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October 21, 2021

GRIDIRON MATCHUPS: WEEK 9

in Schedule/Scores/Stats

With Heart of Texas Class 3A, 2A & 1A district races turning down the home stretch, some heavyweights will battle under the Friday night lights this week

As we head into Week 9 of the 2021 Texas high school football season, the Class 3A, 2A and 1A district races across the Heart of Texas begin heading down the home stretch in the final three weeks with some pivotal matchups between heavyweights this week.

In Bosque County, the Friday night spotlight remains on six-man football as the five teams in a league all their own begin scrambling to stay alive in the battle for District 12-1A, Division II’s two postseason berths.

This week in the Battle for the Bosque, the 2020 district runnerup Walnut Springs Hornets (1-1 in district, 3-5 overall) will host the rejuvenated Iredell Dragons (1-0, 3-2) in a key showdown for positioning, the Kopperl Eagles (0-2, 0-6) will visit the defending district champion Morgan Eagles (0-1, 0-5) to determine which team stays alive in the race, while the surprising district-leading Cranfills Gap Lions (2-0 in district, 5-3 overall) have an open date.

In other Heart of Texas six-man action, the Class 1A, DI’s third-ranked Jonesboro Eagles (1-0, 8-0) hosts the winless Zephyr Bulldogs (0-1, 0-8) in District 15-1A, DI play while the co-district leading Lometa Hornets (1-0, 6-1) visit the Evant Elks (0-1, 4-3).

Other key matchups include the fourth-ranked Abbott Panthers (7-0) visit the Coolidge Yellow Jackets (4-3) for the top spot in District 12-1A, DI, the Oglesby Tigers (5-2) host the Mount Calm Panthers (3-3) for District 14-1A, DII supremacy, and the Sidney Eagles (2-0, 3-4) will try to hold off the visiting Blanket Tigers (1-0, 6-1) in District 14-1, DII.

In Class 2A action, DI’s fourth-ranked Crawford Pirates (3-0, 7-0) will host the 2020 district runner-up the Bosqueville Bulldogs (3-0, 5-2) in a crucial District 7-2A, DI showdown, and the Tolar Rattlers (2-1, 5-2) will try to stay in the driver’s seat of the playoff hunt when hosting the Rio Vista Eagles (1-3, 3-4), while the Class 2A, DII’s top-ranked Mart Panthers (2-0, 7-0) will host the cellar-dwelling Frost Polar Bears (0-2, 2-5) in the District 10-2A, DII action.

But when it comes to Class 3A action, DI’s seventh-ranked West Trojans (4-0, 8-0) will enjoy an open date in the schedule while the seventh-ranked Grandview Zebras (4-0, 7-1) visit the challenging Whitney Wildcats (2-1, 3-4) in District 11-3A, DI, while the eighth-ranked Lorena Leopards (3-0, 5-2) hosts the resurgent perennial powerhouse Cameron Yoemen (3-1, 3-5) in District 11-3A, DI action.

Once again this season, THE SPORTS BUZZ will provide award-winning coverage of the 2021 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.

Be sure to check in with THE SPORTS BUZZ every Thursday to find the complete schedule for teams from the Heart of Texas region. Then follow THE SPORTS BUZZ for up-to-the-minute final scores as they become available throughout the weekend.

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LION PRIDE OF BOSQUE

in Football

Looking for second District 12-1A, DII title in three years, Cranfills Gap Lions take control of six-man football Battle for the Bosque

After winning the District 12-1A, Division II title in 2019, the Cranfills Gap Lions just barely survived numerous injuries and Covid shutdowns to complete the unprecedented 2020 Texas high school football season. With that in mind, most prognosticators did not expect the Lions to challenge for a playoff berth, let alone the district crown.

Boy, were they ever wrong.

Scheduled to open the 2021 District 12-1A, DII play by facing the defending district champion Morgan Eagles and the runner-up Walnut Springs Hornets in back-to-back weeks, Cranfills Gap posted two convincing victories to take control of the six-man football Battle for the Bosque.

CRANFILLS GAP 42, MORGAN 28

Featuring a balanced offensive attack by scoring three rushing touchdowns and three more times through the air, the surprising and resurgent Cranfills Gap Lions dominated the defending district champion Morgan Eagles on their way to an impressive 42-28 victory at home last Friday night.

Sophomore Trenton Roberson powered his way to two rushing touchdowns and caught a scoring strike while senior Cruz Flores ran for one score and threw for another to give the Lions (2-0 in district, 5-3 overall) sole possession of first place in District 12-1A, DII. Flores finished with 214 yards rushing while completing four of six passes for 40 yards to dethrone the Eagles (0-1, 0-5).

“We knew Morgan would be a tough team even though they came in without a win,” Cranfills Gap head coach Adam Carroll said. “We know the kind of talent they have and we knew it would be a tougher game than the spread had it. But the boys were ready and they stepped up.”

After a defensive struggle in the first half results in an 8-0 lead for Cranfills Gap at intermission, the Lions opened things up in the third quarter. Junior Aiden Doty tossed two touchdown passes while completing four of eight for 69 yards, while junior Case Koehler hauled in three passes for 42 yards and a touchdown, Roberson completed a 42-yard catch-and-run for a score, and junior Haydn Kirby pulled down a 10-yard scoring strike.

“Our defense was playing very good holding them to zero points at halftime,” Carroll said. “Our offense was having problems with communication and blocking at the line. We finally got it figured out in the second half, and it opened up some things.”

Defensively, freshman Eli Whitmer led the Lions with 13 tackles and a forced fumble, followed by Flores with 12 takedowns, sophomore Blake Allen with eight tackles and a fumble recovery, as well as senior Elias Marquez Peter with seven tackles and two fumble recoveries.

Morgan senior Manuel Muniz scored three touchdowns and junior Kason Sims tossed two touchdown passes in the losing effort for the Eagles.

“Our team is going through adversity that we have put upon ourselves,” Morgan head coach Edward Aviles said. “The team hasn’t had the leadership it requires to be successful. Injuries keep us puttering along and with a small window to make the postseason. I am hoping we can finish on a high note by having the right players step up and making the contributions they need to have the team have some success.”

WALNUT SPRINGS 52, KOPPERL 6

Bouncing back from a disappointing district opening loss to Cranfills Gap, the Walnut Springs Hornets took care of business by grounding the young and inexperienced Kopperl Eagles, 52-6, on the road last Friday night.

Taking advantage of three first quarter Kopperl turnovers, the Hornets (1-1 in district, 3-5 overall) quickly built a 22-0 lead and never looked back. Diego Muniz scored three touchdowns while Jordan Ontiveros added two more to lead the win over Kopperl (0-2, 0-6).

“This win seemed like a long time in coming, but it puts us back in the playoff picture,” Walnut Springs head coach Lonnie Flippen said. “We understand we have to win out, and that won’t be an easy task. But it gives us something to shot for.”

Muniz rushed for one touchdown, caught a 25-yard pass for another, and added a 42-yard kickoff return for a score. Jordan Ontiveros scored on a 22-yard run and hauled in a touchdown pass from his younger brother Josue Ontiveros. Bryan Chavez threw another scoring strike and Luis Fraire closed out the Hornets scoring late in the second quarter.

Offensively for Kopperl, Anthony Johnson ran for the Eagles’ lone score, while Christian Falk completed eight of 13 passes for 43 yards, and Isaac Payen hauled in four receptions for 28 yards. Mikey Ensor, a regional qualifier in cross country, led Kopperl defensively with three tackles.

“Although the score didn’t reflect it, we played much better this week,” Kopperl football first-year head coach Aaron Maxwell said. “Every week is a learning experience for us and the guys were able to put a few things together this week.

“Unfortunately, we turned it over three times in the first quarter and put ourselves in a hole. We are proud of their continued growth and fighting spirit.”

Flippen walked away from the game impressive by the effort given from Kopperl’s youthful squad loaded with sophomores and freshmen.

“I would like to send out a word of praise to the young Kopperl team and Coach Maxwell,” Flippen said.  “Those young men never gave up and played until the final play. They will be a team that will be in contention in a year or two.”

Photos by SIMONE WICHERS-VOSS

©2021 Southern Cross Creative, LLP. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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