Several games were played on Thursday night and the game with the most surprising outcome that honestly should be all that surprising was Balmorhea’s defeat of Sterling City soundly 64-22. What a way to open up the Texas high school playoffs. Vance Jones coached and Marcos Mendoza led Bears with the upset win of a Sterling City team many picked to be a regional finalist. If you can call them a sleeper now after that win I think Balmorhea is for sure the sleeper team that might have an upset left in their tank out in DI region 2.
Staying in that region, Rankin gave Garden City fits all night in a rematch game that was much more competitive than their first meeting where the Bearkats won 54-8. This time around the Red Devils jumped out to an early 14-0 lead after the first quarter and trailed by only two at the half 16-14. The second half saw Garden City regain focus and score 55 points to Rankins 27 as the Bearkats claimed a hard fought 71-41 victory.
I told you DI region 4 would be crazy. Nueces Canyon defeated Evant 58-12, Gorman poured it on Eden to win via the mercy rule 68-20, Leakey defeated the two time DI state runner-up Jonesboro 66-30, and May took home the gold in the two team track meet at Trent defeating Robert Lee 94-88 in the craziest game of the week. There were six ties and six lead changes and the fourth quarter was just a non-stop highlight reel of players making video game moves avoiding tacklers to score. May as a team threw for 367 yards and rushed for 293 yards, Robert Lee threw for 520 yards and rushed for 187 in the contest…that’s 1,367 yards of total offense folks. Robert Lee freshman QB Julian Gamboa was 24-30 for 462 yards with 9 TD passes in the loss.
In another big DI playoff game Union Hill edged out Coolidge with a solid second half performance to win 60-41. The Bulldogs trailed 20-16 at halftime, but thanks to big performances from River Scudday (6-88, 4 TDs receiving), Brantley Murray (6-8 for 89 yards, 3 TDs passing), Keelon Caffey (30-207, 2 TDs rushing) and kicker Omar Aguillion (6/8 PATs, 1 TD rushing) who scored 18 points himself.
Fannindel picked up what many consider the only upset in the DII bracket as the beat Gordon 66-48 and advance to face Iredell, who defeated Morgan 62-0, in the second round in what we might call the battle of the Dells.
Blackwell rebounded after a very competitive first half against Sierra Blanca to ultimately win via the mercy rule 72-24 and remain undefeated on the season at 11-0. Big man Junior Guia, who is not typically a running back for the Hornets, was moved to tail back during the game and the big man was fed the ball all night as he rushed for over 200 yards and scored three touchdowns while converting all eight of his PAT kicks as well.
The Big Cats in the Blanket Tigers and Whitharral Panthers both remain undefeated on the season as the Tigers beat Panther Creek 75-30 and the Panthers defeated Southland 64-0. Both teams will face tough opponents in round two and be considered underdogs with Whitharral facing Follett and Blanket taking on Oakwood.
Oakwood had little problems with another surprising playoff team in McDade as the Panthers won 72-0. Garret Bean rushed for 190 yards and five TDs, threw a touchdown pass and recorded a safety on defense in the win. Jerimiah Sargent led the Panthers defensivly with 3 INTs, 1 returned for a TD, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery. Incidentally in the last TWO games, both that ended at halftime via the mercy rule, Oakwood has outscored their opponents 157-0.
The usual suspects in DII all won without much opposition; Strawn defeating Gold-Burg 68-0; Richland Springs defeating Brookesmith 53-6 as coach Tipton logs his first playoff win as HC; and Calvert clipped Trinidad 48-14.
Walnut Springs defeated maybe the biggest playoff surprise team in district champion Kopperl 80-54 and up next for the hornets will be #1 ranked Strawn and they will travel to Strawn to take on the Greyhounds on their home turf on Turkey Day. This will be Strawns second year hosting their own playoff game on Thanksgiving. Last year the defeated Crowell 52-0.