LINDALE — James Reese took Gladewater’s second snap of the game, darted and weaved past the defense — running untouched 71 yards.
The junior’s romp put the Bears ahead in very little time, which turned out to be a familiar scene on this night.
Gladewater sprinted to a big halftime lead and cruised the rest of the way to beat Canton 48-0 in a Class 3A Division II bi-district matchup Thursday at Eagle Stadium. The Bears (5-6) scored on their first six drives to take a 34-0 lead into the break, which helped advance them to the area round.
Gladewater takes on Atlanta, which beat Rains in the opening round, at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 22 at Longview’s Lobo Stadium.
The Bears’ performance against Canton (4-7) occurred on a night when District 16-3A dominated its neighbors from 15-3A, which suffered a 52-0 setback when Mineola took on fourth-ranked Gilmer at Trinity Mother Frances Rose Stadium. The combined outcomes gave the “District of Doom” a 100-0 lead over 15-3A entering today’s matchups between Kilgore and Van and Chapel Hill and Athens.
Gladewater, which needed a win over Henderson last week just to reach the playoffs, looked more experienced than a team with only five seniors. The Bears ran for 428 yards on the night and for 267 yards in the first half alone, plus registered a first-half shutout and even scored on special teams.
Gladewater’s Darnell McKnight finished with 10 carries for 133 yards and two touchdowns while teammate Justice Centers added 12 carries for 108 yards and three scores. Marcello Jackson finished with 11 carries for 88 yards and Reece contributed two carries for 75 yards and the TD.
Canton’s Jordan Jackson carried the ball 15 times for 95 yards to lead an offense that finished with only 225 total yards.
In the first period after forcing Canton to punt on the game’s opening drive, Gladewater got the ball at its own 27 and needed only one play for Reese to put his speed on display and take the Bears’ second handoff 71 yards for a TD. Gladewater needed only three plays to score on its second drive, thanks to a 40-yard pass completion and an 18-yard scoring run by McKnight with 2:38 left in the opening quarter.
In the second quarter, the Bears took over the scoring with TD runs of 14 (Centers), 11 (McKnight) and 2 yards (Centers) to help the Bears put the game away before halftime. Centers’ first score capped Gladewater’s longest scoring drive of the game, which spanned eight plays and 80 yards.
Gladewater missed its first three PAT attempts before making its final four.
In the third quarter, Centers added his third score from 31 yards away to cap a five-play drive that began at the Bears’ 49 and increase the lead to 41-0 with less than two minutes off the clock.
In the fourth, Gladewater increased the advantage to 48-0 when quarterback Nick Canaguier crossed the goal line from 1-yard out with 2:27 remaining.
Class 3A Division II Bi-District
At Eagle Stadium, Lindale
Gladewater 48, Canton 0
Canton 0 0 0 0 — 0
Gladewater 10 24 7 7 — 48
GLA — James Reese 71 run (kick failed), 8:28
GLA — Darnell McKnight 18 run (kick failed), 2:38
GLA — Justice Centers 14 run (kick failed), 11:09
GLA — McKnight 11 run (Marcello Jackson kick), 6:33
GLA — Centers 2 run (Jackson kick), 2:29
GLA — Safety, :10
GLA — Centers 31 run (Jackson kick), 10:13
GLA — Nick Canaguier 1 run (Jackson kick), 2:27
First Downs 15 22
Rushes-Yards 38-113 43-428
Passing Yards 122 100
Comp.-Att.-Int. 8-20-1 6-7-0
Punts-Avg. 4-37.5 0-0
Fumbles-Lost 3-1 3-1
Penalties-Yards 9-72 9-57
RUSHING — Canton, Jordan Jackson 15-95, Hunter Moore 4-30, Kolton Landes 6-21, Chandler Eiland 11-(-9) Ryan Slider 1-(-10), Dalton Fritcher 1-(-14). Gladewater, Darnell McKnight 10-133, Justice Centers 12-108, Marcello Jackson 11-88, James Reese 2-75, Cameron Callaway 1-18, Daylon Mack 1-11, Daryl Polk 1-2, Nick Canaguier 4-(-1), Logan Brooks 1-(-6).
PASSING — Canton, Chandler Eiland, 6-18-1—103, Hunter Moore 1-1-0—11, Fritcher 1-1-0—8. Gladewater, Canaguier 5-6-0—100, Blake Guthrie 0-1-0—0.
RECEIVING — Canton, Logan Nace 2-16, Riley Burrus 1-11, Samuel Miller 1-8, Slider 1-6, Brad Wiggins 1-5, Cody Smith 1-6, Jackson 1-(-2). Gladewater, Centers 3-74, Bailey Glenn 1-22, Polk 1-4.