Follett’s Shayne Franks breaks away from Claude defenders on Thursday night. [Sierra Franks/ For Press Pass Sports]
1. Wolverines impress
Springlake-Earth showed why they were a preseason favorite in Region I thanks to an impressive 68-36 road win at Happy on Thursday.
Earth (2-1) spread back Braxton Ethridge turned on his speed that left the Cowboys defense outmatched totaling 359 combined yards and four touchdowns. The Cowboy defense struggled to stop drives and allowed the Wolverines to convert 7-of-12 third down conversions, not to mention 553 total yards.
The Cowboys fall to 2-1 and now travel to face Kress at 7:30 p.m. Friday, followed by a matchup with Division I defending state champion Sterling City.
2. Swifts make a statement
Nazareth put it all together Friday taking care of talented Groom 40-22 at home. The return of Luke Schulte has turned this offense on its head. The junior speed back turned in 116 yards and two touchdowns on 8-of-10 passing, adding 60 yards and one more touchdown. The most impressive part of the Swifts (2-1) effort Friday was their defense. Nazareth did its best containing the Kuehler brothers (Damon and Stephen) and the Tigers, allowing only 22 points for the dangerous offense.
3. Follett becoming favorites
Groom and Follett both came into 2021 ranked in the top 10 in Division II, but after the first three weeks of the season, it’s become evident that the No. 6-ranked Panthers may be the team to beat. While the Tigers have struggled, Follett has thrived jumping out to a 3-0 start. Of course, Shayne Franks catches a lot well deserved attention of the high-powered offense, but don’t forget about the defensive side. Through three weeks, the Panthers have given up just 26 total points. This is no easy feat considering the competition have all been Division I schools.
4. Bucks are on the board
It was no secret that a young White Deer squad started the season on a bit of a skid.
That all changed Friday when the Bucks found the win column by blanking Lefors at home, 46-0. Larson Ketchum was primed and ready to get the ball rolling for the Bucks. The spread back finished his night with 268 all-purpose yards and five touchdowns against the Pirates. White Deer (1-2) gets the win, but will be put to the test once again as they play host to Spur this coming Friday.
5. Shutout streak comes to an end
Wildorado had three days to prepare for Hart after this game was put together Tuesday. The good news is, the Mustangs are 3-0 after handling Hart, 72-24. The bad news, if anyone wants to call it that, is Wildorado allowed points seeing its shutout streak through the first two games come to an end. The Mustangs showed their offensive prowess in the back of senior standout Dustin Bryant. The do-it-all back chewed up Hart for 295 all-purpose yards and three scores. Trey Mathews got in on the action with 185 yards through the air finishing with four touchdown passes.
6. Region I outlook
Just outside of the Texas Panhandle in District 3 and 4 from Division II finds a plethora of skilled teams that could be contenders down the road. After falling to Follett in the area round last season, the No. 10-ranked Anton Bulldogs have started their season 3-0. In that same district we see an upstart Whitharral (2-1) team led by former McLean state champion coach, Clint Linman. Lastly, in District 4, No. 7 Klondike has started 3-0. Klondike lost to Groom in last year’s area round, 62-50.