Class 1A Division I
Cowboys edge Panthers
In a turnover prone game on a cold, wet night at Bucks Stadium in White Deer on Friday, Happy relied on a strong rushing attack that put up almost 300 yards on the ground to squeak past Follett, 36-30, in a Class 1A Division I bi-district matchup.
With the win, Happy (10-1) advances out of the bi-district round for the ninth time in 11 years. The Cowboys now get a rematch with No. 2-ranked Knox City (11-0) in the regional semifinals at 7 p.m. on Friday in Petersburg.
“It’s great to get out of this round,” Happy head coach Stacy Perryman said. “We’ve had successful teams the last few years and guys on this team that have been a part of it. But at the same time, we have new guys that are coming along for the ride and that’s pretty special.”
The two teams played a scoreless first quarter before Follett’s David Meeks found Brayan Torres open along the sideline for a 34-yard touchdown pass on a fourth and 12 to take a 6-0 lead. Happy came right back down the field when Noe Juarez found Quay Hodges from five yards out putting the Cowboys on top 8-6 after a two-point kick.
It was a lead that Happy would never relinquish but the win didn’t come that easy. On the following possession, the Panthers (7-4) put the ball on the ground and the Cowboys capitalized with Jaxon Stoker running it in off the right end from eight yards out. On the ensuing kickoff, Juarez pegged a Panther on the front line and recovered the kick which the Cowboys turned into more points and a 24-6 lead.
Happy looked poise to put this one away late in the half when Stoker looked to score from 12 out, but a holding penalty negated the score. The Cowboys were unable to score after that and turned it over on downs to the Panthers with 47 seconds remaining before halftime. On the next play, Wyatt Terrell found Meeks streaking down the sidelines for a 47-yard completion and Meeks found paydirt two plays later from a yard out to give the Panthers momentum heading into halftime down 24-14.
In the third quarter the teams exchanged scores and Happy capitalized on another Follett turnover as Joey Blackmon raced 40 yards for a score and a 36-22 Cowboys lead late in the third. After a turnover on downs, the Cowboys were ready to deliver a knockout punch to the Panthers but couldn’t get it done. On the first play of final stanza, Blackmon raced to the goal line but had the ball knocked out which Follett scooped up. The Cowboys defense held again but this time Stoker put the pigskin on the turf and this time Follett made them pay. Meeks scrambled to his right before delivering a 31-yard strike to Torres at the goal line which cut the lead to 36-30 with 4:09 remaining.
Happy’s rushing attack then took over and marched from their own 31 to the Follett nine to run out the clock and walk away victorious.
Stoker paced the ground game for Happy with 124 yards on 21 carries while Cutter Hodges and Blackmon combined for another 120 yards. Terrell and Meeks combined for 182 yards through the air on 11 of 20 passing and three scores.
Warriors pull away late from Swifts
Undefeated in the regular season, Miami pulled away in the fourth quarter from Nazareth to notch a 50-30 victory in this Class 1A Division bi-district matchup on a cold night at Bucks Stadium in White Deer.
Miami (11-0), ranked No. 9 in the polls, raced past Nazareth (4-7) earlier in the season 48-0 but this game was a complete turn of events that turned into a dandy of a ballgame.
With 2:32 remaining in the third quarter, Haiden Thompson found Breken Early on a 31-yard pitch and catch for the score to take an eight-point lead which the Warriors took to the fourth. As they had done all night, Nazareth turned to their dynamic freshman running back Zane Schulte to tie this one up. After a long run from Schulte put the Swifts deep in Warrior territory, the speedy back finished things off with a four-yard run and a tie score early in the fourth.
That’s when the talented Thompson took matters into his own hands. Quickly driving the Warriors down the field, Luke Wheeler plunged in from one yard out for the only score on the Miami would get that Thompson wasn’t directly involved in. With a 38-30 lead, Miami’s defense forced the Swifts to punt and capitalized quickly. Thompson found his center, Tyler Anderson, for a 45-yard score and the biggest lead of the night for Miami, 44-30. Thompson then finished this one off after getting the ball back by tossing his second score of the night to Kasey Benge for a 35-yard score and an insurmountable 50-30 lead with 1:58 remaining.
Thompson was the star of the night for the undefeated Warriors racking up 161 yards on the ground on 16 carries and a score while going 10-of-16 for 207 through the air with half of those completions resulting in a touchdown.
Early was his favorite target nabbing five catches for 94 yards and two scores. The gritty Swifts saw Schulte impact their offense in all three phases as he carried the ball 26 times for 187 yards and two scores, passing for 84 yards and a touchdown and grabbing five receptions and another score.
Miami now faces off against the Springlake-Earth Wolverines (8-3) at 7 p.m. Friday in Matador. The Wolverines took down Valley 62-29 in a bi-district matchup.
In Division II action, the Silverton Owls (9-2) pulled off the upset of No. 7 Amherst Friday night, 52-34, at Buffaloes Stadium in Petersburg.
The District 1-1A champs now face No. 8 Balmorhea (9-2) at 6:30 p.m. Thursday in Borden County.
Groom didn’t have Silverton’s luck falling to No. 4 Whitharral, 60-12 in the Tigers bi-district clash. Groom ends the year at 5-7.