Caprock’s Damon Carrasco runs in for a touchdown during a District 2-5A Division I game against Palo Duro on Friday at Dick Bivins Stadium. [Tom Carver/ Press Pass Sports]
It would seem that being painfully one-dimensional offensively wouldn’t benefit a team looking to beat a crosstown rival in a game that would decide a playoff berth, no less.
But Friday night at Dick Bivins Stadium, the Caprock Longhorns and Damon Carrasco rode that one dimension with such brutal efficiency, that it got them that playoff berth.
Facing Palo Duro in a game where the loser would almost certainly be eliminated from playoff consideration, Caprock got down and dirty with Carrasco and the ground game. Carrasco ran for 236 yards and five touchdowns on 33 carries, spearheading a charge of 28 unanswered points to close the game, as the Longhorns beat the Dons 41-20 to clinch the fourth and final playoff berth out of District 2-5A Division I.
Caprock (3-5, 2-3 in district) clinched the berth since Lubbock Monterey lost to Lubbock Coronado. Even if the Longhorns lose to last-place Lubbock High next week to close the regular season, the worst they can do is finish tied for fourth with the winner of next week’s Palo Duro-Monterey game. Since Caprock can claim a victory over both schools, the Longhorns would win any head-to-head tiebreakers in a worst case scenario.
The Longhorns didn’t carry much momentum into the game after last week’s 49-14 loss at Coronado, but they made their own against Palo Duro (5-4, 1-3).
“Especially coming off what we did last week, we kind of laid an egg, but the kids were extremely resilient and so were the coaches to put that behind us and it takes a lot of character to do something like that,” Caprock coach Dan Sherwood said. “To be able to finish in the fourth quarter like we did, we need to be able to ride that momentum. We’ve still got mistakes we’ve got to correct and we can’t give up big plays like we did.”
Were it not for a couple of big plays by the Dons, the game might not have been competitive at all. The Longhorns had almost twice as many offensive yards as the Dons and outpaced them in third downs by a 25-9 count.
Palo Duro clung to a 14-13 halftime lead, though, and appeared to grab control of the game on a 79-yard touchdown pass from Jayden Garza to Kameron Brown. A botched snap on the extra point attempt kept the score 20-13.
But the Longhorns answered back by leaning on junior running back Carrasco to control things after that. Less than two minutes after PD’s scoring bomb, Carrasco scored his third touchdown of the night on a 9-yard run to tie it 20-20 with 2:48 left in the third quarter.
Carrasco already had a big night up to that point, but he was just getting started.
“I knew I was going to get the rock almost every play and I had to do the best I can to get yards and score touchdowns, but I just want to give credit to my (offensive) line,” Carrasco said. “They created so much opportunity for me. Man, we just bought out tonight. I’m excited.”
Caprock’s defense played big all night and forced a punt early in the fourth quarter. The Longhorns took advantage of good field position and ended a drive with Carrasco’s 14-yard run for a 27-20 lead and never trailed again.
On Palo Duro’s next possession, Caprock linebacker Gabriel Inthachack intercepted Garza and set up the Longhorns in favorable position again. Carrasco capped his night with a 2-yard run to make it 34-20 with 6:51 left in the game and effectively clinch the win.
For much of the second half, the Longhorns lined up in the Wildcat with Carrasco taking the direct snap. They resembled fellow Amarillo ISD school Tascosa by not throwing a pass in the second half, due to Carrasco and the line.
“The plan is whatever is working that’s what we’ve got to be able to do and take advantage of it,” Sherwood said. “Damon is such a tough kid as is the rest of the group offensively and defensively. He’s one of those kids who will play with two broken arms and a broken leg if we let him.”
After a scoreless first quarter, Caprock broke through on Carrasco’s 2-yard scoring run early in the second quarter.
That lead lasted all of 17 seconds, as Palo Duro’s Sylvester Ballard returned the ensuing kickoff 85 yards for a touchdown to tie it 7-7. Ballard was indirectly involved in another touchdown to end the half.
The Longhorns answered with a nice drive to reclaim the lead. Carrasco scored on a 12-yard run to make it 13-7, which is how it stayed as Joel Gijon missed the extra point.
Palo Duro then drove down the field and with nine seconds left in the first half and had the ball first-and-10 at Caprock’s 12-yard line. Quarterback Jayden Garza hit Ballard on a slant over the middle and as Ballard headed toward the end zone, the ball popped out and rolled into the end zone.
There, Abdurahman pounced on it with three seconds left for a touchdown. Jacob Jimmenez kicked the extra point to send the Dons to the locker room with a 14-13 halftime lead. But the Dons otherwise couldn’t mount any consistent drives.
“We had some opportunities we didn’t fully take advantage of,” first-year PD coach Eric Mims said. “The first drive of the game we get a strip (of the football) and come away with no points. We had some drives where we petered out and don’t do anything offensively. That’s just the sign of a team that isn’t very experienced and isn’t playing at its peak.”
The Dons can start thinking about next season with one week left in this one, but Caprock still has some business to take care of after clinching only the eighth playoff berth in 59 seasons as a program. Carrasco grasped what a special occasion it was.
“It feels lovely to be in the playoffs,” he said. “I just want to thank every teammate I’ve got that played their heart out tonight. It’s a big deal.”
Caprock 41, Palo Duro 20
Palo Duro 0 14 6 0 — 20
Caprock 0 13 7 21 — 41
District 2-5A Division I
Sandies close regular season by crushing Lubbock again
It was appropriate that the Amarillo High Sandies closed the regular season Thursday night by keeping an old tradition running.
For the 43rd consecutive season, Amarillo High defeated Lubbock High in the District 2-5A Division I finale at Dick Bivins Stadium. The Sandies jumped on Lubbock from the get-go and never let up, cruising to a 59-7 victory.
Amarillo High finishes the regular season 8-2 overall and 5-1 in district, having already clinched a playoff berth. The Sandies will have no better than the district’s No. 2 playoff seed, and are open next week while the rest of the district plays, which will determine where they fall in the postseason pecking order.
There was no doubt Amarillo High was on a mission to finish the regular season strong. Tyrese Molden returned the opening kickoff 100 yards for a touchdown to give the Sandies a 7-0 lead and set the tone for the game.
Brock Wade threw a pair of touchdown passes to Jameson Garcia in the first quarter to stretch Amarillo High’s lead to 21-0. Wade also threw a 31-yard scoring pass to Molden in the second quarter and Mason Graham ran for a pair of touchdowns as the Sandies led 45-0 at halftime.
Ethan Cowan led AHS with 182 yards on 10 carries, including an 84-yard scoring run in the third quarter. That led an Amarillo High rushing attack which rumbled for 406 yards and averaged an astonishing 14 yards a carry.
Amarillo High 59, Lubbock High 7
LHS 0 7 0 — 7
AHS 21 24 14 — 59
Randall’s Isayah Hernandez looks for yards against Wichita Falls Rider during a District 3-5A Division II game at Happy State Bank Stadium. [Lace Taylor/ Press Pass Sports]
District 3-5A Division II
Randall falls to Rider
Randall suffered its second straight setback in district play, as Wichita Falls Rider rolled offensively to hand Randall a 45-23 defeat at Happy State Bank Stadium.
With the loss, Randall falls to 5-4 and 2-2 in district play and its playoff fate will be determined during next week’s regular season finale. Rider (8-1, 3-1) clinched a playoff berth for the 12th straight season.
Both teams scored early and often, as the game was tied 14-14 late in the first quarter. But after Rider scored to take a 21-14 lead at the end of the quarter, Randall never got even again.
Randall quarterback Braxton Burd had his usual big game running the ball with 146 yards and a touchdown on 16 carries. However, he also threw two interceptions.
Rider’s Jack Pitts countered by throwing for three touchdowns and running for another. Kaden Jones caught all three scoring passes and had five catches for 150 yards.
Anquan Willis ran for 240 yards and two touchdowns on 22 carries, as Rider’s balanced offense piled up 519 yards.
Wichita Falls Rider 45, Randall 23
Rider 21 14 0 10 — 45
Randall 14 6 3 0 — 23
Dumas quarterback Brayden Boggs-Rushing finds yards during a 29-14 win against Canyon during a District 3-4A Division I game on Friday at Demons Stadium. [Cara Hendricks/ Press Pass Sports]
District 3-4A Division I
Dumas thumps Canyon, clinches No. 1 playoff seed
The Dumas Demons kept rolling in district play at home, shutting down Canyon 29-14 at home to keep their district winning streak going and sew up the No. 1 seed for the playoffs.
Dumas (6-2, 2-0 in district) sits alone atop the district and is guaranteed no worse than a share of the district crown. Even if the Demons lose to Pampa next week and finish tied with either Canyon (7-2, 1-1) or Hereford for the top spot in the district, they’ll be the No. 1 seed by virtue of beating both schools in district play.
The Demons extend their district win streak to 18 straight games in the process.
The Demons scored in the first two minutes when James Bednorz recovered a muffed punt in the end zone for a 6-0 lead. They scored 22 unanswered points to open the game and shut down a Canyon offense which hung 75 points on Pampa to win the district opener.
Quarterback Braydon Boggs-Rushing led Dumas with 126 yards and two touchdowns on 24 carries. The Demons held Canyon to 265 yards of offense.
Dario Bressler ran for 102 yards on 16 carries for the Eagles, while Parker Cunningham had seven catches for 108 yards and a touchdown.
Dumas 29, Canyon 14
Canyon 0 0 6 8 — 14
Dumas 14 8 7 0 — 29
Hereford routs Pampa
In a matchup of teams looking for their first district win, Hereford jumped on Pampa, scoring 28 unanswered points to open the game to roll to a 56-23 victory at home.
Quarterback Gerardo Garcia was near perfect for the Whitefaces (6-3, 1-1), completing 16-of-17 passes for 243 yards and four touchdowns. Garcia threw two touchdowns each to Braedyn Mendoza and Noah Brown and also ran for 70 yards and a touchdown on 11 carries.
Mendoza finished with catches for 117 yards. Tommy Suarez led the Herd with 13 carries for 188 yards and a touchdown as Hereford rolled up 561 yards of total offense.
Pampa’s Sam Anguiano threw two touchdown passes to Jordan Lacy.
Hereford 56, Pampa 23
Pampa 0 15 8 0 — 23
Hereford 21 21 7 7 — 56
District 2-4A Division II
Perryton falls in shootout at Seminole
In an entertaining game, Perryton made a long trip to Seminole and came up on the short end of a 49-42 shootout in a game to determine sole possession of second place in the district.
However, Perryton (2-7, 1-2) is still guaranteed a playoff spot. The Rangers will face Borger next week in the season finale where the winner will take the district’s No. 3 playoff seed.
Lubbock Estacado wrapped up its third straight district championship with a 21-0 win over Levelland on Thursday.
Seminole (4-5, 2-1) jumped on Perryton by scoring 28 unanswered points to open the game. The Indian piled up 576 total yards.
Quarterback Blake Flowers threw for 379 yards with three touchdowns.
Perryton had 551 yards as Isaias Dominguez ran for 154 yards and four touchdowns on 14 carries and Abraham Hernandez threw for 319 yards and two touchdowns.
Seminole 49, Perryton 42
Perryton 0 7 14 21 – 42
Seminole 7 21 7 14 – 49