MESQUITE — Make way for the Mart train, because it will run you over.
The two-time defending state champion Panthers continued their postseason dominance by mauling Detroit, 53-0, on Friday night in the Class 2A Division II area playoffs.
Roddrell Freeman and Keishawn Clater served as the lighter fluid for Mart’s fiery running game, as both scored three touchdowns. Freeman had TD runs of 19, 7 and 25 yards, while the game-breaker Clater zipped in from 28, 64 and 55 yards away.
When Mart (9-3) needs to throw the ball, it can do that, too. Kyler Martin tossed a pair of scoring passes for the Panthers, a 9-yard strike to Klyderion Campbell and a 58-yard highlight to Da’marion Medlock.
Meanwhile, Mart’s defense pocketed its fourth shutout of the season. It also blanked Riesel, Meridian and Wortham in the regular season.
The Panthers will face Grapeland in next week’s Region III-2A Div. II semifinals 2 p.m. Friday at Fairfield.
Whitney 27, Franklin 7
BELTON — Kolby Tanner ran into the Lions’ den and came out unscathed, helping the Wildcats to a Class 3A Division I area-round triumph.
Early on, each team’s own mistakes paved the way for the other’s first score. Whitney (11-1) lost the ball on a backwards pass, and Franklin recovered and returned to the Wildcat 4. Bryson Washington punched it in on a 4-yard TD run from there to put the Lions up 7-0.
But Franklin (7-4) had its own trouble later in the first quarter when it fumbled a punt in the end zone, and Whitney’s Mason Wooten swooped in to fall on the ball for the TD.
Finally, Whitney started getting its passing attack on track to pull away. Devin Wilson found Tanner for a 71-yard gain early in the second quarter that took the ball to the Franklin 9-yard-line. One play later, Wilson hit Tanner from that distance for the score.
Four minutes later, it was Garrett Peacock on the passing end for Whitney, and his 48-yard bomb to Tanner made it 18-7, Wildcats.
In the second half, Whitney padded the lead when it scored on a safety after blocking a Franklin punt out of the end zone. Then the Wildcats added an insurance TD when Wilson found Jaxon Montgomery on a 9-yard route.
Whitney’s run continues to the regional round, where it will face Troy next week at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Midway's Panther Stadium in Hewitt.
No. 6 Troy 50, Crockett 33
COLLEGE STATION — Zach Hrbacek scored more touchdowns than he has vowels in his full name.
Hrbacek hit paydirt five times to fuel the Trojans to a comfortable win over Crockett in the Class 3A Division I area playoffs. The junior running back had TD runs of 24, 1, 49, 52 and 20 yards as Troy (11-1) kept the ball moving all night.
Crockett (9-3) actually led 26-22 at the half, and went up 33-29 on Allen Horace’s third TD catch of the night. The Bulldogs took that lead into the fourth quarter.
But Hbracek took off from 52 yards out on the first play of the fourth, and Troy promptly capitalized on a Tyler Jarolik fumble recovery to get the ball back again. That set up a 9-yard TD Sam Jones score that made the score 42-33, Troy.
And Jarolik wasn’t done. His interception of a Crockett pass set up Troy’s final score of the night, a 20-yard TD Hrbacek run. Next up for Troy will be Whitney in an all-Centex regional round.
No. 7 Sunnyvale 28, Mexia 17
ATHENS — The undefeated Raiders rode the arm of quarterback Tripp Mcada to a Class 4A Division II area-round victory over the Blackcats.
Mcada chucked three touchdown passes in the victory for Sunnyvale (12-0), which advances to play No. 1 Pleasant Grove in next week’s regionals.
Mexia (7-4) was right in it much of the way, and trailed only 14-10 at the half. But midway through the third quarter, Mcada connected with Noah McGill on a 26-yard touchdown pass to push the score to 21-10. It was the second time on the night that Mcada and McGill had hooked up.
Then just after the fourth quarter began Mcada finished off a scoring drive by hitting his brother Max on a 12-yard TD that pushed the gap to 28-10.
The Blackcats trimmed the gap to 28-17 on Jaden Proctor’s 35-yard heater to Trey Holdman with 5:09 to play. But Mexia’s comeback ended there, as the Blackcats couldn’t overcome some of their self-inflicted mistakes, like dropped passes.
Gunter 27, Clifton 14
WAXAHACHIE — Gunter scored three touchdowns in the second quarter to take control, and ultimately ended the Cubs’ season in the Class 3A Division II area playoffs.
After Mason Brandenberger opened the second quarter with a 7-yard TD pass to TJ Ferch for Clifton (8-4), the score was all tied at 7. But the Tigers (11-1) made some big plays in the ensuing minutes.
Hudson Graham hit Clayton Reed on a 27-yard touchdown pass, only 39 seconds after Ferch’s TD. Three minues later, Gunter got the ball back and Graham aired it out again, this time finding Payton Lowe on a 50-yard bomb to the house.
Then Gunter added the dagger with 32 seconds before halftime, as Graham tossed his third TD pass of the quarter, a 9-yard hookup with Lowe that made the score 27-7 at the break.
Ferch had another big day in the loss for Clifton, making nine catches for 177 yards and two TDs.
No. 1 Falls City 41, Chilton 7
BUDA — The top-ranked Beavers dammed up the Pirates’ playoff voyage behind the furious running of Brady Lyssy.
Lyssy went for a 61-yard touchdown on the first play from scrimmage for Falls City (11-1), and never really slowed down. He routinely seemed to break off six or seven yards before the first wave of Chilton tacklers touched him, and finished with five TD runs on the night.
Falls City advances to face Granger in the regional round.
Chilton’s Daylon Ford scored his team’s only touchdown on a hard-nosed run early in the second quarter, but the Pirates couldn’t sustain that kind of forward progress. Still, it was a resurgent season for the Pirates (7-5), who made a six-win improvement over last season.
Giddings State School 64, Vanguard 33
BUCKHOLTS — Giddings State School closed out the Vikings’ run in the TAPPS six-man playoffs.
Marlow Welch threw for a pair of touchdowns for the Vikings (7-5), one to Dalton Sawyer and another to Dalton Latham. Welch also had a TD catch on a throw from Austin Burch.