Palo Pinto County schools Gordon and Strawn are each playing in the third round in their respective six man division playoffs, and both look to be peaking at the right time.
Last week, Gordon shifted into fifth gear offensively and rolled past an undefeated Savoy squad, 66-21, in a second-round game.
After giving up 58 points in an 84-58 win in the opening round over Woodson, Strawn found its defense last week, pounding a very good Jayton team, 54-8.
“We wanted to play better defense (against Jayton),” Strawn senior leader Cole Abbott said. “We are better (defensively) than how we played (against Woodson).”
If Strawn’s defense plays as well as it did against Jayton, look for the ‘Hounds to have a playoff run that will go beyond this Friday. Strawn faces Newcastle at 7:30 p.m. Friday in a Division II state quarterfinal at Cisco.
Gordon head coach Shane Mallory, whose Longhorns will face Santa Anna at 7:30 p.m. Friday in a Division I state quarterfinal at Comanche, said after the Longhorns’ whipping of a Savoy team that had a distinct size advantage that his team “is peaking at the right time.”
Gordon switched to a spread formation in the second half against Savoy as Mallory watched his offense take off, scoring 38 points in less than nine minutes in the third quarter to force the 45-point mercy rule.
The ‘Horns recorded a balanced statistic sheet against Savoy, passing for 291 yards while adding 218 yards on the ground.
Gordon also is spreading the ball out on offense. Running back Michael Cherry gained 119 yards on 14 carries and found the end zone three times, while quarterback Emory Allen scooted 96 yards on just five totes.
Allen also scorched the Cardinals through the air, completing 13 of 16 passes with four touchdowns. He also ran for a score.
“I felt Emory had a great game, throwing and running the ball,” Mallory said.
The ‘Horns also are a more dangerous team since Pedro Lopez has come back from an injury. Lopez caught four passes against Savoy for 131 yards. He also recovered a fumble and had two huge blocks on TD runs.
While Allen was helping the ‘Horns, Strawn’s signal-caller, Harrison Nowak, turned in a brilliant performance last week.
Nowak threw eight touchdown passes while piling up 183 yards. What is interesting about that statistic is Nowak completed just eight of 20 passes. Obviously, he made each throw count.
Both Strawn and Gordon need two wins to reach their respective state championship games, which will be held at Shotwell Stadium in Abilene on Dec. 15.
With the schools in separate divisions, could this be the first time in history that Palo Pinto County has two state championship football teams in the same year?