Carthage quarterback Kai Horton threw for four touchdown passes as the Carthage Bulldogs downed Crandall 52-21 on Friday in a Class 4A Division I regional football playoff game at Christus Trinity Mother Frances Rose Stadium.

The Bulldogs (13-0) advance to the state quarterfinals to meet 9-4 Midlothian Heritage, a 28-0 winner over Palestine on Friday in Hewitt. The site, date and time of the game has not been determined.

Crandall ends its season at 10-3.

On Earl Campbell Field, Carthage rolled up 371 yards of offense to the Pirates’ 227.

Also, the Bulldogs excelled on special teams and defense as Cole Whitlock had a blocked punt return for a touchdown and Miles Halton had two interceptions.

Horton threw TD passes to four different receivers — Kel Williams (10 yards), Kelvontay Dixon (8), Mason Courtney (12) and Montrell Smith (14).

Horton was 17 of 30 for 201 yards and the four TDs. He had an interception.

Courtney led the Bulldogs on the ground with 59 yards and a TD on 13 carries with Kavonte Brown-Hoskins adding 57 yards on four carries.

Dixon had seven catches for 95 yards and a TD.

Crandall QB Holt Reese was 12 of 27 for 112 yards and two interceptions. Damarion Wigenton led the Pirates in rushing with 14 carries for 61 yards. Billy Myers had six receptions for 91 yards.

After the Bulldogs took a 7-0 lead on Williams’ 10-yard reception from Horton and Brennan Phillips’ PAT with 7:31 showing, the Pirates tied things up with 1:20 left in the first quarter. Sammy Omosigho rushed into the end zone from seven yards. Brandon Perez’s PAT made it 7-7.

Carthage outscored Crandall 24-7 in the second quarter for a 31-14 halftime advantage.

The Bulldogs scored the first two TDs of the period with Dixon hauling in an 8-yard pass from Horton, followed by Whitlock’s 22-yard return of a blocked punt. Phillips added both PATs for a 21-7 lead at 9:37 of the second.

The Pirates pulled within 21-14 as Omosigho bulled his way into the end zone from the one. Perez added the PAT with 6:39 to go until halftime.

But Carthage kept the pressure on the Bucs. After a 40-yard field goal by Phillips gave the ‘Dawgs a 24-14 lead with 6:39 on the clock, Carthage struck with 55 seconds showing as Horton threw a 12-yard TD pass to Courtney. Phillips booted the extra point for a 31-14 lead.

The only score of the third quarter was a Courtney 4-yard dash. Phillips added the PAT and the Bulldogs were rolling 38-14 with 11:12 showing in the third.

Carthage scored two TDs in the fourth — Smith’s 14-yard TD reception from Horton at 10:33 and an Anthony Wilson eight-yard gallop at 5:58. Phillips hit both PATs for the 52-14 lead.

The Pirates’ Luke Spitzer ran 27 yards for a TD with 2:41 on the clock. Perez’ PAT made the final score 52-21.

TWITTER: @PhilHicksETFS

TWITTER: @PhilHicksETFS

Sports Editor

I am a native Tylerite and I grew up reading the Tyler Morning Telegraph and The Tyler Courier-Times. My parents took both the morning and afternoon papers. I came to work here 35 years ago at the age of 23, right after college.

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