BUDA — China Spring’s power surges typically turn out the lights on the other team.
The Cougars used an electric second-half burst to dim Somerset, 43-35, in the Class 4A Division I area playoffs on Friday night at Hays Consolidated’s Bob Shelton Field.
China Spring (9-3) moves on to face district rival Liberty Hill (9-2) in the regional semifinals next week. The teams waged a classic battle when they met in district play on Nov. 3, with Liberty Hill escaping with a 59-58 win.
Somerset and China Spring matched each other score for score in the first half. China Spring displayed an ability to both grind out drives and carve up yardage in a hurry. Case in point: After falling behind 21-7 midway through the second quarter, the Cougars struck in a big way when Cayden Johnson launched a bomb to Steven Russo on an 80-yard touchdown connection that brought China Spring within a TD.
Then, on China Spring’s next possession, Johnson broke loose on a 19-yard TD scamper to tie the game at 21 heading into halftime.
Despite the presence of BYU commit Zadock Dinkelmann at quarterback, Somerset (9-3) scored all three of its first-half TDs on short runs inside the Cougar 10-yard-line.
In the second half, China Spring made its move. Erik Hart squirted free on a 12-yard TD run at the 9:54 mark of the third quarter, and then four minutes later Johnson found big-time playmaker Tyrick James on a 70-yard pitch-and-catch for the TD. Johnson also had another touchdown bomb to Russo in the fourth, on a 40-yard strike.