Lone Star Gridiron

Strawn Outplays Balmorhea 78-42

Strawn Sends Balmorhea Home Again

AT&T Stadium - The Balmorhea Bears (13-0) return to the state championship game after losing to Richland Springs last year here 96-50. This time they faced the Strawn Greyhounds (14-0) were the opponent.

K-Lani Nava

The Bears got thing started right off the bat with a 63 yard TD run by Kyle Garcia to give Balmorhea the early 8-0 lead. Strawn, in their blackout uniforms with red numbers, struck back quickly when Carlos Villanueva notched a 35 yard gallop for the score. The 2 point kick by K-Lani Nava put two on the board for the tie but also made history. Nava became the first female in history to score points in a Texas high school football State Championship game.

Fired up, Strawn forced a turnover on downs and put themselves in position to  take the lead if they score.  A Tanner Hodgkins four yard run did just that.  Strawn 16, Balmorhea 8 with 3:43 left in the opening quarter. That score would hold into the 2nd.

Strawn wasn't slowing down as Tanner Hodgkins ran it 51-yards for another score with 9:21 to go in the half. That gave the Greyhounds a 22-8 lead. Not ready to head home from state with another L, Balmorhea responded with a 29 yard TD by Kyle Garcia. After the blocked kick, the Strawn lead was 22-14 with 8:32 left in the 2nd. One play later Strawn's Tanner Hodgkins breaks one 49 yards extending their lead 30-14 over Balmorhea with 4:28 before half. Balmorhea responded yet again with more Garcia as he put up a score that cut the lead to 30-22 (1:32 2Q ) Not willing to go into the half without momentum, Strawn pulled a little trick out of the books with a reverse that turned into a halfback pass to Gavin Duncan for the score that would take them to half up 38-22.

The second half started off with a bang when Villanueva took it 41 yards for another Greyhound score and a 46-22 lead. But then, Balmorhea answered quickly with a toss from Marco Martinez to Marcos Menodoza for another Bear TD. This cut the Strawn lead to 46-28 with 6:34 to go in the third. Strawn didn't waste any time in answering however when Tanner Hodgkins took the snap, tossed it to his halfback and then run out to the flat to catch a pass for yet another score. 54-28 Strawn. (4:20 3Q) From there, it seemed to be all Greyhounds as Julian Fraga scored next and stretched the lead to 62-28 to end the third quarter.

In a total disrespect for defense, the teams continued to score. The fourth began with a great center pass to Avery Mendoza that setup another Kyle Garcia score. This cut the lead to 62-34 Strawn. The Greyhounds were not about to let Balmorhea claw back into the game as Zavion Winegeart scored next making it 70-34. The Bears scored again when Garcia ran in from 34 yards out to make it 70-42 with 5:16 left in the game. The Bears attempted an onside kick that was fielded cleanly by Carlos Villanueva who scored just 8 seconds later for the Greyhounds - 78-34 Strawn.

From there, Balmorhea put up a valiant effort to come back but ended up losing their second straight title game. Strawn is the new 1A DII State Champions with a 78-42 convincing win over Balmorhea.

by Chris Doelle

Offensive MVP: Tanner Hodgkins (Strawn)
Defensive MVP: JW Montgomery (Strawn)

Attendance: 5,287

 1Q2Q3Q4QFinal
Balmorhea81461442
Strawn1622241678
Balmorhea Strawn
18First Downs11
294Rushing Yds297
194Passing Yds96
12-21-0C-A-I4-4-0
488Total Yds393
0-0Punts-Avg0-0
1-0Fumble-Lost1-0
6-38Penalties2-25

What are your thoughts?