Amarillo High’s Taevon Hood (24) sprints into the endzone for a touchdown against Abilene Cooper on Friday night at Dick Bivins Stadium. [John Moore/ Press Pass Sports]
It couldn’t have been a more fitting way to finish the regular season for an Amarillo High team with a such flair for the dramatics.
Days of our Lives couldn’t have written a script as good as the Sandies story through 2019.
Once again Amarillo High kept its fans on the edge of their seats at Dick Bivins on Friday night during a District 2-5A Division I championship game that lived up to its billing.
When it was all said and done, the Sandies stood tall, claiming the coveted district title with an exciting 49-35 win against No. 8 Abilene Cooper on Friday night.
The Sandies (8-2 overall) have won seven straight games, but more importantly finish with with an unblemished 6-0 league mark. AHS will be the No. 1-seed out of the district and will host El Paso Chapin (2-8) at 6 p.m. Thursday night.
AHS second-year coach Chad Dunnam, who received a Gatorade bath from his team in the closing seconds, expressed his jubilation on his teams gold ball.
“This goes to our team,” Dunnam said. “It goes to our coaching staff. This team played their tails off, they coached their tails off, and I’m proud of them. I love these guys. They work so hard.”
Abilene Cooper (9-1 overall, 5-1 district) suffers its first loss of the season. The No. 8-ranked Cougars will be the two-seed and will host El Paso Del Valle (5-5) at Shotwell Stadium at a day and time to be determined.
The Sandies showed massive improvement throughout the year.
AHS started the season at 1-2. Frenship blanked AHS, 31-0, in the season opener. Wichita Falls Rider handed the Sandies their last loss in week three, 38-24.
However, as they’ve improved, they’ve won in clutch situations.
AHS rallied to beat rival Tascosa, 36-33, on a Peyton Connor last second catch.
During district, the Sandies stunned Lubbock Coronado, 31-28, on a last second field goal. Then Friday night, another huge home win that kept Dunnam’s team a perfect 5-0 at Dick Bivins Stadium.
In a game that saw emotion, momentum swings and big plays, Amarillo High took a 28-14 lead into halftime thanks to 21 unanswered points.
The lead built to 35-14 early in the third on a Taevon Hood 28-yard sprint to the endzone.
With its back against the wall, Abilene Cooper rallied with 14 straight points in late in the third quarter and the early stages of the fourth.
Running back Noah Garcia broke loose on a 20-yard score, followed by an Aidan Thompson 19-yard dart to Marcus Gomez, cutting the lead, 35-28, with 7:31 to play.
After a failed onside kick, the Cougars still held momentum, stuffing AHS on its first two plays near midfield, AHS quarterback Will Maynard was forced out of the pocket and being pulled down for a sack. Somehow Maynard flipped a short pass to Hood, who took it for a 26-yard inside the Cougars 25-yard line for a 26-yard gain.
A few plays later, Maynard threw a 10-yard TD to Davin Lemmons to make it 42-28.
Abilene Cooper didn’t go away. Scoring again, making it 42-35, the Cougars tried an onside kick, which backfired when junior defensive back Trey Thomas scooped the onside on one hop, running it back to the Abilene Cooper 19, icing the win.
“Things went our way,” Dunnam said. “It really did. We’ve had to play four quarters all year long. Those games prepared us for this one and we made the plays it took.”
AHS was a ridiculous 10 of 15 on third downs.
Though they were outgained 520-346, AHS ran for a team total of 210 yards behind Blake Bedwell. The senior stepped up on Senior night rushing for 88 yards on 17 carries with three touchdowns.
Maynard threw for 136 yards with two touchdowns, and ran for 58 yards
Cougars running back Noah Garcia ran for a game-high 226 yards on 26 carries.
Amarillo High 49, Abilene Cooper 35
Cooper 7 7 7 14 — 35
Amarillo High 7 21 7 14 — 49
AHS—Blake Bedwell 11 run (A.J. Villar kick), 8:45
C—Noah Garcia 17 run (Richie Aleman kick), 1:07
AHS—Cayden Phillips 53 pass from Will Maynard (Villar kick), 11:13
AHS—Taevon Hood 15 run (Villar kick), 8:36
AHS—Bedwell 10 run (Villar kick), 1:44
C—Garcia 20 run (Aleman kick), 1:19
AHS—Hood 28 run (Villar kick), 3:57
C—Izaiah Clark 29 pass from Aidan Thompson (Aleman kick), 1:35
C—Marcus Gomez 19 pass from Thompson (Aleman kick), 7:31
AHS—Davin Lemmons 10 pass from Maynard (Villar kick), 4:31
C—Dylon Davis 9 pass from Thompson (Aleman kick), 3:10
AHS—Bedwell 4 run (Villar kick), 1:57
Cooper Amarillo High
First downs 24 19
Rushing 299 210
Passing 221 136
Total yards 520 346
C-A-I 19-34-1 11-23-0
Punts-Avg. 4-24.3 5-40.0
Fumbles-lost 0-0 0-0
Penalties-yards 12-112 5-60
RUSHING—Cooper: Garcia 26-226, Jesuss Menjivar 9-54, Daelin Campos 2-4, Aeneas Favors 1-4, Thompson 2-11. Amarillo High: Bedwell 17-88, Maynard 11-64, Hood 9-58.
PASSING—Cooper: Thompson 19-34-1-221. Amarillo High: Maynard 11-23-0-136
RECEIVING—Cooper: Campos 5-39, Gomez 2-22, Braiden Hill 2-23, Menjivar 1-12, Garcia 3-9, Davis 4-72, Izaiah Clark 2-44. Amarillo High: Hood 2-28, Lemmons 6-37, Phillips 1-53, Bryson Slaughter 1-8, Caden Mincey 1-10.