Big Country Rewind: Dublin moves past Palmer, Jackets beat Paris
Several of Friday’s area playoff games in the Big Country were blowouts, but one was decided by a lone touchdown: Dublin vs. Palmer.
Yet, this one wasn’t close for the majority of the game.
Dublin went to halftime with a 27-7 lead before Palmer’s offense woke up and the game turned into a shootout. Still, the Lions’ 20-point halftime margin proved wide enough for them to advance to the regional semifinals with a 41-34 win.
After a somewhat disappointing end to the regular season — losing 40-39 to Eastland in the unofficial district title game — the Lions have come into the playoffs with the right amount of intensity. Quarterback Chris Teten has led Dublin past Callisburg and Palmer and will now lead his team to rougher waters.
The Lions match up against Gunter, 3A Division II’s defending champion, in the regional semifinals. Gunter is 12-0 and most recently beat Millsap 62-12 in the area round.
For reference, Dublin lost 44-41 to Millsap.
Stephenville beats Paris
Winning by 12 points, Stephenville played its closest game of 2021 in the area round. The Yellowjackets improved to 12-0 with a 22-10 win over the Wildcats.
It was a rare defensive battle for the Yellow Jackets, as they went to halftime leading 6-3. They found more life in the second half, scoring two touchdowns to escape with a win — one likely closer than Stephenville expected.
The play that was the clincher was Ryder Lambert’s 63-yard haul to wide receiver Reece Elston. It was a one-score, 16-10 game before that, but Elston’s grab put Paris away for good.
Lambert finished the night at 11 of 22 for a total of 228 yards.
Elston led receiving with 125 yards on six catches and a touchdown.
Julian Iribarren had 110 rushing yards on 20 carries and a touchdown for the Jackets.
After a low-scoring area game, Stephenville plays Argyle (11-1) in the regional semifinals. The Eagles beat Kennedale 27-3 in their area game to set up what will be one of the most anticipated games of the 4A Division I playoffs.
The Jackets will play the Eagles at 7 p.m. Friday at Vernon Newsom Stadium in Mansfield for the regional semi-final title. Tickets are $8 for adults and $6 for students and available for purchase online at ticketspicket.com
Jim Ned wins after big second half
Up 21-14 at halftime, Jim Ned had played one of its closest two quarters of the season against Muleshoe.
The second half, however, was all Indians.
Jim Ned outscored Muleshoe 28-6 in the final 24 minutes, punching its ticket in the regional semifinals.
There, the Indians will meet traditional power Brock, which swept by River Road 54-8.
Jim Ned won this same matchup 19-16 in 2020, on its way to the Class 3A Division I championship.
Jim Ned outgained Muleshoe 525-300, holding the Mules below 50% passing.
Unsurprisingly, Xavier Wishert had another head-turning performance in Jim Ned’s backfield. The senior ran for 327 yards and four touchdowns. His longest run was a 99-yard touchdown in the second half.
The 12-0 Indians have their toughest test of the season in round three.
Brock is the No. 2 team in 3A Division I in the regional semifinals.
In the 2A Division I playoffs, Cisco and Coleman had no trouble with their round-two opponents.
Cisco won 69-21 over a good Panhandle squad. The Loboes ran for 622 yards and nine touchdowns/
With 334 yards and three touchdowns, Hunter Long was Cisco’s leading rusher. Long also threw a touchdown pass to tight end Dawson Hearne.
In their first two playoff games, the Loboes’ offense has exploded, combining for 124 points. The level of difficulty increases significantly in round three, however, as Cisco faces an undefeated New Deal squad.
The Lions edged Forsan, 28-24.
Coleman posted a 43-0 shutout of Post, which played in the 2020 state final, to move on.
The Bluecats outgained Post 395-203 and forced three turnovers. Jadin Jackson and Devinar Roberson both scored three total touchdowns a piece.
Coleman will get Hawley in the regional semifinals. Hawley also cruised to a round-two win, scoring 40 points in the first half to beat Sundown.
Jayton outlasts Loraine with big second half
Friday’s battle between Jayton and Loraine was a low-scoring one — something rare for six-man playoff games.
Loraine led 8-6 at halftime before Jayton’s normally-potent offense found its groove. The Jaybirds outscored Loraine 28-0 in the second half to win 34-14 to advance to the Region II final.
Jayton will see Motley County in the regional final. The Matadors are 13-0 and earned an impressive 68-44 win over Balmorhea in the regional semifinals.
Aside from Jayton-Loraine, none of the other Big Country six-man playoff games were close.
In the battle of the Greyhounds, Strawn — 1A Division II’s No. 2 team — had no trouble with Throckmorton, winning 61-8. Meanwhile, Gordon cruised to an 82-37 win over Gold-Burg to seal its spot in the Region III final.
Strawn and Gordon will play against each other in the Region III final in Dublin on Wednesday. It will be a rivalry game, as just 8.3 miles separate Strawn and Gordon.
May also cruised in the second round, beating Jonesboro 84-55. Ranked No. 1 in 1A Division I, the Tigers face Water Valley in the Region IV championship.
And Westbrook put together another impressive performance to move on. The Wildcats beat Rankin 86-38 and will play defending state champion Sterling City in the 1A Division I Region II final.
Sterling City eliminated Westbrook in the playoffs in 2020 en route to its title.
Carson Field is the area sports reporter for the Abilene Reporter-News. He covers primarily Big Country high school sports. If you appreciate locally driven news, you can support local journalists with a digital subscription to reporternews.com