China Spring had already sent some shockwaves through the 4A Division II playoff bracket when it beat #4 Jasper 45-19 in the first round of playoffs. The Cougars had every intention of following that up with another big win over West Orange-Stark, and it showed from the very beginning of their contest last Friday. Linebacker Dawson Exline started off the game with a huge special teams play for the Cougars as he blocked a punt and took it fifteen yards to the house to put China Spring up 7-0. The hits just kept on coming as China Spring quarterback Major Bowden and running back Emmanuel Abdallah each scored on short touchdown runs to extend the Cougar lead to 21-0 midway through the second quarter.
West Orange-Stark did get on the board as quarterback Jerren Terrell lined up as a wide receiver before being pitched the ball on a reverse and firing downfield for Jerrold Brown, who raced away for the 68-yard score. China Spring was undeterred and quickly responded with a 71-yard touchdown run by Abdallah. Then its special teams came up with another huge play, recovering an onside kick.
This set up yet another Cougar touchdown as Bowden rolled to his left before stopping and dropping an absolute dime to Coltin Locking for a 52-yard catch-and-run score to put China Spring up 35-7 with just under three minutes to go in the second. And although West Orange-Stark managed two more touchdowns, China Spring had enough cushion from its first-half performance to secure a 35-22 victory.
“I have been very proud of our young men for playing hard all season long. We fell short in district in two hard fought losses. The past two weeks, they are finally being rewarded for their hard work,”
China Spring head coach Brian Bell said.
“They kept the faith and kept chasing their goals. They are playing with a lot of confidence right now because they are taking their preparation seriously. It is a joy, as coaches, to be coaching these guys on Thanksgiving break and hopefully we can get one more week with them next week.”
In order for China Spring to get that next week, it will have to take down a talented Sealy team in College Station on Friday, but with the way the Cougars have been playing, it wouldn’t surprise anyone to continue to see them advance in the playoffs.