NACOGDOCHES – Harleton athletic director and head football coach said his team planned to give the ball to Hunter Wallace and let the senior running back do his thing. That’s exactly what the Wildcats did as Wallace carried the ball 20 times for 125 yards and four touchdowns, leading Harleton to a 46-7 win over the Deweyville Pirates in the 2A DI bi-district round of the playoffs.
The Wildcats are now 9-2 as they prepare for the area round. The Pirates’ season comes to an end with a final record of 6-5.
Harleton finished the night with 441 total yards, 293 of which came on the ground and 147 came through the air and had 26 first downs. Blake Blassingame had 11 carries for 59 yards and one touchdown. Cameron Postins had two carries for 21 yards and a score. Cole Ring had eight carries for 61 yards. Grayson Handlin passed for 147 yards. He found Postins for two receptions for 44 yards. Kobe Ferguson also had two catches for 41 yards.
Deweyville finished the night with 187 yards, 168 of which came on the ground and 19 through the air. The Pirates had 14 first downs on the night. Harleton’s defense held Deweyville quarterback to just 1-of-8 passing for 19 yards. Ty Collier led the team’s rushing attack with eight carries for 69 yards and one touchdown. Cade Watson had 13 carries for 57 yards.
The Wildcats started off with the ball. A 35-yard pass from Handlin to Ferguson put Harleton deep into Pirate territory. A few plays later, Wallace punched it in from inside the one-yard line for the game’s first score. The extra point was blocked, leaving Harleton with a 6-0 lead with 9:04 left in the first quarter.
After the score, Harleton kicked and recovered an onside kick. The 10-play drive ended in Wallace scoring his second touchdown from a yard out to spread his team’s lead to 12-0. Wallace punched it in again for the two-point conversion, spreading his team’s lead to 14-0.
Harleton forced the Deweyville to punt on its first possession. The Wildcats used their ground attack and their air attack to effectively move the ball downfield. The drive ended with a 12-yard run from Postins to spread his team’s lead to 21-0 with 1:37 remaining in the first quarter.
Deweyville scored the first touchdown of the second quarter and its first points of the game when Collier battled defenders, broke tackles and plowed his way into the end zone for a nine-yard score. Nate Buxton tacked on the extra point to make it a 21-7 score with 10:23 to go in the second quarter.
The Pirates gave the Wildcats a taste of their own medicine by kicking and recovering a surprise onside kick. However, the Wildcats defense forced a turnover on downs to give the ball back to the offense. Harleton’s next drive ended with Wallace scoring his third touchdown of the night to give his team a 27-7 lead.
Deweyville faked a punt and picked up the first down to keep the drive alive. They drove deep in Harleton territory before seeing its final drive of the first half come to an end as the Wildcats went into the locker room with a 27-7 halftime lead.
After forcing the Pirates to punt, the Wildcats gave the ball back to their offense for its first possession of the second half. That possession ended with Wallace finding the end zone from 26 yards out for his fourth touchdown of the night. That gave Harleton a 33-7 lead with 6:19 left in the third quarter.
Harleton kick a squib and the Pirates let it slip away as the Wildcats fell on top of it. That led to a 23-yard touchdown run by Blassingame to spread his team’s lead to 40-7 with 4:41 to go in the third quarter.
The Pirates were unable to handle yet another kickoff as the returner fumbled. The ball was scooped up by Ferguson who went the distance to give his team a 46-7 lead with 4:32 remaining in the third.
That turned out to be the last score of the night as both teams went scoreless in the fourth quarter, leaving Harleton with the 46-7 win.
Harleton will take on the winner of Carlisle and Leon.