CANTON — Both Van and Canton knew before Friday night that they would each represent District 15-3A in the playoffs, but the positioning along with pride still mattered.
Van 4-6 (4-1) won the pride battle with a 35-21 victory. However, the playoff positioning did not exactly fall their way.
District partner Mineola defeated Mabank on Friday, which means Van will face off with No. 3 Kilgore. The game is likely to be in Lindale next Friday at 7:30 p.m.
Van got on the scoreboard first with a Peter Maddox quarterback keeper from 13 yards out after having to punt on the Vandals' first possession.
Maddox struck again to give the Vandals a 14-0 lead with 10:13 remaining in the second period when he connected with receiver Layton Myers for a 28-yard score, and this game looked to be decided early.
Canton 4-6 (3-2) hung tough and even bounced back with a score of its own, initiated from the Eagle defense on a 26-yard Ryan Slider fumble return. That score seemed to give the offense the jolt of energy it needed, as they added a second score in the quarter.
Van's Matt Savis was already in the process of taking over the game by this time, however, as he plunged in from 2 yards out between the two Eagle scores and then added another from 6 yards out with 3:43 remaining in the half.
Savis added the final score of the game on a 10-yard run to put the game away. He finished with 324 yards on 39 carries and three touchdowns.
With the Mineola win over Mabank, Canton will advance to face Henderson. Athens will face Chapel Hill next Friday at Tyler's Trinity Mother Frances Rose Stadium at 7:30 p.m., while Mineola earned the right to take on 3A's top team, Gilmer, with the site and time to be determined.
Dallas Parish Episcopal 37, Grace Community 16
DALLAS — Grace Community missed out on a shot to jump into second place on Friday as the Cougars fell to Dallas Parish Episcopal 37-16.
Grace (7-3, 4-3 TAPPS D-II District 2) had to win by 15 points to leapfrog Parish Episcopal (7-3, 6-1) and Bullard Brook Hill (6-4, 5-2) into second place. Instead the Cougars finished in fourth place and will play Midland Christian on the road in the first round of the playoffs.
Chandler Nutt hooked up with Zach Tatman with a 9-yard pass early in the second quarter to give Grace a 9-7 lead before Parish Episcopal took a 14-9 lead into intermission.
Tatman added a 30-yard scoring run midway through the third to give the Cougars a 16-14 advantage, but it was the last time Grace led.
Bishop Gorman 42,Dallas Shelton 14
CARROLLTON — Bishop Gorman ended its season on a high note with a 42-14 victory over Dallas Shelton on Friday at Prince of Peace's stadium.
The Crusaders (5-5, 3-4 TAPPS D-II District 2) ended the year .500 with a three-win improvement in coach Coby Gipson's second year.
Collin Parks had a 48-yard touchdown run and a 24-yard touchdown reception for Gorman, which led 42-0 midway through the third quarter. Saint also threw a TD pass to Connor Hobbs (31 yards) and ran for a score (2 yards).
Taylor Hurst added two touchdowns runs for the Crusaders.
Texarkana 21, Hallsville 9
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.
Sulphur Springs 47, Marshall 28
SULPHUR SPRINGS — Host Sulphur Springs had the best 1-2 backfield combo in District 14-4A with quarterback Larry Pryor and running back Willy Ivery, and the duo proved it on the field Friday night.
Ivery ran 15 times for 162 yards and four touchdowns, while Pryor had 261 all-purpose yards (201 in the air on 12 of 21 passing with a touchdown and interception) and two rushing scores in a 47-28 victory.
The Wildcats (7-3, 4-1) improved their record to 3-2 at Gerald Prim Stadium and will compete in the Division II round of the playoffs next week. Marshall (3-7, 2-3) will play in the Division I playoff bracket. The Mavs will face Wylie at 7:30 p.m. Friday in Midlothian.
Waskom 56, Hughes Springs 38
HUGHES SPRINGS — In a showdown of unbeatens, Waskom captured the district championship by outgunning Hughes Springs, 56-38.
The Wildcats, who head to the playoffs for the first time in 21 years, used a relentless ground attack to control the clock and grind down the Mustangs. A stable of runners followed an offensive line surge that seemed to grow stronger as the night wore on for 426 yards on 69 carries.
White Oak 38, Jefferson 6
WHITE OAK — The White Oak Roughnecks collared the Jefferson Bulldogs on Friday, closing out the regular season with a 38-6 win.
Roughknecks quarterback Dylan Gale hit 18 of 33 passes for 310 yards. Carr caught seven passes for 97 yards, Michael caught ix for 59 yards and McCurdy caught four passes for 137 yards. Lakin ran 25 times for 161 yards.
White Oak ends the season 9-1 and enters the state playoffs next week.
Athens 56, Brownsboro 13
ATHENS — The Athens Hornets wrapped up an undefeated district run, beating cross-county rival Brownsboro 56-13 on Friday.
Athens (10-0, 5-0) got big nights from a pair of running backs — junior Devin Hall, who finished with 30 carries for 252 yards and two touchdowns and sophomore Logan Fuller who carried 23 times for 215 yards and four TDs. The Hornets finished game with 523 rushing yards.
Athens jumped out to a 28-0 first-half lead on two rushing touchdowns by Fuller on runs of 9 and 1 yards, a 73-yard punt return by Travon Fuller and a 6-yard scoring run by Hall.
The Hornets built a 42-0 lead in the third on TD runs of 2 and 36 yards by Fuller,
Brownsboro (2-8, 0-5) finally found the end zone with 6:04 left in the third on a 55-yard run by Quintus Lee to trail 42-7.
Athens stormed back to make it 50-7 on a 4-yard Hall TD.
Brownsboro scored again early in the fourth on a 32-yard pass from Jared Bragdon to Caleb Seale.
Athens closed out the scoring on an 8-yard run by Kynden Crist.
Malakoff 56, Winnsboro 8
MALAKOFF — The Malakoff Tigers claimed a share of the District 7-2A, Division I championship Friday night with a 56-8 thumping of the Winnsboro Red Raiders.
The win, coupled with Eustace's 26-22 upset of Lone Oak, also gave the Tigers, who improved to 9-1, the district's top playoff seed.
Winnsboro, which fell to 7-3, and the Tigers were both 5-1 in district. Malakoff's lone loss was to Lone Oak, which finished district play 4-2.
After trailing briefly 8-7, the Tigers reeled off 49 unanswered points. They were up 28-8 at the half.
Damontes Dowell rushed for 168 yards and two touchdowns on 18 carries for the Tigers. Marcus Dowell added 73 yards and three touchdowns on nine carries.
Sheyan Thompson scored Winnsboro's lone touchdown on a one-yard run to cap and 85-yard drive. The score put Winnsboro up 8-7 with 9:10 left in the opening quarter.
Nacogdoches 47, Lindale 28
NACOGDOCHES — Nacogdoches attempted just two passes, but the running game made up for it in a 47-28 win over Lindale on Friday night.
In the first quarter alone, Nacogdoches running back Coronado Tolbert had over 100 yards. By the end of the game, he finished with 311 yards rushing and five touchdowns on 36 carries.
Quarterback Bryce Matthews added another 38 yards and Ronnie Roberts grinded out another 43 yards on the ground.
Lindale also enjoyed success running the football with Aaron Johnson totaling 172 yards on 21 carries. Eagles quarterback David Slice also passed for 169 yards and four touchdowns.
The scoring opened quickly enough, with Lindale scoring on a 39-yard pass from Slice to Nathan Evans for a touchdown with 9:24 left in the first quarter.
Nacogdoches responded on the next drive, scoring on a 1-yard rush for a touchdown to even the score at 7-7.
The game would ping-pong back and forth for most of the first half.
By the end of the first quarter, the score was tied 14-14, following Lindale's 43-yard pass for a touchdown and another rushing touchdown from Tolbert.
The second quarter continued this back and forth trend, with Nacogdoches sneaking out to a six-point lead before the half at 34-28.
Nacogdoches opened the second half by scoring with another rushing touchdown from Tolbert to raise its lead to 40-28 with 7:31 remaining in the third quarter.
Frankston 23, West Rusk 12
FRANKSTON — Frankston earned a trip to the playoffs with a 23-12 District 10-2A win over West Rusk on Friday.
All four of Frankston's (4-6, 4-2) wins came in district to join the postseason party.
West Rusk (2-8, 1-5) took the first lead in the game on a 20-yard TD run by George Anthony, but the PAT attempt was blocked Frankston's Jerod Thomas returned it 95 yards to make the score 6-2.
The Indians upped their lead to 10-6 early in the second on a 2-yard scoring run by Ozzie Buckner and a two-point conversion by Daniel Gresham.
Frankston found the end zone again with 4:39 left in the quarter on a 3-yard run to go up 17-6.
West Rusk made it 17-12 at halftime following a 45-yard TD run by Anthony.
Frankston blanked West Rusk in the second half while adding an insurance touchdown.
Tatum 35, Harmony 23
TATUM — Jaylen Shans' pick-six with 1:07 remaining sealed the win and a perfect regular season for Tatum as the Eagles held on for a 35-23 win over Harmony.
Harmony trailed 28-23 late in the contest after Micah Ross connected with Tim McCoy for a 25-yard touchdown pass. After holding Tatum and forcing a punt, the Eagles took over at their own 1-yard line following a Dusty Richardson punt.
Shans picked off Ross and returned it 14-yards for the score to make the final 35-23.
The Eagles enter the playoffs at 10-0 (5-0 in District 9-2A Division I) with Harmony (7-3, 3-2) also going to the playoffs.
Longview 41, Rockwall 7
ROCKWALL — Travin Howard returned the first punt of the contest 46 yards to paydirt and Longview never looked back, building a 27-0 halftime lead en route to a 41-7 win over Rockwall to wrap up an undefeated run through District 12-5A and capping a 9-1 regular season.
After sealing up the 12-5A crown this past week, King was looking for his team to continue its momentum heading to next week's postseason opener against Rowlett at 4 p.m. Saturday at Kincaide Stadium in Dallas.
Dezmond Chumley finished 7-for-8 for 77 yards, including a two-yard scoring toss to Jordan Whitaker and a 19-yard pass to Stephon Anthony – who led the Lobos recievers with 67 yards on two hauls.
After missing two games with an ankle injury, junior running back JaMycal Hasty picked up seven yards on his first touch in nearly three weeks and finished with 119 on the ground and hauled in two passes for 25 yards.
Defensively, Troy Daniels and Jhavaurian Moore had interceptions for the Lobos (9-1, 6-0) and Roderick Alexander scooped a fumble. Rockwall (5-5, 3-3) was held to 135 total yards.