GRANDVIEW — If Friday night is any indication, Grandview quarterback Zach Smith is going to look just fine in green and gold.
The Baylor-bound signal-caller had a field day in a showdown of District 9-3A unbeatens against West, throwing for 419 yards and four touchdowns and adding two scores on the ground while pushing his team to a 59-42 win at Zebra Stadium.
“They have so many weapons, and it starts with No. 11,” West coach David Woodard said. “He can make any throw at any time. Any little mistake, he can make it seem like a big one. It’s tough to defend them. They’re a really good offensive team.”
In a game that lived up to its hype as an expected shootout, Grandview did its best Baylor impression with 738 yards of total offense and jumped out to a 28-7 lead before answering every time West challenged in the second half.
“We came out and we didn’t play very well in the first half,” Woodard said. “We made some mistakes. We drove down the field the first time, but we left some points on the board. You can’t let a team that caliber jump on you like that because they’re really good and it’s hard to play catch-up.”
Earnest Crownover did his part on the ground for the Zebras (7-0, 3-0) with 233 yards and a touchdown, while Smith spread the ball around to seven different receivers. John Nash led the group with 125 yards and a touchdown, a 70-yarder on a quick pass in the flat that gave the Zebras their largest lead of the night at 45-21 with 1:52 to go in the third quarter.
Mason Tobola did all he could to keep the Trojans in the game with 336 yards and three touchdowns through the air, and he picked up a team-best 57 yards on the ground.
But they were never able to get back on even footing after being stopped on fourth down on their first series and a series of penalties — most of which were false starts — that derailed other possessions before they could ever get started. “I think some of it’s nerves, I think some of it is we’re excited about some things and we’ve got some new guys in there with some injury,” Woodard said. “I’m proud of the guys, the way they played. They battled back in the second half and worked hard. We’ll go back to work and try to get one next week.”
Quentin Dancer also put on a show for the Trojans.
The 3A state champion in the 100-meter dash last spring showed off that speed on the opening kickoff, when he hit a seam and sailed into the end zone from 78 yards out. He also caught four passes for 100 yards and two touchdowns and ran for another score.
Bailey Horn, who has been Tobola’s favorite receiver all season, caught 10 passes for 168 yards and two trips to the end zone.
The Trojans came into the game allowing 12 points per game defensively, and they had chances to get off the field.
But that’s when the Zebras turned to their screen game, either a throwback to a receiver or a dump-off to the running back, to pick up first downs and keep the chains moving.
“Their screen game was really good tonight,” Woodard said. “They took advantage of our aggressiveness, and it paid off for them.”
The loss knocked the Trojans from the top spot in the district, but they are still in strong position to live their dreams of a playoff berth.
“We told them tonight it was going to take 48 minutes, and we didn’t quite play all 48,” Woodard said. “The message is we still think we’re a good football team, and we’re going to go back to work, get some things taken care of and hopefully be ready to go next week.”
Even when the Zebras had a 24-point lead, the game was far from over.
Dancer ran straight down the seam and hauled in a perfect pass from Tobola for his second receiving touchdown of the game, a 49-yarder.
The Trojans (6-1, 2-1) got their only break of the game on the Zebras’ next drive, when Horn undercut a Grandview receiver to pick off a Smith pass. That turned into a 13-yard Dancer touchdown run on an end around, and the Trojans were back within 10 at 45-35 with 8:06 to go.
West went for an onside kick, but the Zebras recovered and went to their ground game.
Crownover popped a 32-yarder to get the drive going and capped it three plays later on an 11-yarder to restore the three-score lead.
West again answered, when Horn fought off a defender for a 31-yard score on a fade down the left sideline, but the Zebras put it away when Smith surged into the end zone with 4:10 to go.
The Trojans will look to rebound when they welcome Whitney to their home field next Friday.