Kevin Hoffman doesn’t know who. All the Mart head football coach knows is that someone made a comment that because the Panthers run a spread offense, they aren’t very physical.
Mart proved them wrong on Thursday night as the Panthers ran for all but 16 of their 458 yards in their 47-6 rout over Crawford in the state quarterfinals at Waco ISD Stadium.
“We can go with three or four different backs,” Hoffman said. “They all block for each other. The receivers are physical out there on the perimeter blocking. It kind of fired us up. I don’t know where it came from. Somebody told us that. These guys wanted to come out and show that tonight. That’s why we ran the ball like we did.”
Quarterback Jace Terry had only four pass attempts for 16 passing yards as the Panthers ran the ball 25 times for 442 yards.
At first it was Tyrek Horne making all the noise in the backfield. After Mart and Crawford each punted on their first possessions, Horne broke through the line of scrimmage and took off for a 62-yard touchdown. A drive later, after carrying it himself for 36 yards to set up the Panther offense at the Pirate 1-yard line, Horne crossed into the end zone to give Mart a 14-0 lead early in the second quarter.
Then it was Shatydrick Bailey’s turn to show off his wheels. Bailey jetted out down the Crawford sideline and, with the Panther offensive line and receivers doing a good job blocking, only one defensive back was left to try and stop Bailey for Crawford. But Bailey was too fast as he zoomed away for a 78-yard touchdown.
Horne finished with 12 carries for 164 yards and two touchdowns, while Bailey added 141 yards off seven carries and two more touchdowns.
When asked who is faster, Horne or Bailey, Hoffman smiled and shook his head before he answered, “You’ll have to ask them. But if I had to bet on somebody, I’d bet on No. 2.”
While Terry didn’t do much through the air, he showed off his speed as the quarterback had six carries for 137 yards and three touchdowns.
The first was a 41-yard touchdown where Terry used some stop-and-go action to make the defense miss before running into the end zone. The second one came as the offensive line seemed to part the Red Sea, and Terry went untouched up the middle for 30 yards. And his final score, of the 55-yard variety, came on the next play after Jermaine Madkins came up with an interception.
“Jace does what Jace has always done,” Hoffman said. “Runs our offense, gets us in and out of the right plays. He’s a special kid just like all these guys are. Jace stepped up. We found something that we felt good about there and we just kept running it. They couldn’t stop it.”
While those three had all the yards for Mart, what won’t show up on the stat sheet is the effort and impressive performance by the Panthers in the trenches. The offensive line paved the way for more than 400 rush yards, while the Panther trio didn’t have any carries for negative yards. Meanwhile, the defensive line gave Crawford all sorts of fits as Garrett Dutschmann led the Pirates with 27 carries for 133 yards, including a 17-yard touchdown in the third quarter.
“They’re a very talented football team,” Crawford coach Delbert Kelm said. “They play very well on both sides of the ball. I think they’re explosive offense sometimes overshadows how good they are on defense. They’ve got so much team speed that you can outrun some mistakes. And there’s no substitute for speed, that’s for certain.”