Tascosa quarterback Joseph Plunk breaks free for big yards against Frenship during a District 2-6A battle Thursday night at Dick Bivins Stadium. [Tom Carver/ Press Pass Sports]
Tascosa controlled its destiny the best it could for a home playoff game, ending the regular season with major momentum.
In the final regular season home contest of the year, the Rebels used the legs of quarterback Joseph Plunk to gain a huge 36-23 win against Frenship on a cold night at Dick Bivins Stadium.
Tascosa closes out the regular season at 7-3, and 3-2 in District 2-6A. The victory does give the Rebels the top-seed out of the district in the Class 6A Division II bracket, however, there are still many scenarios to be played out between the El Paso District 1-6A that determines if Tascosa gets to host a playoff game.
“We’re just excited to win,” Tascosa coach Ken Plunk said. “We’d like to play at home, but we’re in the playoffs and that’s all that matters. We feel Tascosa hits a different level in the playoffs, and we’re ready to get started.”
On Senior night, quarterback Joseph Plunk, the youngest of coach Plunks’s three sons, delivered when he needed to the most.
Plunk never threw a pass against the Tigers, doing all of his damage with his feet. In one of the more memorable performances on the field at Dick Bivins in recent memory, the shifty signal caller ran the ball a remarkable 42 times for 312 yards, as well as scoring all five of the Rebels touchdowns.
“Most important thing is we got a win,” said Plunk, who ends the regular season with 1,833 yards rushing with 25 touchdowns. “We were relentless the entire game.”
Frenship, which ends the regular season at 7-3, 3-2, showed off its offense in the first half. Talented quarterback and Texas Tech commit Donovan Smith led the Tigers to 17 unanswered first half points.
Smith delivered the first touchdown pass early in the second quarter when he avoided pressure, rolled right and found Drew Hocutt —the son of Texas Tech athletic director, Kirby Hocutt — in the corner of the endzone for a 34-yard score.
Smith’s second touchdown came down the sideline to Cooper Scott for 70 yards, that made it 17-7 Tigers with 6:32 to play in the half.
Tascosa responded by continuing to run the ball down Frenship’s throat. Plunk scored back-to-back touchdowns, giving the Rebels a 21-17 halftime lead.
The third quarter was complete domination by Tascosa. The secondary tightened, while defense end and Texas Tech commit LB Moore provided pressure that lured Smith into two interceptions.
But in the end the story of the night was the ground and pound. Trailing 28-17, Smith scored on a QB keeper cutting the lead, 28-23, after a failed conversion. With six minutes to play, the Tigers kicked it deep. That turned costly as the Rebels marched it 69-yards in nine plays, taking five minutes off the clock, and most importantly, it resulted in Plunk’s fifth and final touchdown when he broke loose on a 27-yard run to seal it.
Tascosa ended the game with 480 total yards, all rushing.
Smith led Frenship throwing for 263 yards while rushing for 122 with three combined TDs.
Tascosa 36, Frenship 23
Frenship 3 14 6 — 23
Tascosa 7 14 7 7 — 35
T—Joseph Plunk 5 run (Max Burleson kick), 6:14
F—Cage Jones FG 30, 4:06
F—Drew Hocutt 34 pass from Donovan Smith (Jones kick), 10:28
F—Cooper Scott 70 pass from Smith (Jones kick), 6:32
T—Plunk 6 run (Burleson kick), 3:31
T—Plunk 47 run (Burleson kick), 0:57
T—Plunk 1 run (Burleson kick), 3:57
F—Smith 4 run (pass failed), 6:35
T—Plunk 27 run (Plunk run), 1:4
First downs 17 21
Rushing 135 480
Passing 263 0
Total yards 398 480
C-A-I 14-26-2 0-0-0
Punts-Avg. 2-50.5 3-29.7
Fumbles-lost 0-0 2-1
Penalties-yards 5-35 4-33
RUSHING—Frenship: Smith 18-122, William Bayouth 5-15, Jordan Maden 1-(-2). Tascosa: Parker Settle 13-90, Major Everhart 2-6, Plunk 42-312, Chance Jones 4-34, Brandon Sanders 1-16, Darius Sanders 2-7, Jaiton McMorris 2-15.
PASSING—Frenship: Smith 14-26-2-263. Tascosa: No attempts
RECEIVING—Frenship: Hocutt 8-145, Scott 3-86, Maden 3-32.