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Borden Runs Away from Jonesboro 60-22

Borden Repeats As State Champion

AT&T Stadium - The Borden County Coyotes  (14-0) and the Jonesboro Eagles (13-1) met again for a rematch of their 2016 state championship game. In last years version, Borden County won 60-12.  The teams met again to decide the Class 1A Division I state championship.

Jonesboro began with the ball first and 15 on their 20. The Borden County defense wasn't allowing anything on the ground or the air and set the Eagles in punt formation. The fake punt failed to convert and BC started with great field position just 29 yards from the end zone. Nick Proulx gained 17 yard on the first carry and set them up with first and goal. On his next carry, Proulx fumbled going into the endzone and it was ruled a touchback after rolling out of the back  - Jonesboro ball at the 20.

Jonesboro seemed to be a bit more fired up and ready to play with their next possession. They moved the chains for the first time on offense and that was soon followed by two more largely on the legs of Wyatt Young. Facing first and goal, the Eagles had two false starts and one incomplete pass in the endzone. The result of those miscues and a few short runs was 4th and goal at the 12. A pass from Ethan Lilljedahl to Trevor Sellers erased the mistakes and put the Eagles on the board with the 8-0 lead with just 41 seconds remaining in the first quarter. Quickly erasing the earlier fumble from anyone's memory, Borden County's Nick Proulx took the opening handoff of their next drive along the left side for 64 yards to even things up 8 all with 24 seconds still left in the first. Jonesboro responded by a highlight reel run of their own when Wyatt Young popped into the open on the right side and raced untouched 70 yards for the score. The missed PAT left the score Jonesboro 14, Borden County 8 as the first quarter came to an end.

The second quarter began with Borden County's Proulx again showing off his speed and agility. One play - one score. BC 16, Jonesboro 14 with 9:48 left in the half. Another Jonesboro drive featuring some hard running by the two-headed attack of Young and Lilljedahl ended on a 23 yard TD pass to Sellers.  Borden County blocked the PAT but was called offsides. On the next attempt, Wyatt Young's kick made it Jonesboro 22, Borden County 16 with 5:09 remaining in the half. The Eagles had made a statement already that this was not going to be a repeat of last year's stomping.

A nice return by Cam Edwards setup the Coyotes at the 38 on the next drive. Another Proulx jaunt - this time to the left side - made easy work of the Eagle defense. Borden County 24, Jonesboro 22. Again facing a deficit, Jonesboro started at their own 30. While not as simple as a TD run every time they get the ball (ala Nick Proulx) Jonesboro managed to keep moving the ball in sustained drives. This time the result was a turnover as the second bobbled snap hit the turf and was recovered by BC's Ben Justice. Borden County attempted to use the opportunity to extend their lead. Rather than a simple handoff to Proulx for a score, the Coyotes were unable to get anything going before halftime and went to the locker room up 24-22.

The second half started strong for Borden County. They completed a quick drive with a TD pass to JW Nix. With 8:19 left in the 3rd, Borden County led 32-22. Jonesboro again bobbled the snap and again Borden County's Ben Justice recovered it. This time, just 5 yards from a score and a commanding Coyotes lead. Proulx wasted no time in adding another TD run. And just like that, it was Coyotes 40, Jonesboro 22  (3Q 7:29)

Young returned the kickoff to the BC 15 and set the Eagles up in great position. Lilljedahl's next run put Jonesboro at 1st and goal at the 6. Once again disaster struck when Young fumbled into the end zone. The Borden County recovery saved the score and gave them the ball. The Coyotes took their latest gift and proceeded to move the ball quickly. A couple of runs by Payton Merket highlighted a three play drive and another Coyote score. With 6:60 remaining in the 3rd, the score was 48-22 Borden County. Things started to ugly when a Ben Justice stripped the ball carrier and headed the other direction for a strip-six to extend the lead to 56-22.

Jonesboro again tripped themselves up with bobbled balls a personal foul and then intentional grounding on 4th down. Borden County took over at the 3 yard line. This time, it was Borden County that shot themselves in the foot. A sack, a holding call and an incompletion caused them to settle for the field goal. Borden County 60, Jonesboro 22 with 1:29 to go in the third quarter.

Not ready to concede the game, Jonesboro continued to fight. Their next drive saw Alex Sarmiento get in on the receiving game and both Christian Baker and Payton Merx saw action running the ball. The result of the drive that carried them into the 4th quarter was a turnover on downs after getting the ball all the way down to the BC 15. The Coyotes responded with a few miscues of their own. Facing 4th and 19 from their 2 yard line, they chose not to punt and instead tossed to a wide open Merket for a big gain out to the 30 and a first down. The Coyotes trotted out a host of underclassmen to finish the drive and run out the clock. With the ball on the 4 yard line, Borden County walked off the field as the final seconds ticked off to finish 15-0 with the second consecutive state championship with the 60-22 win.

by Chris Doelle

Offensive MVP: Nick Proulx (Borden County)
Defensive MVP: Ben Justice (Borden County)

Attendance: 4,482

Borden County81636060
Borden CountyJonesboro
13First Downs11
381Rushing Yds226
38Passing Yds86
419Total Yds312

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