FOOTBALL PLAYOFF REPORT: Holy Cross rides second-half surge into quarterfinals

Lockhart squelches Brack comeback; Turnovers doom Hornets

AREA TEAMS INCLUDED: Brackenridge, East Central, Harlandale, Holy Cross.


For the second week in a row, Holy Cross overcame a slow start to claim a decisive victory.

The Knights (9-1) trailed at halftime Friday at Harlandale Memorial Stadium, just as they had six days earlier on the same field against Austin Hyde Park Baptist. Arlington Pantego Christian (6-5) watched its two-point halftime lead melt away as Holy Cross cruised to a 43-22 TAPPS Division II bi-district win behind four of senior back Greg Scott’s six touchdowns.

Scott ran for a whopping 397 yards on 38 carries. He has accumulated 900 rushing yards and 15 touchdowns in the the Knights’ last three games.

“What a night,” Holy Cross coach Mike Harrison said. “Those are fantasy football numbers. That’s big time. If you look at what he’s done the last three weeks, it’s amazing.

“Everybody in the whole place knew he was going to get the ball. To do that in a playoff game says a lot about the kid. Not just as a football player and young man but, as a student, he has really grown.”

Holy Cross was the only area team among nine qualifiers to survive the first round of the playoffs.

Pantego Christian established a 14-7 lead in the first quarter. Panthers quarterback Hill Alexander threw a 10-yard touchdown pass to Doc Woodson and ran for a four-yard score. Scott’s first touchdown run was sandwiched between them.

Harrison said Alexander’s playing style reminded him of injured Holy Cross quarterback Cisco Flores. The Panthers senior completed 15 of 29 passes for 194 yards and ran for 106.

“Every play they have is a ‘read’ play,” Harrison said. “(Alexander) is the best quarterback we’ve seen this season. He’s very much like Cisco. He can make plays with his feet and arm.

“Their two slots (Eli Sherrill and Will Boyd) were fanastic athletes. Their tailback (Woodson) was one of the best we’d seen, before he got hurt.”

Scott dashed 59 yards for a tying touchdown 8:35 before halftime. Pantego Christian took a 16-14 lead on a safety before intermission.

“We didn’t play well in the first half,” Harrison said. “We hadn’t seen any thing like (Pantego’s offense) before. To try to put it in during a week of practice, is difficult.

“But the kids were resilient. They stayed with it and they started playing much better in the second half.”

Scott put the Knights in the lead with 58- and 32-yard touchdown runs in the third quarter. He also ran for the two-point conversion after each.

The Panthers closed within 30-16 on a 32-yard pass from Alexander to Boyd, but Holy Cross put the hammer down. Scott recorded his last two touchdowns on runs of 45 and seven yards.

Holy Cross manufactured 434 rushing yards and 462 total yards.

“We had a chance to go up three touchdowns,” Harrison said, “but, to their credit, Pantego Christian bounced back. We have a resilient group of kids. Eventually we just kind of wore them down.”

The Knights will travel to Birkelbach Field in Georgetown Friday for a 7 p.m. state quarterfinal game against Fort Worth Christian (9-2).

“Our hope is that our schedule has gotten us ready for this,” Harrison said. “The two teams we scrimmaged and the three we played in non-district all made the playoffs. It’s a testament to our kids and our coaches that they’ve fought through adversity. I think we’ve done a good job of preparing them for that.

“This is the fourth year we’ve been in this game. It’s time for us to take the next step.”

Fort Worth Christian is led by quarterback Blaze Brownlow, who is expected to play against the Knights after missing the Cardinals’ 20-10 win over Austin Hyde Park because of a concussion. The junior has thrown for 1,305 yards. Freshman back Cade Garcia has run for 475 yards since replacing injured Jack Roberson.

“They’re very talented and very skilled,” Harrison said. “Their offensive line is one of the best we’ve seen. Their defense is hard-nosed and very, very aggressive.”

Lockhart 42, Brackenridge 21

Brackenridge (7-4) pushed across three fourth-quarter touchdowns, but the Eagles (7-4) couldn’t overcome Lockhart’s deliberate, ground-oriented attack Saturday in a Class 5A bi-district game at San Marcos.

The Lions scored the game’s first 28 points behind their two-pronged rushing attack of Curtis Hawkins (183 yards, 31 carries) and D.J. Ellison (132 yards, 11 attempts). The pair combined for four touchdowns.

Stephen Huston also scored to help Lockhart build a four-touchdown cushion. Lockhart gained 394 of its 434 total yards on the ground.

District 28-5A runner-up Brackenridge came back with a vengeance in the final quarter.

Trey Mathis scored on a 10-yard run and Macco Marble (51 yards, 3 receptions) caught a 25-yard touchdown pass from junior quarterback Antonio Lopez (19 of 33, 324 yards) 35 seconds apart in little more than the first minute of the quarter. The Eagles were within 28-14.

A costly interception enabled Lockhart to regain a three-touchdown advantage. Bailey Girouard returned the pickoff 40 yards for a touchdown with 6:40 remaining.

Brackenridge responded, as senior Lee Terrell (107 yards, 6 receptions) got free behind the defense for a 22-yard score at the 4:31 mark. Ellison officially closed the door on the Eagles’ comeback with a five-yard touchdown run with 28 seconds on the clock.

Stevens 51, East Central 22

Six turnovers came back to haunt East Central (6-5) in a Class 6A bi-district loss to Stevens (8-3) Saturday at Gustafson Stadium.

The Hornets also forced four interceptions, but couldn’t cash in enough of them to keep pace with the Falcons as the game wore on. East Central, which tied for first place in District 28-6A, was within 23-14 at halftime and 30-22 midway through the third quarter.

A 35-yard run by sophomore back Jauwan Hall (77 yards, 21 carries), who surpassed the 1,000-yard rushing standard later in the game, set up East Central’s first touchdown. A 14-yard pass from Justin Upshaw-Mendoza to Wanya Ward (138 yards, 11 receptions) gave the Hornets a 7-6 lead.

Stevens scored the next 17 points before East Central junior linebacker Dalton Tarr returned the Hornets third interception 35 yards for a touchdown.

Trailing 30-14, Upshaw-Mendoza (19 of 39, 220 yards) threw a 27-yard touchdown pass to Dallas Polasek (43 yards, 5 receptions). The junior quarterback also threw to Ward for the two-point conversion with 6:51 left in the third quarter.

East Central also recovered the ensuing onside kick and drove to the Stevens 19, but an interception denied it a chance to tie the score. Stevens pulled away with 21 unanswered points.

Alamo Heights 48, Harlandale 17

The Mules (9-2) scored on their first seven possessions Friday at Alamo Heights to win the Class 5A bi-district game against Harlandale (6-5).

Alamo Heights quarterback Dalton Banks completed all 12 passes he attempted for 159 yards and three touchdowns. Banks also ran for two touchdowns.

Harlandale countered with a 32-yard field goal that put the Indians within 21-3 with 1:43 remaining in the first half. The Mules scored twice more before halftime. The touchdowns were separated by just nine seconds.

The Indians reached the end zone with 5:12 left in the third quarter on a three-yard pass from junior quarterback Jacob Delgado (19 of 29, 196 yards) to Noah Avina. Senior back John Aguirre (46 yards, 13 carries) added a one-yard rushing touchdown with 20 seconds remaining.

Vincent Hernandez was Harlandale’s leading receiver with three catches for 68 yards. Jacob Rodriguez hauled in four passes for 51 yards. Ian Martinez had 43 reception yards on three catches.

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