The Follow-Through: the return of the big dogs

By Gordon DeLoach

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In honor of the beginning of the season for the state’s 5A and 6A schools, here are six notables from last weekend’s action.

Step up, Stephenville

Riding a three-game losing streak during which it had allowed an average of 55 points per game, few gave Stephenville much of a chance when it travelled to Dumas, the No. 3 ranked team in 4A, Division 1. In fact, DCTF’s computer pegged Dumas as a 12-point favorite. Behind Gavin Rountree’s 6-touchdown performance, the Yellow Jackets posted one of the state’s biggest upsets, topping the Demons 46-33. Roundtree threw for 291 yards and 4 TDs, including a 96-yarder to Trace Morrison. He added another 81 yards and 2 TDs on the ground. For good measure, Stephenville’s defense sacked Dumas quarterback Spencer Williams six times. Quite the tune-up for this weekend’s game with arch-rival Brownwood.

Return of the big dogs

The top ranked teams in the state’s largest classifications didn’t disappoint in their much-anticipated openers. Galena Park North Shore, the two-time defending 6A, Division I champions, won an intriguing game against 6A newcomer and 2019 5A, Division I state champion Shadow Creek. Behind two interceptions from all-state defensive back Denver Harris, North Shore topped Shadow Creek 38-21. It’s Shadow Creek’s first-ever regular season loss. Harris’ 95-yard pick six gave the Mustangs a 21-14 halftime lead and North Shore opened up a comfortable lead in the second half. As part of Texas Football Days, 5A, Division 1’s top ranked Denton Ryan opened its season with a 47-24 win over 6A No. 11 Arlington Martin 47-24. Ryan’s Ja’Tavion Sanders caught two touchdown passes on offense and returned a one-handed interception for another score to overwhelm the Warriors. Ryan led 21-0 at the half. In 5A, Division 2, top ranked Ennis looked every bit the part, scoring every which way in a 52-21 win at sixth-ranked Red Oak. Collin Drake kept the Lions’ offense roaring. He generated 265 of the team’s 602 yards of offense. De’ivian Johnson and Devion Beasley both rushed for more than 130 yards and averaged better than 12 yards per carry.

Roping wins

Last year, Ropes advanced to the Area round of the 1A playoffs. This year, the Eagles flew into the 11-man ranks and have found the adjustment easier than many expected. Ropes dropped its season opener but has responded with three consecutive wins following a 22-0 win over Tahoka. In the current three-game win streak, Ropes has outscored its opponents 116-6.

Poth continues to leave no doubt in early win streak

With all due respect to the season opening offensive outbursts by Richmond Foster (a 79-7 win over Lamar Consolidated) and West Orange Stark (a 70-0 win over Newton), has anyone been as consistently dominating so far as 3A, Division 2 Poth? Ranked 20th to start the season, the Pirates have climbed all the way to No. 6 by smothering opponents. Following last week’s 54-0 win over Stockdale, the Pirates have outscored their five opponents 302-14. Poth reached the regional semifinals in 2019 and is looking for more in 2020.

Rockwall ISD offensive explosion

Rockwall ISD officials may want to keep an extra supply of scoreboard lights on hand at Wilkerson-Sanders Memorial Stadium. If the opening week’s scores are any indication, the stadium scoreboard will be busy. Despite losing Jaxon Smith-Njigba to Ohio State, Rockwall continued to find the end zone, outscoring Denton Braswell 59-40. Braedyn Locke passed for 424 yards and accounted for six scores to lead the Jackets. Not to be outdone, Rockwall-Heath topped Lewisville 72-52. Josh Hoover passed for 332 yards and four touchdowns and Zach Evans and Preston Landis teamed up for 210 yards and four scores on the ground.

If it’s not broke, don’t…throw…it

In a run to the 6A, Division 2 regional final last year, Amarillo Tascosa attempted a grand total of 51 passes over 14 games, less than 4 per game. In Friday’s 2020 opener, this year playing in 5A, Division 1, the Rebels stuck to their brand. In a 26-20 win over Abilene High, Tascosa attempted just four passes. Ryan Barnett did throw a 22-yard touchdown pass to Major Everhart, but he also threw an interception that set up an Eagles’ score. The mixed results won’t convince Tascosa coach Ken Plunk to call more passes. The Rebels ran the ball 63 times for 454 yards in the win. Last year Tascosa averaged 396 yards rushing per game.

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