Tascosa steam rolls Mojo; AHS wins Battle of Bell, Palo Duro stays hot


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Tascosa running back Josh Splawn goes in for a touchdown during the Rebels 40-21 win against Odessa Permian on Friday night at Ratliff Stadium. [Trevor Fleeman/ Press Pass Sports]

ODESSA— The Tascosa Rebels returned to their winning ways Friday night and in doing so, delivered Odessa Permian its first loss of the season.The Rebels recovered from last week’s loss to Midland Legacy by putting up a 40-21 win over their former District 2-6A rivals Friday at Ratliff Stadium.

Tascosa improved to 2-1 for the season while the Panthers also moved to 2-1. The victory was also the 98th in the career of Rebels head coach Ken Plunk.

A low-scoring first half turned into an offensive showing in the second half as both teams scored a combined 47 points in the third and fourth quarters.

Tascosa had a 14-0 lead at halftime and the Panthers wouldn’t get on the scoreboard until the third quarter.

“I think we played really well,” Tascosa head coach Ken Plunk said. “I wish we would’ve had some more defensive intensity in the second half but I think a lot of that had to do with (Permian) making adjustments at halftime and were more effective in moving the ball against us in the second half.”

Running back L’Travion Brown had 77 rushing yards to lead the Rebels from six carries and a touchdown while running back Major Everhart had 76 yards from six carries.

Tascosa quarterback BT Daniel went 3-of-5 for 129 yards and a touchdown through the air.

“We executed great,” Daniel said. “We were kind of slow in the first quarter but in the second half, we couldn’t ask for anything better.”

Running back Tayden Barnes had two receptions for 93 yards and a touchdown for the Rebels.

Permian running back Tristan Johnson had eight rushes for 35 yards while quarterback Rodney Hall had 26 yards from 17 carries.

Hall went 10-of-18 for 147 yards and a touchdown.

Wide receiver Ja’Quan Richardson had five receptions for 118 yards and a touchdown for the Panthers.

The Rebels had 236 rushing yards while the Panthers had 109.

The Rebels’ first drive ended in a turnover on downs deep in Permian territory at the 17.

But if Tascosa’s offense couldn’t get it done, then its defense could as the start of the ensuing Permian drive resulted in a Tascosa touchdown from defensive back Barnes who recovered a fumble on a Permian pitch from three yards outside the endzone for the score. The 2-point conversion failed on a pass and the Rebels had a 6-0 lead with 5:14 left in the first quarter.

Midway through the second quarter, the Rebels worked the ball downfield as running back Major Everhart used a 36-yard reception from Daniel to get into Permian territory.

Tascosa capitalized a few plays later as Daniel punched the ball in on a 1-yard touchdown run. Running back Joshua Splawn got the 2-point conversion with the run and the Rebels had a 14-0 lead with 4:36 left in the quarter.

The Panthers were unable to get on the scoreboard before halftime and the Rebels had a 14-0 lead at intermission.

It was the second and third time that Tascosa had held an opponent scoreless in a quarter this season.

“I’m proud of that,” Plunk said. “That was really good. To shut them out the first two quarters is great. We knew how good Permian’s offense is. They lean on you a little bit but for us to hold them off in the first half was really good.”

A 75-yard touchdown run by Everhart was called back due to taunting on the first play of the second half.

The ball was placed on the Permian 35 yard line.

The Rebels, however, managed to score on the next play as Brown found the end zone on a 35-yard run and Michael Ayalew added the PAT for a 21-0 Tascosa lead with 11:36 left in the third quarter.

The Panthers worked the ball into the Rebels’ territory on their first offensive drive of the half.

Hall fumbled the ball outside the end zone but the Tascosa players weren’t able to successfully scoop up the loose ball and his teammate wide receiver Devon Pierce recovered the ball in the end zone for a Permian touchdown with 7:12 left in the quarter.

The Rebels didn’t take long to respond.

Barnes scored on a 58-yard reception from Daniel and the PAT was no good, giving the visitors a 27-7 lead with 6:33 on the clock.

Permian running back Zach Wheeler scored from 1 yard out and the Panthers trailed 27-14 with 1:52 left.

The Rebels began the fourth quarter with a 2-yard touchdown run by Splawn and the 2-point conversion run failed, putting Tascosa at a 33-14 advantage with 11:14 remaining in the game.

Richardson hauled in a 15-yard touchdown pass from Hall and the PAT was good, bringing Permian to a 33-21 deficit with 7:43 remaining.

“For us, we were trying to settle down,” Permian head coach Jeff Ellison said. “I think we were trying too much in the first half so we settled down and tried to run more of our base offense and got some things done.”

Running back Treshun Wilson added a touchdown for the Rebels, helping the visitors to a 40-21 lead at the 2:37 mark.

Tascosa will next face San Angelo Central next week back at home in its final nondistrict contest.

“During the first four games, we want to focus on getting better,” Plunk said. “The main thing is, if you don’t get better, you’re not accomplishing what you need to accomplish and we just want to improve next week before district play.”

— Michael Bauer

Tascosa 40, Odessa Permian 21

Tascosa 6 8 13 13 40

Permian 14 7 21

Amarillo High wide receiver Jameson Garcia hauls in a catch against Randall at Happy State Bank Stadium on Friday night. [Tom Carver/ Press Pass Sports]

Garcia leads Sandies past rival Randall

The freewheeling feel of a predistrict rivalry game was in the air from the beginning Friday night at Happy State Bank Stadium, as Amarillo High and Randall provided plenty of entertainment in the Battle of Bell Street.

But to anyone who saw them a week earlier, it should have come as no surprise that in a game full of big plays, the Sandies ended up making a few more than the Raiders.

Amarillo High piled up 465 yards of total offense, including four touchdown plays of longer than 35 yards. It mirrored the previous week’s four long scoring plays against Midland High, as the Sandies beat Randall 35-28 in one of the more fun early season games of 2021.

Each team answered the other team’s best shot for three quarters in a game where, ironically, neither team scored in the fourth quarter. In the end, Amarillo High (2-1) showed enough to hand the Raiders (2-1) their first loss of the season.

“I talked to our kids all week and our coaching staff talked to our kids all week that winning’s hard and it’s not easy,” AHS coach Chad Dunnam said. “It’s a competitive, competitive world out there. There are good coaches and a tremendous amount talent. It’s a rivalry game and we’re pleased with the win.”

Both teams used big plays to score in the first half, but Amarillo High had more of them, most notably two long touchdown passes to Jameson Garcia to take a 21-14 halftime lead.

The Sandies took the opening kickoff and marched down the field to a score, as Levi Slaydon scored on a 2-yard run for a 7-0 lead. It was set up by a 54-yard completion from Brock Wade to Garcia.

That lasted all of nine seconds. Amarillo High’s ensuing kickoff bounced high in the air and Randall’s Braxton Bell fielded it at his own 10-yard line. With most of the AHS kickoff team drawn near the ball, it left a hole in the middle of the field and Bell took advantage of it by going 90 yards up the middle untouched for a score to tie it 7-7.

“Tonight we lacked in the kicking game,” Dunnam said. “The kicking game put us in some bad situations tonight. In my opinion, without the kicking game errors we probably have a chance to put the game away a little sooner.”

Randall would later take advantage of a short field after a punt, as quarterback Braxton Burd kept it for a 3-yard run to give the Raiders a 14-7 lead.

Amarillo High tied it on the next possession when Wade hit Garcia on a 44-yard pass to make it 14-14 late in the first quarter. It stayed that way until late in the second quarter when Garcia caught another scoring pass, this time a 40-yarder from receiver Connor Haelzle on a trick play to make it 21-14.

Those were the main highlights for Garcia on a night he had five catches for 197 yards, the shortest of which went for 28 yards.

“We lost a couple of receivers last year who were seniors, Daviin Lemons and Cayden Phillips so I had to step up, but we still have a really good receiving corps,” Garcia said. “Connor Haelzle and Tyreese (Molden) and Jacob Self can all step up. We actually have had that (Haelzle’s pass) since week one and we didn’t get a chance to run it and when we did it was a blast.”

The second half started off even crazier, with three touchdowns in a 48-second span.

Randall answered by taking the second half kickoff for a score, as Jordi Hernandez concluded a drive with a 4-yard run to make it 21-21. On the first play after the ensuing kickoff, the Sandies botched an exchange on a handoff and Randall’s Mason Ladd recovered on the AHS 40. Burd then hit Nathan Baker on a scoring pass the next play to give the Raiders a 28-21 lead.

But 19 seconds later it was tied again, as Amarillo High’s Ethan Cowan dashed up a huge hole in the middle for an 85-yard scoring run to make it 28-28.

Later in the quarter after Burd fumbled deep in AHS territory and Braxton Peace recovered it, Wade hit Molden for a 48-yard gain to the Randall 38. Cowan then ran for a touchdown on the next play to make it 35-28 and give the Sandies the lead for good.

“I had to find my rhythm back,” said Cowan, who had a game-high 143 yards on 12 carries. “I’m coming off an Injury (to the meniscus) and I didn’t play last game and I really didn’t do what I wanted to do in the first half, so I had to show out the second half. We were blocking a lot better and were ready to go.”

The defenses bucked up with the game on the line in the fourth quarter, with the biggest play coming when the Raiders drove deep into AHS territory thinking about the tying touchdown. Burd let a pass sail and Amarillo High’s Mason Graham picked it off to end the drive.

Randall never seriously threatened again on a night where head coach Gaylon Selman wasn’t available since he was hospitalized for tests to address health issues which occurred earlier in the week. Offensive coordinator Grady Benton assumed head coaching duties against Amarillo High.

“You can look back at (the two second half turnovers) but you can also look back at a whole bunch of other things that happened offensively and defensively,” Benton said. “I know what I do get from my guys and they played hard and when we play hard we get a chance. That’s how we do it at Randall.”

Amarillo High drove down to the Randall 35 and faced a fourth-and-two with under two minutes left. The Sandies elected to go for it, and used mammoth two-way lineman Erik Gray to carry the ball, and Gray gained six yards to clinch the win.

Wade threw for 201 yards for Amarillo High.

Burd had another strong dual threat game, throwing for 192 yards and running for 78 yards. Baker had four catches for 114 yards.

— Lee Passmore

Amarillo High 35, Randall 28

Amarillo High 14 7 14 — 35

Randall 14 14 28

Palo Duro’s Tre’sean Monroe breaks free for big yards against Wichita Falls High on Friday night at Dick Bivins Stadium. [Ben Jenkins/ Press Pass Sports]

Palo Duro stays unbeaten

The Eric Mims Era at Palo Duro stayed unblemished in his first home game as his alma mater’s head coach, as the Dons grabbed momentum with 25 unanswered points to roll to a 39-14 victory over Wichita Falls High at Dick Bivins Stadium.

Wichita Falls took an early lead on a 6-yard scoring run by Bricen Vialpando. But 14 seconds later the Dons (3-0) took the lead for good on Tre’sean Monroe’s 74-yard touchdown run and they never looked back.

Monroe also scored on runs of 1 and 25 yards in the third quarter and finished with 174 yards on 15 carries.

Palo Duro was stout defensively as well. Kameron Brown had 10 tackles, including three for losses, a sack, an interception and a blocked extra point, while Sylvester Ballard had eight tackles, an interception, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery.

— Lee Passmore

Palo Duro 39, WF High 14

WF High 6 8 — 14

Palo Duro 8 17 14 — 39

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