McLean 100, Milford 70: 2018 1A DI Texas high school football championship recap

McLean's Ben Crockett. Photo by Zac Byrd.

Crockett sets state record as McLean outlasts Milford

In the first half of Wednesday afternoon’s Class 1A Division I state championship game, McLean leaned on the big-play ability of Ben Crockett to power the Tigers’ offensive attack against Milford. 

Crockett, who entered the game with 2,383 rushing yards and 50 touchdowns this season, continued to shoulder the load with the state championship game on the line. He accounted for five touchdowns in the first 20 minutes of play, giving the Tigers an 8-point lead at the break. 

But Crockett’s most important play came midway through the third quarter. Milford had a chance to come up with a sack on second and long, and even began to drag Crockett down while the ball was still in his possession. 

Instead of taking the sack, Crockett somehow managed to toss the ball to a nearby Cayden Mann, who made a couple of defenders miss before breaking away for a 47-yard touchdown. 

The unlikely score gave the Tigers the second-half cushion they needed as the team began to pull away for an exciting 100-70 win. 

“I didn’t see anybody and I saw three or four white jerseys all over me,” Crockett said. “I finally saw Cayden over there and threw him the ball hoping he’d make a play out of it. He took off and made three or four guys miss. [It was] big time. That was almost a negative play – a pretty big one – and we turned it into a touchdown.”

Crockett finished the game with a game-high 377 yards rushing and nine touchdowns – a new UIL state championship game record – while adding 81 yards and three scores through the air to outduel Milford’s TaRon Smith, who accounted for 294 total yards and seven touchdowns. Crockett and Smith accounted for all nine first half touchdowns, and Smith’s 28-yard TD pass to Damyan Woodward tied the game at 40-40 barely a minute into the third quarter. 

The Tigers went on to outscore the Bulldogs 60-38 in the second half as Crockett put the game out of reach, but Milford’s offensive effort reinforced just how good the Bulldogs’ have been on that side of the ball this season. 

McLean entered the game with the top statistical defense in all of Class 1A allowing an average of just 10 points per game, and only Garden City (34) and Aspermont (38) had scored more than 18 points against the Tigers’ his season. 

“We had a few different calls for everything they did and not very many of them worked very well, obviously,” McLean coach Clinton Linman said. “Credit to those guys. They were really good. I thought he [Smith] was so smart, seeing what we ran pre-snap and knowing how to attack it no matter what the play was. I thought that was pretty special.”

Milford scored on five of its six offensive possessions in the first half, but the McLean defense got a stop on two of the Bulldogs’ first five drives of the second half. Bradley Hannon hauled in an important interception that led to the wild touchdown pass from Crockett to Mann, and the Tigers later forced a turnover on downs with 9:22 remaining in the fourth to set up a 39-yard TD run from Crockett. 

Ben Crockett's 10th touchdown

Those stops proved to be the difference in the game as McLean scored on 13 of its 14 possessions and wore the Bulldogs down in the second half. The only drive that didn’t result in a Tigers’ touchdown was cut short by the completion of the second quarter. 

“Those were the key to the game right there,” McLean senior Chism Henderson said. “If we wouldn’t have gotten those stops, we would have gone back and forth. We came out and got a couple stops early and then it was back and forth so those were very key.

“We came out here and wanted to win, and that’s what we did. It feels good. We got to control our ending and I’m happy about that.”

— Brady Keane

VIDEO RECAP

Milford's Smith dazzles in a valiant losing effort

While watching McLean’s Ben Crockett run wild to the tune of 458 total yards and 12 touchdowns in Wednesday’s Class 1A Division I state championship game, Milford coach Ronny Crumpton had his own star trying his best to keep the Bulldogs in a game which they entered as decided underdogs.

While Milford and star senior TaRon Smith came up on the losing end of a three-and-a-half hour shootout at AT&T Stadium, it wasn’t without some highlight-reel, video game-like plays from the Milford quarterback.

Milford's Taron Smith. Photo by Zac Byrd.

When the game was over, Smith had completed 60 percent of his pass attempts for 178 yards and five touchdowns and rushed for 116 yards and two more touchdowns, and in the process given a dominant McLean squad all it wanted and then some.

“He’s good. He’s real good,” McLean coach Clinton Linman said after watching Milford almost double the previous season-high for points allowed for his team (38) by scoring 70 points. “He’s so quick laterally and so explosive, and then he’s also really smart. He just makes decisions quick and makes the right decision quick. He was the toughest kid we’ve seen all year, by far. His teammates helped him out, too, but man, I was very impressed with that kid.”

Crumpton said he knew what his team was facing in unbeaten McLean, which entered the game with seven shutouts to its credit and allowing an average of just 9.6 points per game – an out-of-this-world number in the 1A realm.

TaRon Smith touchdown

But he also felt good about what his offense could do, and Smith was a big part of that confidence.

“I thought we could wear them down some, chasing us around,” Crumpton said. “We’re pretty good offensively. TaRon did a good job back there. …I feel for him. He puts a lot into it – a lot of thought into it.”

On the other side, Crockett rushed for a UIL state championship record nine touchdowns with 377 yards on the ground. He also threw three touchdown passes on three completions.

And the McLean junior knew he had to do everything in his power to combat the star on the other sideline.

“Whenever I got the ball, I felt like I needed to score because I knew they could drive down the field and score in two or three plays,” Crockett said. “We had to answer as fast as we could and try to slow him down.”

-- Adam Boedeker

BOX SCORE

McLean 100, Milford 70

Milford

16

16

16

22

-

70

McLean

24

16

16

44

-

100

Scoring Summary

1st Qtr. 9:13

McLean – Ben Crockett 47-yard run (Jackson Rainer kick)

McLean 8, Milford 0

 

1st Qtr. 5:18

McLean – Crockett 25-yard run (Rainer kick)

McLean 16, Milford 0

 

1st Qtr. 3:29

Milford – TaRon Smith 3-yard run (Luis Muniz kick)

McLean 16, Milford 8

 

1st Qtr. 2:04 

McLean – Crockett 17-yard run (Rainer kick)

McLean 24, Milford 8

 

1st Qtr. 0:40 

Milford – Damyan Woodward 2-yard pass from Smith (Muniz kick)

McLean 24, Milford 16

 

2nd Qtr. 7:20

McLean – Crockett 7-yard run (Rainer kick)

McLean 32, Milford 16

 

2nd Qtr. 4:22

Milford – TaRon Smith 43-yard run (Muniz kick)

McLean 32, Milford 24

 

2nd Qtr. 2:15 

McLean – Dalton Abshire 30-yard pass from Crockett (Rainer kick) 

McLean 40, Milford 24

 

2nd Qtr. 0:52

Milford – JaSean Brooks 2-yard pass from Smith (Muniz kick)

McLean 40, Milford 32

 

3rd Qtr. 8:59

Milford – Woodward 28-yard pass from Smith (Muniz kick)

McLean 40, Milford 40

 

3rd Qtr. 6:26

McLean – Chism Henderson 42-yard pass from Cayden Mann (Rainer kick)

McLean 48, Milford 40

 

3rd Qtr. 5:40 

McLean – Mann 46-yard pass from Crockett (Rainer kick) 

McLean 56, Milford 40

 

3rd Qtr. 1:50

Milford – Ricky Pendleton 12-yard pass from Smith (Muniz kick)

McLean 56, Milford 48

 

4th Qtr. 9:53

McLean – Kater Tate 5-yard pass from Crockett (Rainer kick)

McLean 64, Milford 48

 

4th Qtr. 9:12

McLean – Crockett 39-yard run (Rainer kick)

McLean 72, Milford 48

 

4th Qtr. 7:42 

Milford – Ricky Pendleton 5-yard run (Muniz kick)

McLean 72, Milford 56

 

4th Qtr. 6:06 

McLean – Crockett 5-yard run (Rainer kick)

McLean 80, Milford 56

 

4th Qtr. 5:08

Milford – Woodward 51-yard pass from Corbin Schrotke (Kick blocked) 

McLean 80, Milford 62

 

4th Qtr. 3:07

McLean – Crockett 6-yard run (Kick failed) 

McLean 86, Milford 62

 

4th Qtr. 2:17 

McLean – Crockett 46-yard run (Rainer kick)

McLean 94, Milford 62

 

4th Qtr. 2:06 

Milford – Pendleton 59-yard pass from Smith (Muniz kick)

McLean 94, Milford 70

 

4th Qtr. 0:56

McLean – Crockett 57-yard run (Kick blocked)

McLean 100, Milford 70

 

Team Stats

 

Milford

McLean

First downs

16

19

Rushing yards

24 – 192 

37 – 400

Passing yards

270

262

Passing

20-34-1

13-17-0

Punts – Avg.

Penalties – Yards 

7 – 50

5 – 44 

Fumbles – Lost 

4 – 1 

0 – 0 

Third-Down Conversions 

3-of-9

9-of-11

Possession Time

20:08

19:52

McLean Individual Leaders

Rushing – Ben Crockett 35-377, Cayden Mann 2-23. 

Passing – Cayden Mann 10-13-0-181, Ben Crockett 3-4-0-81. 

Receiving – Kater Tate 5-63, Chishm Henderson 3-59, Cayden Mann 1-46, Jacob Watson 1-37, Dalton Abshire 1-30, Bradley Hannon 1-25, Ben Crockett 1-2. 

Milford Individual Leaders

Rushing –TaRon Smith 19-116, Ricky Pendleton 4-71, Corbin Schrotke 1-5. 

Passing – TaRon Smith 15-25-1-178, Corbin Schrotke 4-7-0-61, Damyan Woodward 1-1-0-31, Ricky Pendleton 0-1-0-0. 

Receiving – Damyan Woodward 6-131, Ricky Pendleton 5-102, Corbin Schrotke 5-(-4), Tyvon Gates 2-29, JaSean Brooks 2-12. 

PRESS CONFERENCE

 

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