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.