By TONY EIERDAM
COMANCHE – For the first time in his four-year head coaching career, Gordon coach Shane Mallory has his Longhorns in the state semifinals, a spot longtime Gordon football fans are used to being in.
Paced by an eight-touchdown effort by senior Michael Cherry – which included four TD runs, three passes for a score and a touchdown reception – the Longhorns overpowered Santa Anna, 70-35, here Friday night and have earned a berth i the six man Division I state semifinals.
With the win. Gordon advances to the state semifinals and will play Abbott. Kickoff is at 7 p.m. Saturday in Hico.
“It feels real good (to reach the semifinals),” Mallory said. “We were 1-9 in my first year when our current seniors were freshmen, and to get to this ... this is fun.”
Perhaps Gordon’s defensive efforts out-shined its offense. The Longhorns held Santa Anna spread back Michael Valencia to well under his season average of 246 rushing yards a gain and only allowed the talented junior – who has run and passed for a combined 67 touchdowns entering the contest – to reach the end zone three times.
“We played disciplined, stayed in front of (Valencia) and kept our shoulders square when we attempted tackles,” Mallory said. “We just played Gordon football. I thought (junior) Garrett Collins had an outstanding game.”
Valencia hurt his ankle late in the third quarter, and when the back ever so valiantly returned, he just wasn’t the same as his speed was reduced and cuts were almost impossible to make.
“They were in a man scheme, and we had some good plays for it,” Mallory said. “When Valencia got hurt they actually went to a zone, and we just tried to pound it out.
“Michael, oh my gosh, is an unbelievable runner. When he has the ball the defense has to respect his passing ability, and if you give him a lane he takes off.
“But our offensive line dominated (Friday). I am very proud of those guys.”
After a scoreless first quarter, Gordon scored on its first two possessions of the second period for a 16-0 lead on TD runs of five and three yards by Cherry.
On the first drive, Cherry passed for a first down and had runs of 18 and four yards to move the chains.
On the second drive, Jake Wigington’s 47-yard sprint to the SA 5 set up Cherry’s second trip to the end zone.
Both TDs were followed by PAT kicks from freshman Jeremy “Jorgy” Jorgenson, who was true on all but one conversion kick for the entire game.
Bottled up on the Mountaineers’ first two drives, Valencia finally zigged and zagged his way around the Longhorns’ defense and scored on 28-yard run to cut the lead to 16-8.
Cherry got into the aerial act on Gordon’s next drive, completing a four-play, 50-yard drive when he threw to Wigington for a 33-yard score and a 24-8 advantage with 4:26 left in the half.
The Longhorns’ defense then got into the scoring act as Wigington returned a Valencia fumble 20 yards for a score as Gordon led 32-8.
Valencia came back and scored on a 31-yard sprint, but Cherry answered with a 48-yard TD pass to Emory Allen as Gordon led 40-16 with 2:56 left in the second quarter.
Gordon held SA on downs again and used timeouts to stop the clock. Starting at the SA 38, Gordon moved to near the goal line on two completions by Cherry the first to Brandon Gonzales for 15 yards and another to Allen for 16 yards.
Allen passed to Cherry for an eight-yard score as the ‘Horns took a 46-16 lead into the locker room at the half.
It appeared the ‘Horns would impose the 45-point mercy rule early in the third quarter.
Gordon received the second-half kickoff and needed just five plays to reach the end zone, scoring on a two-yard blast up the middle by Cherry for a 54-16 lead.
The Mountaineers suffered a blow when Valencia had to leave the game with an ankle injury following a 40-yard run. He would return to the game, but not at 100 percent.
The Longhorns forced the ball over on downs and were driving toward possibly a game-ending score when Cherry coughed up the ball and SA recovered.
The Mountaineers scored on a 71-yard fumble recovery to cut the lead to 54-22.
SA turned another fumble into a score, with Valencia capping the drive on a five-yard TD run to cut the lead to 54-28.
Gordon put the game away on its next possession. Cherry finished the six-play, 52-yard drive on a nine-yard TD run to increase the GHS advantage to 62-28.
SA answered with a score but it was too late. Gordon closed the scoring when Cherry threw a 46-yard touchdown pass to Stephen Plowman with 3:19 left in the contest.
By TONY EIERDAM
- Local Sports
Swimming to State
KELLER – The Mineral Wells Water Moccasins are heading to the Texas Amateur Athletic Federation's state meet in College Station, July 31-Aug. 3, after an outstanding performance in the Region 4 Championships that saw seven local swimmer qualify.
Mineral Wells summer track sends 11 to state meet after strong regionals
THE COLONY – The future continues to look bright for Mineral Wells track and field, as 11 members of legendary head coach Jackie Harvey's summer track club punched their tickets to the TAAF state meet in College Station – to be held July 31-Aug. 3 – after a dominant showing at the regional meet in The Colony, July 18-19.
FWIW: Good, clean hate – Ranking the area's best rivalry games of the 2014 football season
By CLINT FOSTER
Football season is fast approaching and with it those glorious games between teams that love to hate each other, which we call rivalries.
I'm speaking, of course, about sports hate – the only beautiful kind. It's the stuff built on history and tradition that inspires simply the fiercest and most entertaining games of every season.
Palo Pinto County and the surrounding area have no shortage of fierce football rivalries.
The University Interscholastic League's realignment often causes new rivalries to be born and old ones to be rekindled. But which rivalries are the area's very best for 2014? The one's you circle your calendar for and make sure you don't miss.
I can think of at least 10.
So, for what it's worth, here's my list of the area's best, can't-miss football rivalries of the upcoming 2014 season.
Local Bowlers Roundup set for first weekend of August
Mineral Wells Women's Bowling Alliance invites you to join them Aug. 3 from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. at Mountaineer Lanes for their second annual Bowlers Roundup. The event will feature snacks, tips from the pros, information on league bowling and two hours of great exercise.
Something in the water
Mineral Wells is well known as the home of Crazy Water, and by all accounts the city's swim team went absolutely berserk in their one and only home meet of the summer on Saturday.
Throughout the summer, the Mineral Wells Rams have been hard at work preparing for football season.
Hooks and Slices 7/11
In the Holiday Hills Country Club Guys and Dolls tournament, locals Denny and Sherry Hall turned in rounds of 77 and 73 to take first place in the opening round and second place on Sunday in the fourth flight. George and Linda Hutton turned in two solid rounds to place both days. The twosome shot 71 and 72 to take first place on Saturday and second place on Sunday in the second flight.
GRAPEVINE – The Mineral Wells High School cheerleaders attended the Universal Cheerleaders' Association's cheer camp in Grapevine two weeks ago and proved that spirit will definitely be high at every Rams and Lady Rams sporting event this coming school year.
Millsap selects Lee as new head volleyball coach
MILLSAP – The board of trustees at Millsap ISD recently announced their hire of Denise Lee as the new head volleyball coach for Millsap High School.
Waldrum leads the way in MW's latest swim meet
TROPHY CLUB – The Mineral Wells Water Moccasins city swim team took to the pool once again June 28 and showed valiant effort against some tough competition at its latest meet in Trophy Club.
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- Swimming to State