With a key injury hitting early, Cranfills Gap falls to 12th-ranked Gordon in Class 1A, DII Bi-District matchup; top-ranked Strawn eliminates Morgan
DUBLIN – Riding high from capturing their second all-Bosque County District 12-1A, Division II title in three seasons, the 24th-ranked Cranfills Gap Lions hoped to catch the 12th-ranked Gordon Longhorns still suffering from their regular season finale loss to the top-ranked Strawn Greyhounds in the District 11-1A, DII championship game.
But the Longhorns were having none of that as Gordon stormed to a score on its opening possession and never looked back on the way to an impressive 68-20 victory over Cranfills Gap in a Bi-District playoff matchup last Thursday night at Bob & Norma Cervetto Field in Dublin.
“Having that game last week, and all of the energy and effort that were put into that, it’s always a nervous feeling coming out of that whether we’re going to have a letdown, or where our mindset is going to be,” said Gordon head coach Mike Reed after the Longhorns fell 83-38 to Strawn. “But our kids were extremely excited to get back on the field, move past that and take it game by game.”
Gordon senior Hoss Rouse scored four touchdowns, sophomore Whit Fuller passed for two scores, senior Drake Dickehut hauled in a touchdown pass and ran for another, while senior Morgan Mahan returned two kickoffs for scores to lead Gordon (9-2) in the rout that ended with 0:00 remaining in the third quarter by virtue of the 45-point mercy rule.
After losing senior running back Cruz Flores to a knee injury on the second possession of the game, the Lions (7-4) found their prolific running game bottled up even though sophomore Blake Allen ran for two touchdowns while senior Elias Marquez Peter finished with 62 rushing yards on 10 carries and returned a kickoff for a score.
“I was proud of the effort, even after one of our leaders in Flores went out,” Cranfill Gap head coach Adam Carroll said. “I believe it was a very successful season and look forward to next season with our underclassmen. But our seniors Trenton Roberson, Cruz Flores, Elias Marquez Peter and Barzu Latifov and the leadership they provided will be missed.”
With Flores out of the game, Cranfills Gap turned primarily to its passing game as Aiden Doty completed 16 of 28 passes for 248 yards. Junior Case Koehler led the Lions with four receptions for 106 yards, followed by Allen with three catches for 52, junior Haydn Kirby pulling down two for 48, senior Trenton Roberson hauling in three for 40, and Marquez Peter collecting four for 22.
“Changing the dynamic of Flores being out, we had to adjust a bit when we saw where they wanted to go with the football,” Reed said. “We thought Doty did an excellent job for them being able to play multiple positions, and Marques Peter did a great job of stepping in. Their line is really pretty good, and it’s anchored with a really good center. So early on, we had to make some adjustments off of that.”
Unfortunately for Cranfills Gap, the Longhorn offensive attack stampeded through the Lions the entire game, needing only 22 plays from scrimmage to produce 429 total yards and seven touchdowns while scoring two more times on kickoff returns. Defensively, the Lions were led by Allen with six tackles, followed by Doty, Kirby and Marquez Peter with four each.
“They’re an extremely well-coached team, and been to the playoffs before,” Reed said. “When we get the Cranfills Gap Lions, we know they are coming ready to play. So hats off to them for putting together a good game plan and giving us as much effort as they could.”
STRAWN 72, MORGAN 7
Looking every bit like the Class 1A, Division II’s top-ranked team, the Strawn Greyhounds made quick work of the Morgan Eagles, 72-7, last Thursday night in Strawn, ending the game at halftime by virtue of the 45-point mercy rule.
“It was not a good finish,” Morgan head coach Edward Aviles said. “The game pretty much displayed this past season as a whole. We came in with a good plan, but failed to execute it. But I was proud of the way the inexperienced players stepped in and tried to do something. But by then, it was too late.”
Photos by SIMONE WICHERS-VOSS
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