Sometimes I think I’m like Neo from the Matrix when I’m looking at a list of high school football scores and suddenly a picture emerges from the names and numbers.
I’m sure that Trib sports editor Brice Cherry would insist that I’m not the One, and since he currently has a two-week winning streak in the high school picks box to hold over my head, I’m not going to argue.
Even so, I see a couple of patterns worth noting this week.
First, it’s very apparent that Connally is a second-half team. The Cadets, ranked No. 3 in Class 4A Division II going into Week 4, have outscored their opponents 75-41 in the second half on their way to a 4-0 record.
Throw out the Glen Rose game that Connally led 35-3 at halftime, and the Cadets’ second-half margin jumps up to 75-27.
Last week, Connally scored 14 unanswered points in the fourth quarter to defeat China Spring in the Cougars Stadium. This week, they were locked in a 15-15 tie with Gatesville until the Cadets flew away to a 50-21 victory.
The other trend I noticed this week is that the Midway Panthers don’t seem to thrive on Thursday nights at Killeen’s Leo Buckley Stadium.
For the second straight year, Midway struggled but found a way to win there.
Last season, circumstances dictated that I head down to Killeen on a Thursday night to report on the Panthers district opener against Killeen. Like this year, Midway was a heavy favorite to win that game. Let’s be honest, until someone in the Panthers’ loop beats them and ends their 36-game district winning streak, they’re going to be the overdog every time.
On that night last fall, Midway won the fourth quarter 10-7 to claim a sluggish 13-10 victory. The Panthers went on to post an 8-0 record and won the 12-6A title, while Killeen finished 5-5 and missed the playoffs.
This time around, Midway’s Thursday night foray to Leo Buckley Stadium in Killeen was an even closer call.
The Eagles never actually led the game, but they were knocking on the door in double overtime before the Panthers defense, standing on their own goal line, held Ellison running back Ezekiel Sheridan to one net yard on three carries. The Eagles potential tying field goal went off track when the holder had to scramble to catch the snap and LaCharles Sapp’s kick sailed wide left.
Thus, Midway kicker Bryce Boland’s 31-yard field goal stood as the only points scored in two overtime periods and the Panthers again escaped Leo Buckley with a victory.
Here are a few results that came in late Friday night:
Bruceville-Eddy 37, No. 8 Granger 35 (OT)
In Eddy, Eagles quarterback Trapper Ensor connected with T.J. Jarmon to convert a third-and-14 with a 35-yard touchdown pass to tie Granger in overtime.
That forced a decision. So first-year Bruceville-Eddy coach Kyle Shoppach gathered his team and they opted to go for two. Jarmon made the choice work with a successful two-point run and the Eagles (3-1) celebrated a thrilling OT victory.
“We’re seeing our guys buy into a new coaching staff,” Shoppach said. “We were finally all on the same page last night and our guys just refused to let it slip away.”
Bruceville-Eddy tied the game midway through the fourth quarter when Jarmon broke away for a 53-yard touchdown run and added the two-point run that knotted things at 29.
Jarmon rushed for 80 yards on nine carries and also caught four passes for 75 yards.
Eagles running back Nathan Quattlebaum returned a kickoff 85 yards for a touchdown in the first quarter and went on to rush for 151 yards on 34 carries.
Granger (3-1) came into the contest averaging 50 points per contest, but the Eagles held them to a little more than half of that in regulation.
Troy 44, Hillsboro 21
In Hillsboro, Troy (3-1) raced past the home Eagles in the second half as the Trojans claimed a victory in their final nondistrict tune up.
Troy star running back Zach Hrbacek rushed for 195 yards on 21 carries and scored on a one-yard run in the third quarter that put the Trojans in front 28-14 in the third quarter.
Troy’s Mason Cook returned an interception 60 yards for a touchdown that gave the Trojans an insurmountable 21-point edge going into the fourth quarter.
Hillsboro dropped to 1-3 after losses to Grandview, Whitney and Troy in the last three weeks.
Chilton 28, Axtell 7
In Axtell, Chilton running back Olgario Vasquez churned out 205 rushing yards and a pair of touchdowns on 19 carries to lead the Pirates past the Longhorns.
Chilton (3-1) bounced back from a 31-13 home loss to Bruceville-Eddy last week and the Pirates have now tripled their win total from 2018 when they went 1-10.
Safety J.B. Davis led the Chilton defense with 7 tackles and a 90-yard interception return for a touchdown.
Axtell (1-3) opens district play by hosting Bruceville-Eddy next week.
Eagle Christian 93, Mineral Wells Community Christian 64
In Mineral Wells, Eagle Christian all-purpose back Jonah Williams led the way as the Eagles stormed back from a 24-0 deficit to win and even their record at two wins and two losses this season.
Williams rushed for 269 yards and caught five passes for 125 yards with eight total touchdowns. Alex Kainer pitched in 115 receiving yards on seven grabs and rushed for 100 yards with a TD each way. Eagle Christian quarterback directed traffic as he completed 11 of 18 passes for 258 yards.
The Eagles scored 53 unanswered points to take control of the contest. Eagle Christian’s 93-point tally sets a high school record for the program that is in its first season.
Union Hill 38, Aquilla 30
In Gilmer, Connor McCurdy ran for four touchdowns for the Aquilla Cougars, but Union Hill won the fourth quarter, 16-6, and the Bulldogs prevailed on their home field.
McCurdy gave Aquilla (0-4) the initial lead with a nine-yard touchdown run in the first quarter. He finished with 149 rushing yards on 26 carries and Brandon McIntyre added 94 rushing yards and a TD.
But Union Hill (3-1) seized momentum by scoring 22 points in the second quarter for a 22-18 halftime lead.
McCurdy ran 10 yards for a touchdown to bump Aquilla into a 24-22 advantage in the third quarter, but the Bulldogs won the final round.