Rising Out Of The Ashes: After opening the season with disappointing losses, Class 1A, DII Iredell Dragons, Cranfills Gap Lions post convincing back-to-back victories; Kopperl Eagles fall from the undefeated ranks
Offering a mixture of dominating and disappointing performances, Bosque County six-man football action featured back-to-back big wins for the Iredell Dragons and the Cranfills Gap Lions, the surprising Kopperl Eagles were knocked from the undefeated ranks, the Walnut Springs Hornets went down for the second straight week, and the Morgan Eagles stayed home due to a cancelled contest.
IREDELL 71, MULLIN 12
Jumping out to a commanding 44-0 first quarter lead, the Iredell Dragons burned the Mullin Bulldogs, 71-12, at home Friday night, ending the game at halftime by virtue of the 45-point mercy rule.
Senior Conner Sweat tossed two touchdown passes, sophomore Cole Heutzenroder ran for two scores, and sophomore Adan Aguilar-Diaz scored twice to lead Iredell (2-1) to the dominating victory.
“Consistency was evident in this game,” Iredell football head coach Luis Guereca said. “Our guys did a great job in all three phases of the game.”
Sweat connected with sophomore Caleb Garland on a 49-yard scoring strike then followed with another touchdown pass to sophomore Caden Sweat from 17 yards out to begin Iredell’s run of 58 unanswered points to open the game. Putting their ground game to work, the Dragons scored five straight times, led by Heutzenroder, to build a 50-0 advantage early in the second quarter.
Then, the Iredell defense got on the scoreboard by scoring twice on fumble recoveries while Diaz ripped of a 50-yard kickoff for a touchdown to get all three phases of the game involved in the scoring.
“Our defense did great, and the Dragon offense was able to block well to give our runners plenty of room to run,” Guereca said. “Special teams kept making great plays to help us have a big win over Mullin.”
Defensively, Heutzenroder led the Dragons with nine tackles, followed by Garland with seven and Caden Sweat with five takedowns, an interception and a fumble recovery.
CRANFILLS GAP 55, THREE WAY 6
Senior Adan Flores scored four touchdowns and senior Blake Allen added two more scores as the Cranfills Gap Lions won their second straight game by overwhelming the Three Way Braves, 55-6, on the road last Friday night.
“It was a great team effort and win for us,” Cranfills Gap football head coach Adrian Benitez said. “Offensively, our blocking is getting better. And defensively, everyone is flying to the ball and doing their job. We had some young guys step up, which was huge for us.
“You can tell we’re slowly getting to where we need to be. We have a tough stretch of games coming up for us. But I’m excited for them and ready to see where we’re at as a team.”
Spreading the ground game duties around, freshman Gage Aaron led the Lions (2-1) with 89 yards rushing, followed by Allen with 78 yards and Flores 57 yards on only five carries, three going for scores. Sophomore Diego Rodriguez completing three of five passes for 43 yards, connecting with Flores on an eight-yard scoring strike.
“Our offense really showed how many weapons we have and that we can be very versatile with whoever has the ball in their hands,” Cranfills Gap athletic director Josh Raulston said. “Our defense was strong, with a few players stepping up and making big plays. Still some subtle mistakes with our depth, but we are growing and improving each week.”
Defensively, senior Jonathan Rodriguez led Iredell with 11 tackles, followed by freshman Michael Green with 10 tackles and a blocked punt, Aaron with seven tackle and an interception return for a touchdown, as well as Allen with seven takedowns.
LINGLEVILLE 54, KOPPERL 52
Despite a dramatic second half comeback, the previously undefeated Kopperl Eagles fell short as the Lingleville Cardinals bounced back for a 54-52 victory last Friday night.
“It was a heartbreaker for sure,” Kopperl first-year head coach Ken Davis said. “Coming back to take the lead with a minute and a half to go only to watch it slip away will make or break us. We will see how they respond this week against Evant.”
With Christian Falk running for four touchdowns and throwing for another, the Eagles came back from a 28-6 first quarter deficit to build a 52-40 lead with a minute left in the game only to watch it slip away.
“We had a great night offensively,” Davis said. “The only time we were stopped was when we stopped ourselves. Three fumbles and a dropped touchdown pass on fourth down doesn’t help much. But when you can still score 52 points, you should win the game.”
Falk rushed 18 times for 220 yards while completing six passes for 112 yards, connecting with Anthony Johnson three times for 71 yards and a scoring strike. Bearon Brinkley only carried three times, but scored on runs of 32 and one yard.
Defensively, Falk led Kopperl with 14 tackles, followed by Johnson 11 tackles, 3 for a loss, a fumble recovery and a sack, while Brinkley collected six takedowns.
“There are a lot of things we need to work on defensively, and I have identified some easy fixes that should make us better,” Davis said. “The guys could have given up after falling behind early, but I never heard any of them throw in the towel. I think it affected them in a way that I never saw last year, and I’m confident we are going to have a bounce back week.”
STEPHENVILLE FAITH 48, WALNUT SPRINGS 0
Unable to mount much of an offensive attack, the Walnut Springs Hornets could not stop one of the best running backs in the state as Stephenville Faith walked away with a commanding 48-0 victory last Friday night. Unfortunately for the Hornets, junior Josue Ontiveros went down with a broken ankle in the first quarter after losing senior Diego Muniz to injury in the season opener.
“Stephenville Faith is loaded with talent,” Walnut Springs head coach Lonnie Flippen said. They have one of the better running backs probably in the state. It’s difficult to stay on the same field with a great team when your two-way starter at quarterback and safety breaks an ankle on the first offensive play of the game. But that’s the way things happen that you have no control over.”
With freshman D’Marcus García and sophomore Jesus Rodriguez unexpectedly filling in, the Hornets struggled to move the ball, finishing with only 103 yards of total offense.
“Both of those young men played as well as can be expected after being called upon to lead the team,” Flippen said. “I applaud their efforts, but both will have to grow up real quickly for us to have any success in the next few weeks. They are both talented athletes, but their experience is very limited.”
Defensively, junior Deegan Murrah led the Hornets with five tackles, followed by senior Adrian Chavez with two.
“We’re sort of shell shocked right now and will have to pull things together quickly,” Flippen said. “You don’t replace a Muniz and Ontiveros overnight. So our three seniors need to step up and accept the responsibility of putting this young team on their shoulders.
“We catch the Texas Wind team out of Waco this week at home. We know nothing about this group of homeschool kids this year. But we did see them in a scrimmage last year, and they were a very athletic group of young men.”
Photos by SIMONE WICHERS-VOSS
©2023 Southern Cross Creative, LLP. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.