After two and half-hour delay, Walnut Springs Hornets shock defending champion Cranfills Gap Lions in District 12-1A, DII opener; Morgan opens District 10-1A, DII with convincing win over Bynum
With five Bosque County six-man teams opening their respective 2022 Texas high school football district competitions in two leagues last Friday night, the Walnut Springs Hornets produced the biggest surprise with a shocking 56-52 upset of defending district champion Cranfills Gap in District 12-1A, Division II.
On the other hand, the Morgan Eagles drew first blood in District 10-1A, DII with a convincing 49-22 victory over pre-season favorite Bynum, while the young Kopperl Eagles came up short, 54-40, at home against Mount Calm.
WALNUT SPRINGS 56, CRANFILLS GAP 52
In a game that started two and a half hours later than originally scheduled, the wait proved to be well worth it as the Walnut Springs Hornets shocked the Cranfills Gap Hornets, 56-52, in a wild and hard-fought District 12-1A, DII opener last Friday night.
Junior Diego Muniz ran for four touchdowns and sophomore Josue Ontiveros tossed three scoring passes to lead the dramatic win for the Hornets (1-0 in district, 4-4 overall).
“In what was one of the most unusual games we’ve ever played, our young Hornets played what was undoubtedly their best game of the year as a team against a great team from the Gap,” Walnut Springs head coach Lonnie Flippen said. “We may have gelled as a team at the right time with only two district games left on our schedule. The game was one of the most physical games that the Hornets had played the entire season.”
Scheduled to start at 7 p.m., teams arrived in Walnut Springs, but officials had not been assigned. After contacting the UIL and the officials, both teams mutually agreed upon to play the game following the Iredell-Bluff Dale game with the officials from that game. The district opening showdown finally kicked off at 9:30 p.m.
After jumping out to an early lead and holding a 30-28 advantage at half, the Hornets trailed 38-36 at the end of the third quarter. But Walnut Springs scored 20 fourth quarter points and held off the late efforts from Cranfills Gap (0-1, 5-3) for the win. Defensively for Walnut Springs, Lamb led with 13 tackles followed by junior Adrian Chavez and Muniz with nine each.
Leading the Hornet offensive attack, Ontiveros completed 14 of 19 passes for 171 yards, connecting with sophomore Jesse Lamb five times for 86 yards and a score, while Muniz led the Hornets with 133 yards rushing.
“Overall, it was a tough loss for us,” Cranfills Gap head coach Rodie Johnston said. “I was very proud of the way the boys fought all night. They gave us a chance to win it at the end, but we fell short. I thought both teams showed up to play despite having to sit at the field for nearly three hours before the game could start.”
Senior Aiden Doty tossed two touchdown passes and sophomore Logan Viss ran for two scores in the losing effort. Junior Blake Allen rushed for a game-high 160 yards and a touchdown, Viss finished with 101 rushing yards, and Doty completed seven of 15 passes for 117 yards, connecting with senior Haydn Kirby three times for 32 yards and a score. Allen and Viss led the Lions defensively with 10 tackles each.
Hoping to secure a playoff berth for the first time in two years, Walnut Springs will host the Iredell Dragons at 7 p.m. Friday.
“Our guys are well aware of what the Iredell game means as a win puts us in the playoffs,” Flippen said. “We certainly are not looking past the Dragons. They have a great young team with a ton of speed and quickness. We will have to play together as a team to be able to stop the Dragons.”
MORGAN 49, BYNUM 22
Sophomore EJ Aviles ran for three touchdowns and threw for two more scores as the Morgan Eagles opened District 10-1A, DII play with an impressive 49-22 road victory over the pre-season favorite Bynum Bulldogs last Friday night.
“Overall, it was great to get the job done against a tough running team like Bynum,” Morgan head coach Eduardo Aviles said. “They came right at us, and we were able to be in position to slow them down and eventually make some stops throughout the game.”
After grabbing an early 6-0 lead, the Eagles (1-0 in district, 5-3 overall) scored 19 second quarter points against Bynum (0-1, 2-6) as senior Adrian Vera-Rico scored on a 24-yard run before Aviles tossed touchdown passes to senior Kason Sims and junior Mark Garcia. Garcia also threw touchdown passes to Vera-Rico and senior Keylan Watts.
Aviles completed eight of 16 passes for 131 yards and rushed for 176 yards on 14 carries, and Vera-Rico added 69 rushing yards while catching four passes for 41 yards.
“Offensively, we dropped a couple of touchdowns in the endzones and on fourth down situations that left about three touchdowns on the field,” Aviles said. “We had a very tough wind that was either with you, against you, or blowing across the field. This made it really tough for our throwers and receivers to get our timing down.
“We depended on the run to keep the sticks moving. Overall, we made adjustments and cleaned up some of our issues to start taking over the game.”
Defensively, Aviles and Vera-Rico led the Eagles with 10 tackles each, followed by Sims with nine and Garcia with seven tackles and an interception. Morgan also recovered five fumbles, led by Vera-Rico with two while Aviles, Watts and freshman Adrian Alonzo with one each.
“The defense really stepped up and made some great plays throughout the game,” Aviles said. “We forced three fumbles, recovered five fumbles and intercepted the ball right before the half to stop them from scoring. We will stress our special teams this week since we didn’t make one kick.”
BLUFF DALE 50, IREDELL 12
In what began as an unprecedented defensive struggle for six-man football, the Bluff Dale Bobcats went wild in the second half and ran away with a convincing 50-12 victory over the Iredell Dragons in a District 12-1A, DII opener last Friday night.
Although Bluff Dale only managed to take a 6-0 before halftime, the Bobcats (1-0 in district, 7-1 overall) came out and scored two quick touchdowns to build a 21-0 lead early in the third quarter. Iredell responded when freshman Jordan Gutierrez broke off a 23-yard touchdown run, but Bluff Dale answered with 22 unanswered points to take control of the game.
Senior Preston Robinson connected with freshman Cole Heutzenroeder on a 27-yard scoring strike in the fourth quarter for Iredell (0-1, 3-5), but it was too little, too late.
“Definitely not the scoring output we were looking for,” Iredell head coach Luis Guereca said. “The defense kept us in there into the third quarter. But unfortunately, we couldn’t keep up in scoring. Effort was great by our team, but we are just going to need to get back to the basics and prepare for a tough Walnut Springs team.”
MOUNT CALM 54, KOPPERL 40
Sophomore Christian Falk tossed four touchdown passes and sophomore Anthony Johnson scored three times, but it wasn’t enough as the young Kopperl Eagles fell to the Mount Calm Panthers, 54-40, in a District 10-1A, DII opener last Friday night.
“Our boys are learning on the fly,” Kopperl first-year head coach Darrell Wallace said. “They have come really far this season, but we just let this one slip away from us. It was a tough loss, but we will recover and get ready to play Morgan.”
Falk passed for 212 yards while Johnson rushed for 103 yards and two touchdowns along with four receptions for 29 yards and a score. Sophomore Aerean Patterson led the Eagles with five catches for 85 yards and two touchdowns, sophomore Hunter Johnson caught another scoring strike, and sophomore Isaac Payen rushed for a score as the Eagles rolled up 438 yards of total offense.
Defensively, Johnson led Kopperl with 12 tackles, followed by Falk with 10 and freshman Noah Hobbs with seven.
Photos by SIMONE WICHERS-VOSS & WENDY OROZCO
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