BULLARD - The Mineola Yellowjackets began what they hope is a long journey in the state football playoffs with a 55-14 victory over the Sabine Cardinals in a Class 3A Division I bi-district playoff game on Thursday.
The Yellowjackets jumped out to a quick 28-0 lead at Panther Stadium on the Bullard High School campus and never looked back.
Star quarterback Jeremiah Crawford played just the first half, rushing for 72 yards and a TD on six attempts. He was 4 of 6 in the passing department for 80 yards with two touchdowns and an interception.
Mineola (9-2) has won nine straight games after dropping its first two games of the season to fellow postseason teams Van and Kaufman of Class 4A.
The Yellowjackets advance to the area round to face Whitesboro next week. The Bearcats (5-6) defeated Dallas Madison 43-13 Thursday night in Little Elm.
Sabine saw its two-game winning streak snapped as the Cardinals concluded their season at 2-9.
Backup signal caller Shaw Franklin played the second half, gaining 118 yards and a TD on the ground on 10 totes.
The Yellowjackets defense also stepped up as Curtis London and Devon Goguen scooped up fumbles and returned them for touchdowns. London's return was for 45 yards and got Mineola on the scoreboard with 10:11 showing in the first quarter.
With 33 seconds showing in the first quarter, Goguen scored on an 8-yard fumble return to give Mineola a 28-0 advantage.
Mineola defenders Seth Hudgins and Cameron Sorenson added interceptions for the orange-clad squad.
Sabine was paced by Glenn George (13-109, TD) and Eli Morris (3-108, TD). Also, T Taylor had an interception and a fumble recovery for the Cards from Liberty City.
Sorenson booted seven PATs for Mineola.
After London's TD to begin the game, Mineola scored three more TDs in the first quarter - Kourtland Sinches on a 45-yard pass from Crawford, Jacob Ford on a 22-yard dash and Goguen's fumble return.
In the second quarter, Ford (16 run), Crawford (17 run) and Michael Drennon (18 pass from Crawford) scored TDs.
Sabine got on the board in the third quarter as Morris scored on a 75-yard fake punt. Josh Trice booted the extra point.
After Franklin found the end zone on a 10-yard run, George rumbled to paydirt on a 72-yarder. Trice's second PAT brought the final to 55-14.