of Texas, Covid-19 precautions wiped out two of three schedule District 10-2A, DII contests as Bremond at the defending state champion and top-ranked Mart Panthers, and Chilton at the Hubbard Jaguars were both postponed until Nov. 6.

The seventh-ranked Albany Lions continued to dominate in District 8-2A, DII with a 55-0 victory at the Hico Tigers, while the young upstart Meridian Yellowjackets rebounded from a district opening loss to Albany to pound the Ranger Bulldogs, 62-0.

CRAWFORD 51, HAMILTON 6

HAMILTON – In a dominating performance, senior quarterback Tanner Merenda threw two touchdowns passes and ran for two more scores as the Class 2A, DI’s seventh-ranked Crawford Pirates pounded the Hamilton Bulldogs, 51-6, in a battle for the top spot in District 7-2A, DI last Friday night.

After a scoreless first quarter, the Pirates outscored Hamilton, 24-6, in the second quarter before tallying 27 unanswered points in the second half to put the game away. Merenda accounted for all Crawford touchdowns in the second quarter, tossing scoring strikes to Breck Chambers and Colt Murphree along with running another one in.

Using a balanced attack, Crawford (2-0 in district, 6-0 overall) piled up 484 yards to total offense, while Hamilton (2-1, 4-3) managed 301 yards of total offense but only produced six points.

RIO VISTA 41, VALLEY MILLS 33

RIO VISTA – Led by sophomore quarterback Taylor Pritchett, the Rio Vista Eagles held off a second-half comeback to soar past the Valley Mills Eagles, 41-33, in a hard-fought District 7-2A, DI clash last Friday night.

Pritchett tossed two touchdown passes and ran for two more as Rio Vista (2-1, 6-1) jumped out to a 21-7 first quarter lead and built a 35-7 advantage before halftime. But Valley Mills (0-3, 2-5) scored 26-second half points to make it a one-score game before Rio Vista escaped with the win.

Rushing for a game-high 122 yards, Pritchett also completed six of 12 passes for 100 more yards, while senior Brent Hoffman ran for 46 yards and a score. Senior Anthony Perez led Rio Vista with four catches for 61 yards and two touchdowns.

MERIDIAN 62, RANGER 0

RANGER – Behind a seven-touchdown performance by senior Teagan Smith, the Meridian Yellowjackets ran away with an overwhelming 62-0 victory over the Ranger Bulldogs on the road last Friday night. Coming off a tough District 8-2A, Division II opening loss to the seventh-ranked Albany Lions, the Jackets responded with Meridian’s most lopsided victory since 2007.

Delivering another dominating defensive performance, the Jackets notched its third shutout of the season. Throwing the Bulldogs for losses on 13 negative yardage plays, Meridian (1-1, 3-3) shut down Ranger for four yards total offense while forcing two turnovers. Ranger (0-2, 0-6) failed to complete a pass on nine attempts and managed only four yards rushing on 27 carries.

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 15 Class 2A schools spread out across six districts in two divisions. Be sure to check back every week for the Friday Flashback and the Class 2A Gridiron Grades 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

©2020 Southern Cross Creative, LLP. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

DEFINING MOMENT

in Football

With dominating 62-0 victory over Ranger, the Meridian Yellowjackets move into position to make a run at a District 8-2A, DII playoff berth

RANGER – Behind a seven-touchdown performance by senior Teagan Smith, the Meridian Yellowjackets ran away with an overwhelming 62-0 victory over the Ranger Bulldogs on the road last Friday night. Coming off a tough District 8-2A, Division II opening loss to the seventh-ranked Albany Lions, the Jackets responded with Meridian’s most lopsided victory since 2007.

“The Albany win or loss was never going to define how good we can be,” Meridian second-year head coach Wade Morton said. “Our kids understood that, and we went into that game working on getting better. We didn’t play bad, but Albany is at a different level, and we strive for that each week.

“Coming into the Ranger game after a lopsided loss to Albany, our kids were focused all week and wanted to be better. The boys’ mindset and preparation was key, and it showed.”

Delivering another dominating defensive performance, the Jackets notched its third shutout of the season. Throwing the Bulldogs for losses on 13 negative yardage plays, Meridian (1-1 in district, 3-3 overall) shut down Ranger for four yards total offense while forcing two turnovers. Ranger (0-2, 0-6) failed to complete a pass on nine attempts and managed only four yards rushing on 27 carries.

Sophomore Michael Crawford led the Jackets with 13 tackles, followed by Smith with eight, while senior Anthony Gonzalez, senior Victor Orozco and sophomore Gage Edwards collected six takedown apiece. Sophomore John Pablo Bernal pulled down an interception that led to a first quarter score, while Austin Perry came up with a fumble to set up another touchdown just before intermission to give Meridian a commanding 35-0 halftime lead.

“We played great defense, but we’ve been playing great defense all year,” said Morton after the Jackets won their first game on the road since Oct. 13, 2017. “The defense is the best thing about our team at the moment. Our coaches do a great job, and the kids do a great job being coachable.”

Thanks to the punishing defensive effort, the Jacket offensive went to work on a short field most of the game, scoring quickly and often.

Offensively, the Jackets scored the most points in a game since 2016, and put up more points in one game than Meridian had totaled in the previous five games combined. Clearly, the Jackets using the open week prior to district to get everyone healthy and back on the field helped the Meridian offensive attack get back on track.

“We mixed it up on offense and gave the ball to six different guys,” Morton said. “I thought the line played well overall, and the boys ran hard. We want to be multiple on offense, and we believe that gives us an advantage. Both players and coaches did a great job being flexible with whatever is thrown their way.”

With Meridian piling up 456 yards of total offense, senior quarterback Dylan Poole led the Jackets with 142 yards rushing and two touchdowns, while passing for 57 yards and another score. Smith finished with 125 yards rushing to go along with a 20-yard touchdown reception, while sophomore Brady Taylor ran for another 88 yards on the ground.

By winning this game in dominating fashion, the Jackets put themselves in a good position to make a run at Meridian’s first postseason berth since 2017. After hosting the district co-leader Cross Plains (2-0, 6-1) Friday, the Jackets will travel to Hico (0-2, 1-6) for a Thursday game Oct. 22 before losing the regular season out at home against Santo (1-1, 4-3).

“We believe in practices being harder than games,” Morton said. “We want the boys to play fast and be as confident as possible come Friday Night. It’s hard doing things the right way, and you have to pay the price for success upfront to get the results you want.

“Discipline is the shortcut to anything these boys want, and that’s how we’re going to approach this next week, the weeks to follow and on with our program.”

Photos by WENDY OROZCO

©2020 Southern Cross Creative, LLP. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed

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