LEAVING NO DOUBT

in Football

By settling the Battle for the Bosque in District 12-1A, DII, 24th-ranked Cranfills Gap & Morgan advance to bi-district playoffs with big wins

After a season filled with surprises and uncertainty, there was no doubt which teams belong in the playoffs when the dust settled last week. For the second straight season, the Battle for the Bosque did not get settled until the final week for the season. And certainly, the all-Bosque County District 12-1A, Division II continued to surprise right up to the end of the 2021 Texas high school football regular season.

In a winner-takes-all showdown for second place and postseason berth, the defending district champion Morgan Eagles won their third straight with a convincing 58-22 home victory over the Walnut Springs Hornets last Thursday night. At the same time in Cranfills Gap, the Lions were putting the finishing touches on their second outright district crown in three seasons with a dominating 52-0 win over the young Iredell Dragons last Thursday night.

Now, it’s one to the postseason where Cranfills Gap Lions (7-3) will take on the Gordon Longhorns (8-2) in a Class 1A, DII Bi-District playoff game at 7 p.m. Thursday at Bob & Norma Cervetto Stadium in Dublin, while the Morgan Eagles (3-5) will face the second-ranked and undefeated Strawn Greyhounds (10-0) at 7:30 p.m. Thursday in Strawn.

MORGAN 58, WALNUT SPRINGS 22

Despite losing their first five games of the season while dealing with injuries, the Morgan Eagles will be riding a three-game winning streak into the playoffs on the strength of an impressive 58-22 victory over Walnut Springs last Thursday night in the do-or-die clash for a postseason berth.

After junior Dathen Davenport scored on the opening play from scrimmage on a 49-yard sprint down the sideline, the Eagles never trailed in the showdown. Using a balanced attack, four different Morgan players rushed for touchdowns, while four caught touchdown passes on the way to victory.

“Our kids did a great job,” Morgan head coach Edward Aviles said. “It took some time to get some things cleaned up, but you have to give Walnut credit for putting up a fighting effort. But we were able to create some turnovers we needed.”

Despite jumping out to the early lead, the Hornets continued to battle back and Morgan needed a strong second half to seal the deal. Capitalizing on four turnovers, the Eagles outscored Walnut Springs 28-8 down the stretch to pull away.

“We got down early and could never catch up,” Walnut Springs head coach Lonnie Flippen said. “Two interceptions and two fumbles in the end zone played a huge role in that. Morgan has some great athletes and executed well.”

For the Eagles, junior Kason Sims tossed two touchdown passes and ran for another, while junior Adrian Vera-Rico ran for one score and caught a pass for another to lead Morgan. Defensively, Vera-Rico led the Eagles with eight tackles, followed by senior Manuel Muniz with six.

“We were able to clean up the mistakes tonight,” Aviles said. “We messed up on some defensive responsibilities early, but we got that cleaned up. Then we started executing better on offense and took control in the second half.”

But Walnut Springs continued to battle as Bryan Chavez threw for 112 yards and two touchdowns, connecting with Jordan Ontiveros four times for 43 yards and a score, while Diego Muniz led the Hornets in rushing with 89 yards on 12 carries. Defensively, Anthony Muniz led with 12 tackles and Brenden Shumake pulled down an interception.

“I’m very proud of our kids,” Flippen said. “They never laid down and had several opportunities to do so when things didn’t go our way. Our season record doesn’t reflect the hard work that these guys put in. They are a deserving bunch, and I’m extremely proud of them.”

CRANFILLS GAP 52, IREDELL 0

With their second District 12-1A, DII title already secured, the 24th-ranked Cranfills Gap Lions roared to a dominating 52-0 win over the Iredell Dragons to secure the outright championship at home last Thursday night.

“We came out on fire and never looked back,” Cranfills Gap head coach Adam Carroll said. “I feel like we are peaking heading into the playoffs and will be in a dogfight in the playoffs with Gordon.”

Scoring on their first four plays from scrimmage, the Lions found the end zone quickly and often to put Iredell away at halftime by virtue of the 45-point mercy rule while limiting the Dragons to less than 100 yards of total offense.

Keeping the ball on the ground throughout the game, seniors Cruz Flores and Elias Marquez Peter rushed for three touchdowns each, while sophomore Blake Allen ran for two more behind the blocking by sophomore Trenton Roberson, sophomore Jonathan Rodriguez and junior Haydn Kirby.

Flores finished with 193 yards rushing on only six carries and led the Lions with 13 tackles and a fumble recovery. Defensively, Allen also came up with 13 tackles, followed by Marquez Peter and Roberson with six each.

Photos by SIMONE WICHERS-VOSS & courtesy of CRANFILLS GAP ISD

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