Texas High School Football Postseason Round 4: Led by state-ranked Stephenville, China Spring, Lorena, West, Crawford & Mart, Heart of Texas playoff field shrinks to six teams left standing
Despite entering the Regional Semifinal round with 10 teams from the Heart of Texas region still alive in the Class 4A, 3A & 2A, only six remain standing in the Texas High School 11-man football postseason brackets.
Heading into the playoffs as the Class 4A, Division I’s top-ranked team, the Stephenville Yellowjackets (13-0) remained undefeated with a hard-fought 21-17 victory over Argyle to set up a state quarterfinal showdown with Melissa (11-2) at 7:30 p.m. Friday in Bedford’s Pennington Field.
Class 4A, DII Region 3 Semifinal: NO. 5 CHINA SPRING 27, NO. 1 CARTHAGE 17
Dethroning two-time defending Class 4A, Division II state champion and top-ranked Carthage, the fifth-ranked China Spring Cougars shut down the potent Bulldogs for a surprising 27-17 victory last Friday night at Prosper ISD Children’s Health Stadium.
By remaining undefeated and snapping Carthage’s 41-game win streak, China Spring (13-0) advances to the state quarterfinals to face West Orange-Stark (11-1) at 7 p.m. Friday in Tomball.
Class 3A, DI Region 2 Semifinal: No. 4 West 14, No. 10 Malakoff 12
Needing all the defense they could muster, the Class 3A, DI’s fourth-ranked West Trojans held off a strong challenge from 10th-ranked Malakoff to secure a clutch 14-12 victory last Friday afternoon in the at Mesquite’s Hanby Stadium.
After surviving another round, the Trojans (13-0) will face Mount Vernon (13-0) in the state quarterfinals at 7 p.m. Friday in Ford Center at The Star in Frisco.
Reaching the fourth round of the playoffs for the first time since 1980, West limited Malakoff (9-4) to less than 200 yards for total offense after coming into the game averaging more than 30 points per game in the postseason.
Despite trailing 6-0 before halftime, Trojan quarterback Gus Crain tossed a swing pass to Wyatt Wolf that turned into a 63-yard touchdown pass-and-run for the fourth quarter game-winner. TJ McCutcheon gave West its first lead of the game just before intermission on a 19-yard touchdown run followed by placekicker Brock Klander’s extra point.
Class 3A, DI Region 3 Semifinal: No. 5 LORENA 62, No. 6 COLUMBUS 13
Keeping an 11-game winning streak alive, the Class 3A, DI’s fifth-ranked Lorena Leopards crushed sixth-ranked Columbus, 62-13, in a Region 3 semifinal matchup last Friday night at Bobcat Stadium in San Marcos.
With the resounding victory, the Leopards (11-2) advance to the state quarterfinals to Diboll (10-3) at 7 p.m. Friday in Bryan.
Lorena quarterback Ryne Abel threw for 308 yards and five touchdowns, connecting with Jadon Porter three times, while Rhett Hanson led the Leopard rushing attack with 113 yards and two scores. Porter finished with a game-high with seven catches for 206 yards.
Class 2A, DI Region 2 Semifinal: No. 4 CRAWFORD 20, ITALY 13
Despite trailing 13-6 early in the fourth quarter, Class 2A, DI’s fourth-ranked Crawford Pirates overcame key injuries to rally for a dramatic 20-13 come-from-behind victory over the Italy Gladiators last Friday in Alvarado’s Charles Head Stadium.
Advancing to the state quarterfinals, Crawford (13-0) will face Marlin (10-3) at 7 p.m Friday at Tiger Field in Belton.
Pirate quarterback Ethan Althoff tossed a 30-yard touchdown pass to Trey Dobie in the corner of the end zone to tie the game before Colt Murphree cashed in from six yards out for the game-winner.
Class 2A, DI Region 2 Semifinal: MARLIN 52, TOLAR 36
With two surprise teams squaring off, something had to give. Using a barrage of big plays, the Marlin Bulldogs bounded past the Tolar Rattlers, 52-36, last Friday at Alvarado’s Charles Head.
Advancing to the fourth round for the first time since 2004, Marlin (10-3) will face fourth-ranked and undefeated Crawford (13-0) in the state quarterfinals at 7 p.m Friday at Tiger Field in Belton.
Bulldog quarterback Desmond Woodson fired six touchdown passes, connecting on the last four Trajon Butler after tossing two scores each to Derion Gullette and Zha’mauryon.
Class 2A, DII Region 3 Semifinal: No. 1 MART 55, WORTHAM 7
By shutting out Wortham until 16 seconds remaining in the game, Class 2A, DII’s top-ranked Mart Panthers totally dominated the Bulldogs, 55-7, last Friday afternoon at Mexia’s Blackcat Field.
Mart (13-0) advances to the state quarterfinals to face District 10-2A, DII counterpart Chilton (11-1) at 7 p.m. Friday in Midway.
Playing in the third round of the playoffs for the first time since 2000, Wortham (7-6) managed to avoid the shutout after being outscored by Mart, 237-0, over the previous four meetings. In fact, the Bulldogs have not defeated the Panthers since 1928.
Mart quarterback Trey Powell completed nine of 13 passes for 160 yards and two touchdowns while running back Klyderion Campbell rushed for a game-high 108 yards on just three carries and a third quarter score.
Class 2A, DII Region 3 Semifinal: CHILTON 40, BREMOND 14
Earning a rematch with top-ranked Mart, the Chilton Pirates used a diversified attack to ran away with an overwhelming 40-14 victory over the Bremond Tigers last Friday night at Waco ISD Stadium.
With four different Clifton players scoring while piling up 310 yards on the ground, Luis Fernandez ran for two touchdowns while Jamoryon Benjamin ran for a score and caught a touchdown pass from Daylon Ford.
The Pirates (11-1) will face District 10-2A, DII rival Mart for the second time this season Friday at 7 p.m. at Midway’s Panther Stadium after suffering their only loss of the season in convincing fashion as the Panthers rolled to a 56-6 win Oct. 8.
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.
Photos by SIMONE WICHERS-VOSS
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