Class 1A Division I
Nazareth grinds out victory
Buoyed by a workhorse effort from Luke Schulte and timely turnovers Nazareth earned a hard fought 40-24 Class 1A Division I bi-district victory over Follett on the back end of a doubleheader at White Deer on Friday night.
The Swifts (9-2) struck quickly as they held the Panthers (9-2) on downs and scored two plays later as Sterl Welps plunged in from a yard out, the first of three short scoring plays from the senior fullback as Naz went up early 8-0. Brett Heitschmidt of the Swifts then knocked down a David Meeks pass on fourth down and Nazareth struck again on a Welps three yard run and a 16-0 lead. However, the Panthers offense finally got going at the end of the quarter as Jayden Watson found Shayne Franks on a 25-yard scoring pass to bring the Panthers to within eight. The teams exchanged scores in the second to head to half with Nazareth up 24-16.
The Swifts took the opening kickoff of the second half and used a 43-yard sprint into the end zone by Schulte to extend the lead to 32-16. As they did all night long though the Panthers fought back. The Panthers drove the field and capped off the drive with a two-yard run from David Meeks to pull back to within eight. On the next series Follett forced a fumble in Swift territory that was recovered by Watson. Poised to tie this one up Franks took the pitch around right end and had the ball punched out by Welps into the waiting arms of Tanner Birkenfeld for a touchback. After holding on downs early in the fourth Follett marched down the field and found themselves ready to tie this one up again but, on a second and goal from the seven, Meeks scrambled to the right and fired a pass into the end zone which Schulte stepped in front of to thwart another scoring attempt. Nazareth then drove the length of the field to cap the victory on the third Welps dive.
Schulte was unstoppable in this one toting the rock 27 times for 349 yards and two scores. Meeks was the star for Follett going 13-of-18 for 174 yards and a score while rushing for 32 yards and a touchdown. Nazareth advances to the regional semifinal round to and will face Springlake-Earth (7-4) on Friday night in Petersburg with kickoff slated for 7:30 p.m.
Defense keys Cowboys big win
Miami’s vaunted offense entered their Class 1A Division I bi-district matchup with Happy averaging 372 yards per game, but the Cowboys defense used a relentless pass rush to shut out the Warriors for a 52-0 victory Friday afternoon in White Deer.
Defense has been a staple of Happy teams for years and that was on full display as Happy held Miami (7-4) to 97 total yards and three first downs. The defense for both teams played well in the first quarter but Happy broke through with 3:34 left in the quarter as Joey Blackmon busted through the stacked line for a 46-yard scoring jaunt. After holding the Warriors on downs Happy struck again as Camden Sperry found a wide-open Quay Hodges on a fourth and four for a 36-yard scoring strike, the first of three big scoring plays between the duo. A big interception from Happy’s Kyton Johnson on the next possession allowed the Cowboys to strike quickly as Sperry connected with Hodges for a 45-yard gain to the 1-yard line where Quay’s brother, Cutter, punched it in from a yard out for a 20-0 lead for Happy. Then disaster struck for the Warriors as they ran a reverse on the kickoff, but Haiden Thompson never gained full possession of the handoff and the ball rolled into the end zone and the Cowboys Noe Juarez hustled down to recover it for a score to break this one wide open, 28-0.
Happy took to the air to attack the Warriors defense as Sperry was 5-of-9 for 177 yards and those three scores with Hodges catching all five of those receptions. Miami’s Haiden Thompson finished the game 7-of-24 for 75 yards and two picks and only mustered 14 yards on the ground on five carries.
Happy (10-1) moves on to the regional semifinals to play Knox City (9-2) at 7 p.m. Friday at Motley County.
Groom exacts revenge on Bulldogs
It’s easy to look at rematches in the playoffs and favor the team that won big and that’s exactly what the Groom Tigers wanted as they turned the tide for a 44-24 victory Friday night over Amherst in Lockney for a Class 1A Division II bi-district win.
Groom (6-5) jumped out to a 16-8 first quarter lead and that held to half. After half the Tigers offense caught fire as they put up 28 points on the Bulldog defense to take a 44-16 lead headed to the fourth quarter. That’s where Groom’s defense continued to shine allowing Amherst (8-3) only one score in the final quarter to come away with the win. Stephen Kuehler had another outstanding game for the Tigers rushing for 178 yards and two scores on the ground while registering 193 yards through the air and four scores. Blayne Shuck led a receiving corp that had five different players with at least two receptions grabbing nine balls for 97 yards and a score. Greyson Peet helped out Kuehler through the air going 5-of-5 for 70 yards and a score while grabbing two receptions as well and a score.
Groom now advances to the area round where they will take on the Balmorhea Bears at 6 p.m. Friday at Cardinals Stadium in Hermleigh.
Silverton’s season comes to an end
Silverton found its rematch with Whitharral not to their liking as the Panthers dispatched the Owls in Lockney Friday night, 46-0.
Unlike the first game Silverton was unable to muster any offense while Shamadrick Weaver ran wild through the Owl defense. Weaver finished with 134 yards on the ground on only nine carries while punching it in twice. He also found Jeryn Ellard on a 30-yard touchdown strike in the first quarter that gave the Panthers a 16-0 lead at the end of one. Silverton was only able to muster up 57 yards in total offense which included 33 yards on the ground from a team that had displayed a potent rushing attack all season long. Silverton finished the season at 7-4 while Whitharral (10-1) moves into the area round to face Klondike (8-3) at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Lubbock Trinity Christian.