By TOMMY WELLS
KNOX CITY – If there were any questions as to whether Strawn’s Cole Abbott and Gordon’s Michael Cherry were among the best six-man football athletes on the planet, all doubts were erased Saturday in front of a large crowd at the inaugural Brazos Bowl All-Star Game. And they were erased easily.
Abbott earned the defensive MVP honors while leading the Red all-stars to a wild 41-33 win over the Blue in the contest, which was played at Greyhound Stadium. Cherry earned the offensive MVP honors as the Blue all-stars’ top performer.
“It was a lot of fun,” said Abbott, who returned an interception for a touchdown and hauled in a 58-yard scoring reception late in the second half to help the Red team secure the victory. “We couldn’t have had a better time.”
The Red all-stars didn’t waste any time in taking the upper hand in the contest. The team scored twice in the first 3:18 and built a quick 14-0 lead.
After forcing the Blue all-stars to turn the ball over downs on their first possession, the Red all-stars untethered its offense. After three running plays had moved the ball to the Blue 28, Buchanan took a pitch from Woodson’s Brady Hibbitts, slipped a tackle in the backfield and raced into the end zone.
Buchanan run gave the Red an 8-0 lead with 9:21 remaining in the first.
The Red’s lead didn’t stay at 8 for long. Abbott made sure of that.
The Strawn standout picked off a Blue pass at his own 14 and raced 66 yards the other way for a 14-0 advantage with 7:42 left in the opening frame.
Cherry wouldn’t let the Blue all-stars struggle for long.
The Gordon spreadback carried the ball three times on the Blue team’s ensuing possession, including a key 6-yard scamper on a fourth down play that gave the Blue a first down at the Red 8.
Two plays later, Valley’s Carson Proctor crashed into the end zone to cut the Red lead to 14-8.
The Red all-stars regained the upper hand early in the second quarter. Aquilla High School’s Billy Parks hauled in a 12-yard scoring pass from Hedley’s Coltin Kingston on a fourth-down play. Paducah’s Cody Austin passed to Abbott for the two-point conversion, giving the Red with a 22-8 lead just three seconds into the second quarter.
The Blue all-stars rallied back, however. The team scored twice from there, scoring on a 30-yard pass to Hedley’s Nicco Bennett and a 2-yard run by Proctor and pulled to within 21-20 with 40 seconds left in the first half.
Buchanan gave the Red all-stars the momentum back from there.
After Austin had recovered an onside kickoff attempt, Buchanan took a pitch from Hibbitts and raced 50 yards for his second TD of the contest.
He finished the game with 132 yards on 13 carries, and earned the contest’s overall MVP honors.
Cherry, who rushed for 125 yards on 17 carries, brought the Blue all-stars back to within striking distance in the third quarter. He capped a 4-play, 53-yard drive by turning a handoff into a 10-yard scoring run.
Cherry’s TD pulled the Blue to within 29-27 with 5:46 left in the third.
Abbott took the wind out of the Blue’s sails just over four minutes later on a key fourth-down play.
With the Red all-stars leading by two, the SHS center caught a clutch 58-yard touchdown pass from Buchanan on a fourth-down play. His TD gave the Red team a 35-27 lead heading into the final 10 minutes of play.
The Red all-stars all but cinched the game midway through the fourth quarter, taking a 41-27 lead on a 46-yard TD run by Buchanan.
The Blue team pulled close with 1:42 remaining on a four–yard touchdown run by Motley County’s Juan Flores.
By TOMMY WELLS
- Local Sports
The Mineral Wells Lady Rams (14-3) got everything they hoped for and more in the opening day of the Mineral Wells Tournament, Thursday, at Kessler Field. They swept the competition in a triple-header and dealt with a wide variety of situations, overcoming each.
Gordon, Strawn fill up all-district hoops teams
The All-District 17-1A-II teams for both boys and girls basketball have been announced and rivals Gordon and Strawn have left an indelible mark on the 2013-24 edition with the two schools combining for six players on the boys team and a whopping 11 girls receiving honors.
Lady Rams Softball begins MW Tourney
Hot off of a 5-1 showing at the Wichita Falls Tournament, the Mineral Wells Lady Rams softball team (11-3) will open tournament play against quality competition again today from the comfort of their own home.
Four Ladycats garner top 11-1A-I awards
Palo Pinto County's most successful basketball team of the 2013-14 season can now add a bushel of accolades to an already memorable, Regional Championship year.
MW boys place third, girls seventh at Ram Relays
The Mineral Wells boys and girls track teams were on full display, Saturday, in front of a hometown crowd at the Ram Relays as the varsity girls team took seventh place with 42 point and the varsity boys finished third with 90 points.
State slips away
ABILENE – It wasn't the way a community pictured their season ending.
Fresh off of a thrilling 69-65, double-overtime victory over Ira in the regional semifinals, the Graford Jackrabbits' (27-4) bid for their first trip to the state tournament since 2012 fell short Saturday afternoon with a 58-25 loss at the hands of the Water Valley Wildcats (27-5) in the Class 1A-Division II Regional Finals at Abilene Christian University's Moody Coliseum.
Weathering the storm
The 2013-14 season epitomized growth for the Mineral Wells Rams basketball team. Under the tutelage of head coach Aaron Pappas, the Rams played to a 6-4 record in District 6-3A, clinching a third place finish and a fourth-straight playoff appearance.
Graford's Wimberly named 11-1A-II Offensive POY
A successful 2013-14 campaign for the Graford Lady Rabbits basketball team was capped off last week with the announcement that senior point guard Syndey Wimberly was named "Offensive Player of the Year" by district coaches. The district runner-up Lady Rabbits also placed five girls on the All-District 11-!A-II team.
Graford outlasts Ira, 69-65 (2OT), advances to Regional Finals
ABILENE -- "Survive and advance" is the name of the game come tournament time. And with their backs against the wall, the Graford Jackrabbits (27-3) did just that, holding off the Ira Bulldogs, 69-65, in double-overtime in the Class 1A-Division II Regional Semifinals at Abilene Christian University's Moody Coliseum.
Ragland, Pappas, Holman receive top All 6-3A awards
A successful season full of growth for the Mineral Wells girls' basketball team was capped off in style this week when the district coaches announced that the Lady Rams placed seven players on the All-District 6-3A team and garnered three individual awards – two of which went to two of the Lady Rams youngest rising stars.
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