From Staff Reports

ROYSE CITY — In a span of 3 minutes and 13 seconds, the Gladewater Bears seized control of their Class 3A Division I area showdown against No. 9 Grandview with a 21-0 outburst en route to a 49-21 victory Friday at Royse City ISD Stadium.

After a Grandview touchdown trimmed the Bears’ lead to 21-7, Gladewater (9-2) capped off a methodical, time-consuming drive with a Za Campbell 15-yard touchdown run to make it 28-7 with 1:11 left in the first half.

On the next play from scrimmage, Gladewater’s Tyrone Maddox intercepted Grandview quarterback Ryder Hayes, and, a couple plays later, the Bears were in the end zone again on a 20-yard touchdown pass as Gladewater pushed its lead to 35-7 at halftime.

Then the Bears officially put the game out of reach by scoring 2 minutes and 2 seconds into the third quarter when D.J. Allen scored his third touchdown of the night, this one on a 34-yard reception, to give Gladewater a 42-7 lead.

With the Bears already holding a 14-point lead, the 21-point barrage to close the first half and open the second half was a knockout blow that Grandview (9-3) couldn’t recover from.

Grandview’s offense got off to a painfully slow start as the Zebras went three-and-out on each of their first four drives of the game. With Grandview’s offense sputtering, Gladewater’s offense was firing on all cylinders from the get-go behind the playmaking of Allen, who holds numerous Division I offers, and Campbell.

After Grandview went three-and-out on the game’s initial possession, the Bears quickly took a 7-0 lead when Campbell scored less than 3 minutes into play on an 18-yard run.

Following another Grandview three-and-out, Allen showcased why he will be playing on Saturdays in the near future as he beat the entire Grandview defense for a 45-yard touchdown run to give the Bears a 13-0 lead with 6:33 left in the opening quarter.

After Grandview’s third straight punt, the Zebra defense came up with its first stop of the game, forcing a Gladewater turnover on downs at the Zebra 32. However, Grandview’s offense still couldn’t find any success as they were forced to punt the ball right back to the Bears early in the second quarter.

At the end of the first quarter, Gladewater had nearly 130 yards from scrimmage while Grandview had just 13 total yards.

Grandview’s defense appeared poised for another much-needed stop as the Zebras had Gladewater in a third-and-10 situation, but the Bears pulled off a throwback pass to Allen, who raced 74 yards down to the one-yard line. A play later, Allen scored on a one-yard run for a 21-0 lead with 9:14 left in the second quarter.

The Zebras finally showed some life on the next possession. After a 42-yard run by Casey Cannon, Kason English scored on a one-yard run to get Grandview on the board and make it a two-score game at 21-7 with 7:28 left in the first half.

But with Grandview trying to steal some momentum and make it a game, Gladewater went on an impressive drive that lasted more than 6 minutes and was capped off by a Campbell touchdown run, laying the groundwork for the Bears’ game-clinching 21-0 outburst.

Grandview’s Nathaniel Vargas hauled in an 11-yard touchdown pass from Hayes in the third quarter to make it 42-14. Gladewater answered back on a five-yard touchdown run by Kollin Lewis to make it 49-14.

With just over 2 minutes left in the fourth quarter, Hayes connected with English for a 78-yard touchdown pass to produce the final.

Gladewater advances to the Class 3A Division I Region II semifinals against Mount Vernon (12-0). Grandview’s season ends before the regional semifinals for the first time since 2016.

Allen rushed for 99 yards on 11 carries and caught three passes for 138 yards. Campbell rushed for 78 yards on 16 carries and G’Braylon Polly had 65 yards on 13 carries.

Lewis completed both of his pass attempts for 108 yards, and Kyron Wilson was 2-for-2 for 50 yards and a pair of scores.

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Sports editor

I've covered sports in East Texas since 1987, starting as a 21-year-old sports editor at the Kilgore News Herald before spending seven years at the Lufkin Daily News and the past 23 years at the Longview News-Journal.