Strawn Steamrolls Balmorhea in Division II Championship

Photo by Pat Carrigan

Article by Garrett Ross

Arlington, Texas- The last time a Vance Jones coached team met a Dewaine Lee coached team in the state championship, it was Vance’s team that came out on top, but this time the tide had turned. Dewaine’s Strawn Greyhounds raced past Vance’s Balmorhea Bears 78-42, to capture the school’s third state championship.

The Bears only needed two plays from scrimmage, before they took the lead. Kyle Garcia broke loose on a 63 yard touchdown run and Balmorhea went up 8-0. Strawn was quick to respond after just three plays, when Carlos Villanueva eluded the Bears defense for a 35 yard touchdown run.

History would be made on the ensuing PAT, as K-Lani Nava drilled the PAT to tie the game at 8-8. Nava became the first female football player in UIL history to play in a State Championship. K-Lani Nava contributed 18 of the Greyhounds 78 points, in her record setting performance.

Kyle Garcia added two more touchdowns before halftime for Balmorhea on runs from 3 and 28 yards out. Tanner Hodgkins was the Greyhounds workhorse, as he scored three rushing touchdowns in the first half.

Hodgkins first touchdown of the game was from 4 yards out, but the junior displayed his breakaway speed on the next two, which were from 50 and 49 yards out. The Greyhounds tacked on one more score before the clock expired for intermission, on a 30 yard pitch and catch from Carlos Villanueva to Gavin Duncan.

Balmorhea could only muster up one touchdown in the third quarter, while Strawn erupted for three touchdowns. The Greyhounds hit the Bears with a trifecta of offensive weapons, which made it tough on the Balmorhea defense. Carlos Villanueva and Julian Fraga found the end zone with their legs, while Villanueva hit Hodgkins on a 37 yard air strike.

Kyle Garcia carried the Bears in the fourth quarter with a pair of touchdown runs from 5 and 34 yards out, but Balmorhea’s defense was unable to slow down the Greyhounds offense, who countered with two more touchdowns of their own.

The Greyhounds return the bulk of their playmakers for the 2018 season and Strawn will remain in Division 2 after realignment. The Greyhounds will definitely be a force to be reckoned with next year and should enter the season as favorites to repeat.

All-District Honors Show The Future Is Bright For The McLean Tigers

Article by Garrett Ross

Photo by Rodney Ayers

The 2017 football season is sadly coming to an end, but now is the time when players and coaches are receiving awards for their accomplishments throughout the year. The Class 1A Division 1 District 1 awards were released this week and after a close observation, I came away realizing that the McLean Tigers will be loaded next season.

The McLean Tigers were under the radar all season, that is until district play rolled around and they dominated an undefeated White Deer team 58-36. McLean would go on to be the runner-up in District 1 and the Tigers stormed into the playoffs where they made it to the quarterfinals.

The Tigers lone district loss came against Happy 74-28, but the Cowboys were a veteran team with a lot of big game experience. McLean defeated Nazareth 89-49 and Knox City 75-44, before coming up short to Happy for the second time this season 86-40.

McLean had five players make First Team Offense; WR Jayden Abshire, SC Dalton Abshire, RB Ben Crockett, SB Cayden Mann and KR Kade Reichmann, of these five players only one is a senior. The Tigers had three players earn First Team Defense honors; DL Jordan Parsons, CB Bradley Hannon and LB Chisim Henderson, two of the three will be returning next season.

McLean will be returning six players with First Team All-District honors, including Chisim Henderson. Chisim Henderson is the 6’3 185lb LB with the pain tolerance of a Roman Gladiator. Henderson took a shot against Knox City http://www.hudl.com/athlete/o/6017645/highlights/5a1caf17da516e0d2ca65232
that sidelined him for two plays, before coming back to break loose for a 40 yard touchdown five plays after returning. The junior played a quarter and a half of football with broken ribs, lacerated liver, and a ruptured spleen.

The Tigers will enter the 2018 season with momentum and experience, these two entities, along with the chance of a new district with realignment have McLean poised for success.

Cowboy’s Semi-Final Predictions

I did well with my quarter-final picks, only missing one game. Tioga kept me from having a perfect week with an impressive 44-40 victory over Union Hill. They beat the spread by 36 points and won the game with a 30+ yard field goal- something rarely seen in six-man.
Hopefully I’ll get 100% this week, but it’s going to be tough.
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