Since a loss on Oct. 3, Grace Community has been crushing its competition, and Friday was no exception.
The Cougars routed Carrollton Prince of Peace 44-12, their third straight win by more than 30 points.
In the win, senior Zach Tatman ran for 215 yards and three touchdowns on 11 carries, adding a 14-yard touchdown reception for a staggering average of 19 yards per touch.
Tatman has been the bell cow for the Cougars (6-2, 4-1 TAPPS D-II District 2) this year, totaling 1,310 yards on the ground on 129 carries. He has half of his team's 34 rushing touchdowns.
"He's made himself into a pretty good football player," Grace coach Mike Maddox said of Tatman. "He's dedicated himself to the weight room and to track and just getting faster and stronger.
"He gets a little better as the game goes on. He can be a pretty punishing runner but he's also deceptive when he gets out in the open."
While he's among the top five backs in East Texas in yardage, Tatman is also second on his team with 289 receiving yards and four touchdowns to go with a team-best 32.1 yards per catch. He went to receiver camps over the summer to improve his athleticism and ability to make catches.
What's more, Tatman has been playing more and more on defense at outside linebacker.
"He's turned into an all around player," Maddox said. "He's just turned into such a good young man."
Tatman and the Cougars will look to keep rolling on Friday with a visit to Dallas Shelton before returning to Tyler to play Bishop Gorman at McCallum Stadium the following week.
TROJANS SECONDARY PLAYING STRONG
All Saints got back in the win column on Friday, ending a two-game skid in the process.
A big part of the Trojans' 35-19 win over Dallas Shelton was the play of their secondary, which produced four interceptions.
Sophomore Nathan Jasper snagged two of the picks while junior Benton Owen and sophomore Trevor Evans each had one.
The All Saints (5-3, 3-2) secondary starts three sophomores and is full of youth, which bodes well for the future. Corner Noah Bain and free safety Jasper start on one side. Junior Jack Hamm and Owen rotate at the other corner while Evans and senior Griffin Greene rotate at the strong safety position.
In a way, the secondary is a microcosm of the Trojans as a whole, who have nine starting sophomores, seven on defense. All Saints starts three seniors.
"We feel like that's kind of the mold for our whole team," All Saints coach Mike Hall said. "Everything we're getting right now, it's the main course and dessert is coming in the future.
"We feel like there's some really good things in front of us. With every game we have, whether it's a win or loss, we're getting better from it."
Part of the success of the secondary comes from All Saints' defensive line, either in stopping the run to force passing situations or getting pressure on the quarterback.
The Trojans will look for more of that against powerful run team Dallas Christian, which hosts All Saints on Friday in Mesquite.
CRUSADERS FALL JUST SHORT
Bishop Gorman was almost there.
A play here or a play there and the Crusaders might have knocked off a perennial power at the district and the state level and all but ensured a return to the playoffs.
Instead, it was Dallas Christian that came through in the end for a 24-21 overtime victory.
"It was extremely close," TKG coach Coby Gipson said. "We felt like we played right with them in offense, defense and special teams.
"Credit to them but also credit to our kids for going toe-to-toe with a team that's a longtime TAPPS power."
In a back-and-forth game, Gorman (6-2, 3-2) had a couple mistakes that proved too costly against the team that has won the last two district titles.
"We gave the ball up in scoring position a couple times — that can't happen," Gipson said. "We talk to our kids all the time, you have to earn the right to win big games and we didn't have the ball security we needed to."
The loss was the second straight for the Crusaders, who started the year 6-0. On Friday they'll look to rebound against a Frisco Legacy Christian team that's 0-5 in league play, but has been in every game it's played thus far.
BIG BLOW FOR BROOK HILL
Seth Brasher is one of the top receivers in the area, with 44 catches for 825 yards. He leads East Texas with 15 touchdown receptions.
However, the Bullard Brook Hill junior and coach's son caught his final pass of the season on Friday in a 45-35 win over Frisco Legacy Christian.
In a game in which he recorded 135 yards and four touchdowns, Brasher injured his leg on his seventh and final catch of the night.
It's a big blow to the Guard offense. Quarterback Grant Hanks has thrown for 1,751 yards and 17 touchdowns, most of them going to Brasher.
Alex Hale and Chase McDermott will be next in line to step up for Brook Hill (5-2, 4-1) in the passing game, which will also hope to rely on Gabe Lucio (712 yards) in the ground game.
Their first opportunity to fill in will be Friday at Prince of Peace in Carrollton.