BROWNWOOD — Chalk up a playoff berth for the China Spring Cougars.
China Spring did what it had to do, outgunning Brownwood, 47-34, on Friday night to nab the final playoff spot from District 5-4A Div. I.
The Cougars (5-5, 1-3) picked up their only district win in the process, but it was a big one, as instead of them sitting at home for the playoffs, that dubious distinction now falls to Gatesville, which lost to La Vega in its season finale.
China Spring trailed 34-32 entering the fourth quarter, but came up with the plays it needed down the stretch. The Cougars went ahead on Erik Hart’s 1-yard TD plunge with 6:18 to play, then added an insurance score on quarterback Brayden Faulkner’s 13-yard keeper with less than a minute to go.
Hart provided the pulse for the China Spring offense yet again, recording five touchdown runs in all.
Despite the defeat, Brownwood (4-5, 1-3) is also playoff-bound, though it’ll be the No. 4 seed while China Spring will be the No. 3 seed from the district, thanks to Friday’s win. China Spring will face Fort Worth Benbrook in the bi-district round at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 16 at Waxahachie.
Killeen 55, Waco High 17
The Kangaroos blazed to a season-ending victory behind the dynamic play of Blaze Albino, handing the Lions their ninth straight loss to close the season at Waco ISD Stadium.
Waco High (1-9 overall, 0-8 in 12-6A) did not defeat a 6A foe in this first season under new coach Kwame Cavil, as the Lions’ only win came in the season opener against crosstown Waco ISD rival University.
Albino ensured that Waco High wouldn’t close the year as a spoiler by scoring three first-quarter touchdowns – on a 51-yard run, a 2-yard run and a 55-yard catch off a trick-play double-reverse pass. Killeen (5-5, 4-4) was trying to claim the fourth and final playoff spot in 12-6A, but was denied that spot when Copperas Cove defeated Temple.
Randy Carpenter ran valiantly for the Lions in the loss. He set up the team’s first touchdown with a long 60-yard jaunt, which was finished off by Davion Long, and later Carpenter added a 6-yard TD late in the second quarter.
Midlothian 45, University 12
MIDLOTHIAN — Midlothian built a comfortable lead by halftime in sending the Trojans to a loss in their season finale in a Thursday night battle.
Tate Corbin threw for a touchdown and ran for one in the Panthers’ victory. Midlothian’s defense also flew around the field with energy, and picked off a University pass for a 35-yard return for a touchdown by Ethan Lemley in the second quarter.
University’s Emilio Arechiga found Amari Gibson on a 19-yard scoring strike late in the first quarter, but the Panthers erupted for three second-quarter TDs to build a 35-6 halftime lead. The Trojans (3-7, 2-6 in 5-5A Div. II) added a late score in the fourth quarter on Shelby Lee’s 7-yard scamper.
Arechiga finished 7-of-14 for 94 yards.
Lorena 64, Mexia 9
MEXIA — The Leopards put the finishing touches on the outright District 8-4A Div. II championship with a throttling of the Blackcats.
Lorena (9-1, 5-1) had its running game clicking in high gear, as A.J. Bell, A.J. Brem and Bradley Lina all had first-half TD runs in rolling out to a 43-0 lead by intermission.
That allowed the Leopards to rest their starters later in the game. Mexia closed out a tough season at 2-8 and 0-6.
No. 6 Clifton 41, Rogers 8
In a game that was moved to McGregor due to unplayable field conditions in Clifton, the sixth-ranked Cubs looked right at home.
Clifton completed a perfect 10-0 season with a thumping of the Eagles, making the Cubs the outright champions of District 8-3A Div. II at 4-0.
Mason Brandenberger and Riley Perry kept the running game buzzing for Clifton. Brandenberger ran 11 times for 124 yards and a touchdown, while Perry toted 16 times for 105 yards and a score.
Brandenberger also showed a strong arm, hitting 10 of 19 passes for two touchdowns. T.J. Ferch had six grabs for 112 yards and a score, and electrified the crowd with a 91-yard kickoff return to start the second half that led to Alfredo Rodriguez’s 2-yard scoring run.
Coolidge 56, Penelope 6
PENELOPE — Jordan Brown scooted his way to three first-half touchdowns as the Yellowjackets stung the Wolverines by the mercy rule.
Senior Jason Miller hit paydirt three times for Coolidge (7-1 overall, 2-1 in 11-1A Div. I), twice on passes from Skylar Hayes and another time on a run late in the second quarter. Coolidge is playoff-bound as the second seed behind Milford out of 11-1A.
Penelope closes out its season at 4-6 overall and 0-3 in district.
Aquilla 46, Abbott 0
AQUILLA – This matchup always ranks as one of the top six-man catfights in the area, and this time the Cougars blanked the Panthers to finalize their spot in the playoffs.
Jacob Felan scored four touchdowns for Aquilla (5-5 overall, 3-1 in 10-1A Div. I), which will advance as the district’s No. 2 seed behind champion Blum. Felan had TD runs of 45, 41 and 16 yards, and also nabbed a 15-yard scoring catch from Zack Winder.
Winder chipped in a pair of TD runs himself, carrying six times for 108 yards, while Felan had four carries for 98 yards. Conner McCurdy had a massive night defensively with 11 tackles, a forced fumble and three fumble recoveries.
Aquilla will face New Castle in the 1A bi-district round, 7:30 p.m. Nov. 16 in Strawn.
Abbott (4-5, 1-3) struggled to move the ball, averaging 1.3 yards on its 28 plays.
Austin Veritas 49, Vanguard 0
AUSTIN — Mighty Veritas clinched the TAPPS Six-Man District 2-I title with a mercy-rule blanking of the Vikings.
Luke Wilson hit on 9-of-18 for 102 yards and an interception for Vanguard (7-2, 4-1), which moved all the way to the Veritas 1-yard-line, but could never punch it in for a score. The Vikings were partially undone by turnovers.
However, they’ll still be moving on to the TAPPS playoffs, and will host either Houston Emery-Weiner or Katy Faith West on Nov. 17.
Parkview 65, Haslet Legacy 19
The Pacers started their defense of their TCAF six-man state title in style, with typically prolific passing and stout defense as well.
Timmy Skains was big-time defensively with nine tackles and a fumble recovery, as well as a 70-yard punt return. Josiah Noble led the running game with 85 yards and two touchdowns, and Parkview’s passing attack was on point again. Ian Guerrero hit 7 of 12 for 158 yards and three TDs, while Braeden Arp had 92 yards receiving and a pair of TDs.
Parkview (5-6) moves on to the second round of the TCAF playoffs next week.