Tascosa crushes El Paso Ysleta in 5A Division I bi-district clash


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Tascosa’s TJ Tillman sprints down the sideline against El Paso Ysleta during a Class 5A Division I bi-district game at Dick Bivins Stadium on Friday night. [Tom Carver/ Press Pass Sports]
It was a postseason elimination game Friday night at Dick Bivins Stadium, but the Tascosa Rebels were having a lot of fun.

All the El Paso Ysleta Indians could do was show up and not enjoy the party.

In a Class 5A Division I bi-district game which will almost certainly be the final home game of the season for Tascosa, the Rebels showed that records don’t lie. The Rebels pounced all over Ysleta early in rolling to a 70-7 victory which continued Tascosa’s recent run of postseason success.

Tascosa (10-1) now has five straight 10-win seasons, and the 70 points the Rebels hung on Ysleta (3-8) are a school single game playoff record. Everybody got involved in the act for Tascosa, as starters on both sides of the ball generally took to the sidelines in the second half trying to find a warm spot near the heater on a cold evening.

“It was about as good a scenario as we possibly could have had,” Tascosa coach Ken Plunk said. “We’re really, really excited about what we did, getting kids in the game and scoring a lot of points. We had a really good time tonight, it was a lot of fun.”

The Rebels will play Burleson Centennial next week in the area round.

Tascosa seemed to toy with Ysleta for a good chunk of the first half and certainly in the second half. The Rebels used some big plays and good field position to take a big early lead and were up 49-7 at halftime.

They shocked Ysleta early, not by scoring but by how they scored. Two plays after getting a short field following a punt, Hudson Farris hit T.J. Tillman on a 23-yard scoring pass for a 7-0 lead.

It was the first of two touchdowns in the first half for the sophomore Tillman, who on defense Tillman took a deflected pass on an interception 52 yards the other way for a touchdown.

“We’re opening up our offense to start the playoffs and we need to do that when we play the Dallas teams to get to the next round,” Tillman said. “I’m glad we called it. People know me as an athlete, and I can play both sides and try to make big plays there.”

Tascosa started and ended the half with scoring passes (the only ones the Rebels threw all night), as backup quarterback Sam Fisk, on his first varsity throw, hit Micah Lewis on a 14-yard score with 43 seconds left in the half.

In between, the Rebels moved the ball in more Tascosa-like fashion. They ran for 393 yards on the evening with the usual balanced rushing attack.

Tayden Barnes provided the speed gear in the rushing attack as he had two scoring runs in the first quarter. Barnes simply ran past the Indians on a 57-yard run, and later in the quarter he scored from 2 yards out for a 21-0 lead.

“Our whole goal was to get up in the first half so we could get everybody rolling in off the bench,” Barnes said. “I enjoyed watching (the backups) a lot. I always want them to get in there and be a part of every win.”

How even were the contributions between starters and backups? Barnes and Fisk were the co-leaders in rushing for the Rebels with identical numbers of three carries for 70 yards, and Fisk concluded the scoring on a 45-yard run on the last play of the third quarter.

But the biggest discovery of the night was freshman Colton Fulton, who wasn’t even on the roster, but made a big enough splash in his varsity debut to give Rebel fans reason for optimism over the next three years.

Tascosa took the second half kickoff and marched down the field for a touchdown, concluding it with two runs by Fulton for 31 yards, the last of which was a 5-yard scoring run. Later in the quarter, Fulton returned a punt 89 yards for a touchdown, the second longest return in school history.

While Fulton is just getting started as a Rebel, guys like senior defensive lineman Avion Carter are finishing. In his last game at Bivins, Carter, who has committed to TCU, showed why as he caught Ysleta ballcarriers from behind several times despite the fact the Indians were consciously running away from him.

“I just played technique,” Carter said. “The coaches told me they were probably going to run the ball away from me, so I just played technique and chased down the ball. I think it’s a big deal for our younger guys to get that experience for next year but moving on it’s not going to be easier.”

While Carter spearheaded a defensive effort which limited Ysleta to 207 yards and forced three turnovers, it was business as usual offensively. Tascosa used 12 ballcarriers on the night, four of whom went over 40 yards.


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