For 24 hours the Tascosa Rebels will stand astride the District 2-6A football world.
From the looks of things Thursday night at Dick Bivins, they have a pretty good chance of staying there.
Using their prototypical ground-oriented attack, the Rebels did whatever they pleased against Midland High in the district opener. They scored on their first two possessions to set the tone for the game en route to rolling to a 63-6 victory.
Tascosa (5-1, 1-0 in district) served notice to the rest of the district that last year's run to a state semifinal wasn't a fluke, as the Rebels won the physical aspect of the game on both sides of the football in no uncertain terms.
"I was extremely apprehensive before the game," said Tascosa coach Ken Plunk, a proclamation which seems silly retrospect. "We got off to a good start and I settled down after that."
It only took the Rebels three plays after the opening kickoff to get into the end zone. Quarterback Joseph Plunk ran for 48 yards on the first play of scrimmage, and two plays later Darius Sanderson scored an on 11-yard run for a 7-0 lead.
Tascosa's defense was at least equal to that standard. On Midland's first possession, quarterback Landry Walls was flushed out of the pocket and had a pass batted in the air which was intercepted by Mitchell Murray at the Midland 24-yard line. Three plays later, Plunk carried it in for a 13-yard score to make it 14-0.
It was yet another signature game for the coach's son operating the flexbone offense, as he ran for 143 yards and two touchdowns on 14 carries, leading an attack that ran for 528 yards.
"(Midland) gave us a front we knew we could run against when we saw it and we took what they gave us and won the game up front," the younger Plunk said. "We know what we can do when we run it. It was won in the weight room."
For the second straight game, both Plunk and fullback Parker Settle ran for over 100 yards. Both of them reached the century mark by halftime, and Settle finished with 121 yards on 11 carries.
It's definitely a case of if it ain't broke don't fix it for the Rebels.
"We run the ball well and that's what we do," coach Plunk said. "We like to play physical and that's our style. We can rely on that even if other things don't work and that's a good thing."
Being physical wasn't just limited to the offense. The Rebels held Midland to 169 total yards, including no yards passing in the first half.
In addition to the interception, the Rebels forced and recovered three fumbles as the Bulldogs (1-5, 0-1) never looked comfortable offensively. Overall, the Rebels looked like they handled the open week before district quite well.
"Coming off a bye week we were so ready to play and we really prepared well for this game," said Tascosa senior defensive end LB Moore, who has committed to Texas Tech and was a major presence in the Midland offensive backfield. "We read their offense really well and knew what we were doing against it."
The Rebels, as is their custom, scarcely threw the ball, as Plunk threw it only three times and completed two. Both went for scores, though, as his first completion was on a quick post to Major Everhart, who caught it at midfield and raced all the way to the end zone for a 62-yard score with six seconds left in the first half to make it 42-0 at halftime.
On Tascosa's first possession of the second half, Plunk hit Brandon Sanders on a 5-yard scoring pass to make it 49-0, effectively ending the night for the first team offense.
Midland finally got on the board with 10 seconds left in the third quarter on Jordan Springer's 2-yard run to make it 56-6. But that score didn't even last for the quarter, as on the first play after the ensuing kickoff, Tascosa's Chance Jones burst up the middle for a 75-yard touchdown run which ended the scoring.
Daniel Garcia was a bright spot for Midland, running for 135 yards.
Tascosa 63, Midland High 6
Midland High 0 0 6 0 — 6
Tascosa 14 28 21 0 — 63
T—Darius Sanders 11 run (Max Burleson kick), 11:13
T—Joseph Plunk 13 run (Burleson kick), 8:56
T—Burleson 11 run (Plunk run), 11:02
T—Anthony Tuttle 16 run (kick failed), 8:45
T—Plunk 2 run (Burleson kick), 4:54
T—Major Everhart 62 pass from Plunk (Burleson kick), 0:06
T—Brandon Sanders 5 pass from Plunk (Burleson kick), 7:20
T—Blake Anderson 8 run (Burleson kick), 6:18
M—Jordan Springer 2 run (run failed), 0:10
T—Chance Jones 75 run (Burleson kick), 0:00
Midland High Tascosa
First downs 10 26
Rushing 127 528
Passing 42 67
Total yards 169 595
C-A-I 3-7-1 2-3-0
Punts-Avg. 5-30.6 1-29.0
Fumbles-lost 3-3 3-2
Penalties-yards 4-21 8-60
RUSHING—Midland High: Landry Walls 7-(-43), Daniel Garcia 34-135, Springer 7-32, R. Abdurazaq 1-3. Tascosa: Plunk 14-143, Parker Settle 11-121, D. Sanders 2-16, Jaiton McMorris 2-14, Tuttle 6-64, Everhart 2-24, Burleson 2-13, Anderson 3-14, Jones 1-75, Ryan Barnett 2-6, Javonte Perry-Gilbreath 1-13, Alex Arredondo 2-31, Jonathan Arredondo 1-(-3), Patrick Spangler 1-(-3).
PASSING—Midland High: Walls 3-7-1-42. Tascosa: Plunk 2-3-0-67.
RECEIVING—Midland High: Jonathan Cajigal 2-21, Nick Baiano 1-21. Tascosa: Everhart 1-62, B. Sanders 1-5.