After dealing with injuries & shutdown in 2020, Class 1A, DII Cranfills Gap breaks into state’s top 25 rankings to headline Heart of Texas six-man football
In Texas high school six-man football, it’s wise to expect the unexpected. And so far this season, some of the expectations in the Heart of Texas have been turned upside down.
On the strength of back-to-back lopsided shutout victories, the Cranfills Gap Lions leaped into the Class 1A, Division II six-man football top 25 rankings for the first time since 2019. In the meantime, the Walnut Springs Hornets shared the top spot in the all-Bosque County District 14-1A, DII by bouncing back from a disappointing Week 2 loss for the win.
But the defending district champions and preseason favorite Morgan Eagles continue to search for their first win of the season.
Four Heart of Texas six-man squads remained undefeated in Class 1A, Division I as the seventh-ranked Jonesboro Eagles (3-0) soared over Joshua Johnson County, 58-8, the 10th-ranked Abbott Panthers (3-0) devoured the Covington Owls, 62-12, the Bynum Bulldogs (3-0) rallied to knock off the previously state-ranked Morgan Eagles, 62-44, and the Evant Elks (3-0) stomped the Brookesmith Mustangs, 56-6.
CRANFILLS GAP 51, GUSTINE 0
Giving the local crowd plenty to cheer about on homecoming night, the 23rd-ranked Cranfills Gap Lions roared past the Gustine Tigers, 51-0, in dominating fashion last Friday night.
Led by senior Trenton Roberson with three rushing touchdowns, the Lions (2-1) jumped out to an early 16-0 lead and never looked back. Scoring on their opening possession with senior running back Cruz Flores cashing in, sophomore Blake Allen recovered a fumble on the ensuing kickoff and scored and senior Elias Marquez Peter nailed the two-point kick.
“The story of the night was the return of senior Trenton Roberson, who dominated the offensive and defensive lines as well as rushing for three touchdowns,” Cranfills Gap head coach Adam Carroll said. “But the defense was stifling all night and only allowed two first downs to Gustine.”
Flores led the Lion defense with 12 tackles, followed by Allen with 10 takedowns and two fumble recoveries along with Roberson with seven tackles and junior Aiden Doty with six.
With five different Cranfills Gap players scoring touchdowns, Marquez Peter rushed for a score while Aiden Doty connected with junior Haydn Kirby for a 13-yard scoring strike.
“I was proud of the effort and execution by our team to get a big homecoming win,” Cranfills Gap head coach Adam Carroll said. “We will have a very good opponent next week in DI Lometa coming to The Gap, so we will have to be ready.”
WALNUT SPRINGS 46, GHOLSON 0
Wasting no time getting back in the win column, the Walnut Springs Hornets put together a total team effort in a convincing 46-0 home victory over the Gholson Wildcats last Thursday evening. Avenging Week 2’s loss to the Jonesboro JV, seven different Hornets (2-1) scored touchdowns in the dominating win.
“The win helped erase the memory of a disappointing loss to the Jonesboro Eagles JV team a week earlier,” Walnut Springs head coach Lonnie Flippen said. “All 18 Hornet team members saw action against the Wildcats with some of the young Hornets making major contributions to the team effort.”
Sophomore Diego Muniz led the Hornets with 104 yards rushing and a touchdown, while freshman Jesse Lamb, freshman Josue Ontiveros, junior Anthony Muniz and senior Jordan Ontiveros also ran for scores. Sophomore Adrian Chavez three of four passes for 42 yards while connecting with Manny Favela for a scoring strike.
Defensively, Victor Favela scored on a 38-yard fumble recovery and joined Pablo Gonzalez in leading the Hornets in tackles with seven each, followed by Muniz and Brenden Shuemake with three apiece. Josue Ontiveros pulled down an interception, while Lamb and Jordan Ontiveros came up with fumble recoveries.
“The Hornets received the bad news yesterday that senior Corey Hargrove will be lost for the season with a knee injury that will require surgery,” Flippen said last Friday. “Hargrove had been named the projected defensive player of the year in District 12 by Dave Campbell’s Texas Football magazine.”
BYNUM 62, MORGAN 44
Despite rallying in the second half to take the lead, the Morgan Eagles could not hang on as the Class 1A, Division I Bynum Bulldogs remained undefeated with a come-from-behind 62-44 road victory to spoil homecoming night in Morgan last Friday.
Trailing 30-24 at halftime, the Eagles (0-2) opened the third quarter by capitalizing on back-to-back Bynum turnovers to score 14 quick points and grab a eight-point advantage. But the Bulldogs responded by tying the game third quarter before putting the game away with 24 fourth quarter points.
“It was a tough loss,” Morgan head coach Edward Aviles said. “We put ourselves in a position to win, but it slipped out if our hands. We should resolve many of the issues we struggled with during the game this week. We will move forward and strengthen our team by focusing on the little things that bring everything together.”
Junior Kason Sims completed eight of 16 passes for 102 yards and three touchdowns, connecting with sophomore Mark Garcia for two scoring strikes. But with Morgan still shorthanded due to injuries, Bynum shut down the Eagle running game by allowing only 35 yards rushing on 12 carries.
Defensively, junior Adrian Vera-Rico led Morgan with 12 tackles and a fumble recovery, followed by junior Dathen Davenport, junior Keylan Watts and freshman EJ Aviles with seven tackles apiece.
“Not having my backfield obviously hurts us and messed with our chemistry,” Aviles said. “The game against Bynum showed me who can step up and contribute to the teams growth.”
MOUNT CALM 67, KOPPERL 26
As Kopperl Eagles continue to work to rebuild their football program, they did not walk away with a win on homecoming night last Friday. But the Eagles took a step in the right directions by getting their offensive on track in an inspired 67-26 loss to the Mount Calm Panthers.
“We absolutely took a positive step forward this week,” Kopperl head coach Aaron Maxwell said. “We’re so proud of the boys. There are still some things we need to work on and improve upon but we feel like we held our own, and once we clean up some of the mistakes we’ll be ok. Our line blocked much better this week and that allowed us to move up and down the field. We just have to punch it in the end zone.”
Anthony Johnson led Kopperl (0-2) with 198 yards rushing and a touchdown while Steven Cagle ran for another score, and Christian Falk hooked up with Isaac Payen for touchdown pass. Falk led the Eagle defense with five tackles and two interceptions, followed by Johnson with four takedowns.
“It was nice to have a wonderful homecoming atmosphere and so much positive support from the community,” Maxwell said. “We really appreciate all the support they give.”
Photos by SIMONE WICHERS-VOSS
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