Texas High clinches district, defeats Hallsville, 21-9
By Matt Paul, Sports correspondent
Nov. 8, 2013 at 6:13 p.m.
TEXARKANA - The Texas High Tigers overcame a sloppy first half and a sloppier field to defeat the Hallsville Bobcats, 21-9, on Friday night at Grim Stadium.
The Tigers clinched the district championship, finishing at 9-1 (5-0 in district). The Bobcats fell to 6-4 (3-2 in district), as both teams await their playoff opponents and destinations next week.
Texas High rode a stout defense that bent often, but never broke. The Tiger offense finally woke up in the third quarter, allowing Texas High to claim its first lead and quickly build on it. Quarterback Dakota Hunter found junior wide receiver Jarion Anderson on a 47-yard pass on the opening drive of the third quarter, setting up the Tigers with a first-and-goal on the Bobcat two-yard line. Three plays later, Hunter punched it in on a one-yard sneak. The touchdown gave the Tigers their first points of the game, putting them on top by a score of 7-3.
The Bobcats answered back with a drive of their own. A Kha'lil Sneed run appeared to put Hallsville in the Tiger red zone, but the play was called back on a holding penalty. An incomplete pass and a sack later, and the Bobcats were forced to punt.
It took Texas High a mere three plays to find the end zone again. Facing a third-and-11, Hunter found fellow senior Taylor Jackson on an out route. Jackson, with some nifty footwork on a field slippery from the week's rainfall, ended up going 81 yards for the score. The Tigers were quickly out to a 14-3 lead.
Hallsville would once again move the ball into Tiger territory, this time all the way down to the 11-yard line. An unsportsmanlike conduct penalty put the Bobcats in a third-and-long, however. The ensuing pass from Macailyn Wilder was intercepted in the end zone.
The Tigers would strike quickly again. Senior tailback Traeveon Walker darted down the sideline for a 59-yard score on the third play of the fourth quarter. The Tigers appeared firmly in command, leading 21-3. Hallsville would not go quietly, though. The Bobcats controlled the ball for most of the fourth quarter, running 30 plays. Wilder would eventually find junior Jamil Young for a 14-yard scoring toss on fourth-and-10. The two-point conversion failed, but the lead was cut to 21-9.
Hallsville would get two more chances with the ball but were unable to score. Oddly enough, the Bobcats outgained the Tigers on the evening, 326-245. Penalties and dropped passes-five drops in the fourth quarter alone-seemed to doom Hallsville on offense. The defense played exceptionally well, save those three big plays that led to Tiger touchdowns, holding Texas High to just seven first downs for the game. The Bobcats tallied eight tackles for loss and another two sacks. Linebackers Tyler Martinez and Dwayne Johnson paced the Hallsville defense, combining for 12 tackles and four tackles for loss.
The Bobcat defense held the Tigers to a paltry two yards of offense in the first half. Hallsville spent much of the first half with favorable field position, but could manage very little against a staunch Texas High defense. The lone score of the half came after Wilder found Travis Teodorczyk on a 36-yard seam route to set the Bobcats up with first-and-goal. Hallsville went backwards from there, but Paden Brown's 30-yard field goal gave the Bobcats a 3-0 lead. Those would be the only points of the first two quarters.
Both Texas High and Hallsville advance to next week's playoffs.