Stepp: UIL State Day 1 Sites and Sounds

DCTF'S HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL INSIDER TAKES A LOOK AT DAY ONE OF THE STATE CHAMPIONSHIPS
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The DCTF view of the UIL State Championships at AT&T Stadium on Thursday.

– The first full day of action at the 2016 UIL Texas State Football Championships at AT&T Stadium certainly didn’t lack for storylines or entertainment value. In the first game of the day, Roshauud Paul cemented his legacy as one of the state’s best players ever as Bremond knocked off Iraan 49-28 in a battle of unbeaten teams. Paul finishes his illustrious career at Bremond with an unblemished 47-0 record and an incredible 81 touchdowns combined on the season. Paul locked up his third straight offensive MVP effort with six total touchdowns (five rushing and one passing) and he departs Bremond for Texas A&M with three state title rings.

– Iraan, who battled a tough region and unspeakable adversity, deserves plenty of credit. The Braves kept it close for a half, but simply had no answers in the second half for Paul. The UIL and AT&T Stadium held a moment of silence for Iraan in honor of cheer sponsor Elizabeth Pope, who was killed in a car accident driving back from Iraan’s semifinal win. It was a classy move by AT&T Stadium and the UIL.

Refugio’s Diego Gonzales nailed a short field goal with eleven seconds left to lift the Bobcats to their fourth state title 23-20 over Crawford in what was easily the most physical game of the day. Junior QB Jacobe Avery led the way for the Bobcats with 198 yards of total offense and three touchdowns. His final touchdown will forever put his name in #UILState lore as he vomited on the field and then on the next play, ripped off a 17-yard touchdown run to put the Bobcats up 20-13.  Crawford, which was physically outmatched by a bigger and faster Refugio team, again battled back as Garrett Dutschmann scored on a long TD pass to tie the game up setting up Refugio’s game winning drive.

Credit to Refugio, who in the offseason scrapped their wide-open and free-wheeling spread offense for a more conservative offense and allowed their dominant defense to control games, which is what they did all year. The Bobcats lose a sensational senior class led by Jaylon Mascorro, but in Refugio the cupboard is rarely empty, and the Bobcats will remain a force in 2A Division I.

– In the third game of the night, Gunter took charge early and never looked back in a 43-7 blowout of Boling to win their first state football state title in school history. Colson Stovall led the Tigers dominating attack with 236 rushing yards and four touchdowns.

Gunter’s spread option pistol offense was sensational as the playoffs wore on, and a part of that success was simply experience. It was an offense the Tigers installed this offseason and by year end, the Tigers were nearly unstoppable.

– The finale featured Mineola and their incredibly efficient rushing offense, led by QB Jeremiah Crawford and his 276 rushing yards, rolling past Yoakum 35-14 to win the ‘Jackets their first-ever state title.  The duo of Crawford and Chantz Perkins were key contributors to Mineola’s run to the 2014 title game and they gained some redemption after a poor performance on the big stage.

Mineola has been playing football since 1910 and this was their first ever state title and just their second title game appearance, with the first being in 2014.

– The attendance on the first full day of action was certainly impressive. In fact, after one day the 2016 state title games are ahead of the record pace set in 2014. The four-game average on the day was 15,529 fans led by Mineola and Yoakum’s crowd of 20,334. Through four games in 2014, the average crowd was 12,188. It’s likely the record pace won’t last as massive crowds aren’t anticipated for the 6A games. However, the total attendance from last year’s games in Houston could be surpassed by the final game on Friday night.

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Matt Stepp is the Texas High School Football Inside for Dave Campbell’s Texas Football. Find him on Twitter: @Matt_Stepp817.

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