Major Everhart jets down the sideline past a Burleson Centennial defender during the Tascosa Rebels Class 5A Division I area round game against the Spartans on Friday night at Memorial Stadium in Wichita Falls. [Richard Cleaver/ For Press Pass Sports]
WICHITA FALLS— In four straight seasons of winning at least one playoff game, Tascosa coach Ken Plunk knows by now that it doesn’t matter how it looks as long as your team finds a way to get to the next round.His players took that to heart in Friday night’s Class 5A Division I area round game against Burleson Centennial, none more so than Major Everhart.Following a first half where the offenses were quiet, if not altogether silent, the Rebels got on the back of Everhart, even more so than in the previous week’s bidistrict win over El Paso El Dorado. Making his second start at quarterback after the loss of B.T. Daniel to a broken ankle, Everhart’s three long touchdown runs in the second half were the difference as Tascosa survived a 31-24 victory at Memorial Stadium to advance to next week’s regional round.There, the Rebels (10-2) will face the winner of Saturday’s game between Amarillo High and Colleyville Heritage, also at Memorial Stadium.Plunk has never been enamored with style points, which was especially nice considering the first half against Centennial (5-7). The main point heading into Thanksgiving week is to survive and advance, and the Rebels have proved adept at that.“That’s what we talk about every week,” Plunk said. “The points don’t carry over. You just get to the next round and survive it. We’ll start back over with a new game plan and a whole different approach next week.”The thing is, the approach against Centennial looked an awful lot like the approach against El Dorado, at least insofar as letting Everhart handle the ball and having everybody else get out of the way.Centennial took a 14-10 lead early in the third quarter on Jaheim Ababio’s 21-yard touchdown run after the Spartans took the second half kickoff. That set the stage for Everhart.The Rebels answered back less than two minutes later as Everhart ran 46 yards for a touchdown on a keeper for a 17-14 lead and they never trailed again. It was the first of three long scoring runs by Everhart in the second half, as he ran for 290 yards on 28 carries, including 226 in the second half.Everhart’s proved a quick study in moving from running back to directly behind center.“We just keep getting reps in practice and getting reps in games has helped me a lot,” said Everhart, who has committed to TCU. “I just key on my line and the (defensive) backs on the block. I know they’ll give me a good read. It’s the same thing and not a big change (from being a running back), just run the ball and be the athlete I can be.”The Rebels got a bigger cushion after Michael Ayalew intercepted a deflected pass from Phillip Hamilton and returned it to Centennial territory. That set up a 28-yard scoring run by Everhart to make it 24-14.Centennial cut it to 24-17 on Truitt Bosher’s 31-yard field goal early in the fourth quarter, but 13 seconds later, Everhart scored on a 60-yard run to make it 31-17 which eventually proved to be the difference.The Spartans cut it to 31-24 on Hamilton’s 17-yard run with 7:15 left in the game. Tascosa got the ball at its own 16-yard line after the kickoff, and it was pretty much the Everhart Show after that, as the Rebels drove to the Centennial 10. He carried the ball all but one play on the drive and we stopped on a fourth-and-one with under three minutes left in the game.“If you’ve watched us in the past, there are times I just say we’re going to take the win,” Plunk said. “I’m not going to worry about getting diversified. If we can go move the chains and run the clock out with keeping it in the quarterback’s hands, we’ll do that.”The Spartans made two first downs before the Rebels stiffened defensively. Abrian Humphrey sacked Hamilton for a 14-yard loss and Centennial eventually faced a fourth-and-19. Hamilton threw a desperation pass up for grabs, and appropriately Everhart, playing his “normal” position at safety, knocked it down to preserve the win.Tascosa’s offense was a mere rumor for most of the first half, as the Rebels managed only 71 total yards and three first downs (for the second straight week, the Rebels didn’t complete a pass), all coming by runs by Everhart in the final minute of the half. The Rebels got all their points via their kicking game to take a 10-7 halftime lead.The first three points came when Hudson Farris stormed in to block a punt by Chris Smith and returned the ball to the Centennial 6-yard line. But a false start penalty wiped out a 1-yard scoring run by Everhart and forced the Rebels to settle for Rowen Cabe’s 20-yard field goal 45 seconds into the second quarter for a 3-0 lead.Centennial then put together the only touchdown drive of the half, scoring on Elijah Zeh’s 17-yard run for a 7-3 lead midway through the quarter.That lasted only 13 seconds, as the Rebels showed off their considerable speed. L’Travion Brown took the ensuing kickoff, found a crease in the middle of the field, and cut back toward the sideline to take the ball 91 yards for a touchdown and make it 10-7, the way it stayed through halftime.Tascosa 31, Burleson Centennial 24Centennial 0 7 7 10 — 24Tascosa 0 10 14 7 — 31Second QuarterT – Rowen Cabe FG 20, 11:15BC – Elijah Zeh 17 run (Truitt Bosher kick), 6:29T – L’Travion Brown 91 kickoff return (Cabe kick), 6:16Third QuarterBC – Jaheim Ababio 21 run (Bosher kick), 9:29T – Major Everhart 46 run (Cabe kick), 7:49T – Everhart 28 run (Cabe kick), 4:35Fourth QuarterBC – Bosher FG 31, 10:04T – Everhart 60 run (Cabe kick), 9:51BC – Phillip Hamilton 17 run (Bosher kick), 7:15 Centennial Tascosa First Downs 21 11Rushing 220 313Passing 124 0Total yards 344 313C-A-I 14-24-1 0-1-0Punts.-Avg. 1-36.0 2-36.0Fumbles-lost 1-1 0-0Penalties-yards 8-65 5-60
Individual StatisticsRushing— Centennial: Zeh 16-120, Aidan Hicks 3-(-1), Ababio 10-63, Team 1-(-25), Hamilton 18-73, Malyke Whitted 1-(-10). Tascosa: Everhart 28-290, Jayden Whiteside 3-7, Brown 3-8, Josh Splawn 2-4, Treshun Wilson 1-2, Tayden Barnes 1-2.Passing— Centennial: Hamilton 14-24-1-124. Tascosa: Javen Patrick 0-1-0-0.Receiving— Centennial: Kwab Agyel 3-18, Zeh 1-29, Hicks 5-22, Malyke Whitted 4-34, Ababio 1-21.