Win Keeps District Title Hopes Alive

By Will Johnson
Messenger Reporter 

CROCKETT – It was Senior Night at Monte Jack Driskell Stadium in Crockett as the Bulldogs welcomed the Westwood Panthers to town for a District 11-3A DI matchup. The Bulldogs came into the game against the Panthers with a 6-2 overall record and a 3-1 mark in district play. Westwood, on the other hand, was struggling on the season with a 1-7 overall and a 0-4 record in district.

Things only got worse for the Panthers as the Bulldogs came out and hammered Westwood by a final score of 59-3.

The Bulldogs opened the game with possession of the ball at own their 45 and it didn’t take long for Crockett to find the end zone. Demarcus Richardson picked up 10 yards on first down. Penalties on the next two plays moved the ball back to midfield before Malik Johnson ripped off a 27 yard gain down to the 23-yard line. On the next play, Crockett QB Jordan Bedford connected with AJ Owens for the game’s first score. Antonio Cruz knocked the extra point through the uprights and with 10:45 left in the opening quarter, the Bulldogs led 7-0.

Westwood’s first possession went nowhere in a hurry as they were forced to punt from their own one-yard line. The Dawgs took over at the Panthers 32 but gave the ball right back to Westwood on a fumble. The Panthers returned the favor as Dae’Javon Bibbs pounced on a Westwood fumble to give Crockett possession at the Panthers’ 35.

The Dawgs couldn’t generate any offense and turned the ball over on downs. The Panthers showed some life on first down when Westwood QB Dalton Brooks found wide-out Aeneas Page for 22 yards. Second down saw Brooks throw an incompletion and on third down, Brooks was picked off by Allen Horace at the 26-yard line.

Crockett went to the ground game after the pick. Joshua Hudson picked up 12, Johnson picked up eight and then Bedford connected with Richardson for eight more. Johnson followed with 10 and eight yard gains. After an offsides penalty against the Panthers, Hudson took the ball the final 13 yards for a TD. Cruz was true on the PAT and with 3:13 left in the first quarter, the Dawgs led 14-0.

The Panthers broke into the scoring column on their first possession of the second period. Starting at their own 39, Brooks found Jaren Turner for a nine yard pick-up. De’Anthony Thomas followed with a nine-yard gain and then Brooks and Turner hooked up again for five yards.

After an incompletion, Brooks found Turner for 10 which was aided by a personal foul against the Dawgs and moved the ball to the six. The Dawgs defense stepped up, however and forced a 23-yard field goal attempt from Diego Estrada. The FG was good and with 8:55 left in the half, the Panthers had cut the lead to 14-3.

Following the kickoff, the Dawgs went back to the ground as three straight carries from Johnson picked up 37 yards and put the ball at Westwood’s 41. Hudson picked up another 16 while Johnson moved the chains with 10 more. Two short runs by Johnson and Hudson moved the ball to the six and then Bedford found Horace in the back of end zone for six. The XP by Cruz was good and with 6:06 left in the half, the Dawgs had pushed their lead to 21-6.

On their ensuing possession, the Panthers went three and out and were forced to punt. Owens, who scored the game’s opening TD, fielded the ball at his own 16. He found a crease in the Westwood punt coverage and 84 yards later, Owens crossed the goal line. Cruz converted the extra point and with 4:24 left in the second, the Dawgs had pushed their lead to 28-3.

Another three and out gave the ball back to Crockett at the Westwood 42 and – once again – it didn’t take long for the Dawgs to find the end zone. Richardson took a handoff from Bedford, turned the corner and out ran everyone to pay dirt. The extra point by Cruz brought the first half scoring to a close, with Crockett ahead by a score of 35-3.

The Panthers opened the second half of the game with possession, but went nowhere. Crockett took over at their own 39 and quickly drove the length of the field. Johnson plowed across the goal line from four yards out to push the Bulldog lead out to 42-3, after the extra point.

Another three and out by Westwood gave the ball back to Crockett at their own 36. On the Dawgs’ first play after the punt, Richardson found a hole in the Panthers’ D and went 64 yards for a score at the 7:55 mark of the third quarter while the Cruz PAT pushed the lead out to 49-3.

After a Westwood fumble was recovered by Omar Garcia, the Dawgs drove down to the 10 where Cruz kicked a 27-yard FG to make the score 52-3.

As the fourth quarter got underway, Brooks was picked off by De’Travion McKnight at the Dawgs’ eight-yard line. This time, it was Joseph Porter who did the damage as the reigning Class 3A state champ in the 200m took a handoff from Bedford and sprinted 92 yards for a score. The PAT by Cruz closed out the scoring as Crockett coasted to the 59-3 win.

The victory keeps Crockett alive in the race for the district championship, but the road gets a lot bumpier as the Dawgs travel to Franklin on Friday, Nov. 9 to close out the regular season against the #4 ranked Lions. A win and Crockett moves into a tie with Franklin and Diboll for the championship. A loss, and the Dawgs go into the playoffs as the number three seed out of District 11-3A DI. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30.

Will Johnson may be contacted via e-mail at wjohnson@messenger-news.com.