By TOMMY WELLS | Special to the Index
BRYSON – Harrison Nowak passed for eight touchdowns on Thursday night and powered the ninth-ranked Strawn Greyhounds to an 84-58 victory over the Woodson Cowboys in the bi-district round of the Texas six-man football state playoffs.
With the win, Strawn improved its season record to 10-1 and, more importantly, advanced to the area round and will face Jayton at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Seymour.
Woodson finished its season at 7-4.
Woodson didn’t make Strawn’s first playoff win in two seasons easy. The Cowboys stood toe-to-toe with Strawn in the first two quarters. As a team, the Cowboys rolled up nearly 500 yards in total offense.
Woodson drew first blood in the showdown. After recovering an onside kick to open the game, the Cowboys marched 26 yards in six plays before sophomore running back Bobby Aguero plowed in from the 1.
Woodson’s celebration lasted just six seconds, however. Ross Alison fielded the Cowboys’ ensuing onside try at his own 33 and sprinted down the sideline for 47 yards and a 6-6 tie.
After the two teams traded touchdowns, Strawn managed to gain the upper hand. Sophomore end Abram Jaramillo broke a 12-12 tie late in the first quarter when he capped a quick one-play score by catching a 36-yard TD pass from Nowak. Cole Abbott’s PAT staked Strawn to a 20-12 lead.
Alison had set up the Greyhounds’ third TD of the frame one play earlier by picking off a Woodson pass on a fourth-and-12 play from the SHS 26.
Nowak After Woodson had rallied to within 20-18, Nowak found the end zone for a second time, hooking up with Abbott for the first of their five touchdown combinations – a 2-yard pass that pushed the Greyhounds’ lead to 26-18.
The Greyhounds’ offense was far from through.
After the Strawn defense had stopped Woodson on a fourth-and-goal play at the SHS 1, Strawn showed just how explosive it could be.
On first down, senior Bobby Wells raced 33 yards for a first down at the Greyhound 34. Then, following a series of short runs by Jacob Trujillo, Alison and Abbott, Nowak completed a 10-yard strike to Alison that took the ball to the Woodson 29.
One play later, the sophomore quarterback hit Jaramillo for a 29-yard touchdown strike.
Jaramillo finished the game with four receptions – three of which went for TDs – for 78 yards.
Nowak gave the WHS defense fits all night. He finished the game by completing 15 of his 17 passing attempts for a season-high 305 yards.
Woodson managed to right its ship from there. Cowboys’ quarterback Brady Hibbitts capped the Cowboys’ next drive with a 12-yard touchdown pass to junior running back Brandon Arellano and cut Strawn’s lead to 34-25.
Hibbitts finished the game with 194 yards passing and six TDs.
Again, the Cowboys’ celebration didn’t last long.
Alison put Woodson on its heels on the ensuing kick, taking the onside kick try and returning it to the WHS 9. A personal foul penalty moved the ball to the Cowboys’ 5 and set up a 4-yard scoring run by Wells two plays later.
Wells finished the game with a team-high 11 carries for 113 yards.
Strawn outscored Woodson by a 16-14 clip in the second quarter and took a 42-32 lead into the half.
Woodson stormed back on the opening possession of the third. Keyed by a 9-yard run on a fourth-down play, the Cowboys opened the third quarter by driving 53-yards in nine plays, pulling to within four at 42-39.
Strawn answered right back. The Greyhounds reeled off back-to-back touchdowns receptions of 7 yards from Jaramillo and 52 yards from Abbott on their next two possessions to push the lead to 56-39.
Abbott’s TD was set up one play earlier when senior defensive back Louis Berumen halted a WHS drive deep in Strawn territory by scooping up a Woodson fumble at the SHS 28.
The Cowboys added a touchdown with 1:02 left in the third and cut Strawn’s lead to 56-46.
The ‘Hounds amassed 485 total yards on just 41 offensive plays, salted away the win with an explosive effort in the fourth quarter. Strawn outscored Woodson by a 28-12 clip in the closing 10 minutes.
Abbott, who finished with five receptions for a game-high 157 yards, caught TD passes of 19 and 42 yards in the final frame. Trujillo and Nic Miller posted scoring runs of one and 11 yards, respectively.
By TOMMY WELLS | Special to the Index
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