Ground-Powered Panthers Outpace Crawford, Reach State Semifinals for first time since falling in 1A Title Game in 2012

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Photo: James Ellis/TexasHSFootball

WACO, Texas — Mart High School dismantled the Crawford 47-6 Thursday night at Waco’s WISD Stadium, gaining a measure of redemption for last season’s early exit.

Crawford’s Pirates knocked them out of the playoffs last season, but the Panthers returned the favor this go around via more than 200 yards rushing via the Panthers’ brand of ground-and-pound offense.

Mart set the tone early, using running back Tyrek Horne, his 125 first-half yards, multiple touchdowns from quarterback Jace Terry, and a virtually unstoppable ground attack. Horne rushed for two of the Panthers three touchdowns in the first 24 minutes. Shatydrick Bailey chipped in 114 yards and exploded through the Pirates defense for a 78-yard touchdown run that put the Panthers up 21-0 at halftime.

Terry owned the second half, rushing for three touchdowns during the second half. His touchdowns all came from distances 41, 30, and 55 yards.

Senior quarterback Jace Terry runs for a short gain during Thursday’s matchup with Crawford at Waco ISD Stadium. He scored three times in the Panthers’ state quarterfinal rout of the Pirates. James Ellis/TexasHSFootball

“Jace does what Jace has always done. He runs our offense and gets us in and out of the right plays. He’s just a special kid,” said Kevin Hoffman, Mart’s head football coach. “Jace stepped up and we found something that we felt good about and we just kept running it and they couldn’t stop it.”

Crawford, however, had some success in the passing game against a dominant Mart defense but dropped passes stalled and ended promising drives. The Pirates used a fake end around pass to gain an important first down, but on 4th and 8 from the Mart 28 an incomplete pass turned the ball over on downs. Crawford finished the first half with 94 yards of total offense.

The Panthers forced Crawford into a punting situation and then burst through the line to block the Pirates punt and Adolfo Morejon jumped on the ball.  The Pirates were able to force a Mart turnover when Koby Smith took the ball away from a Mart running back on the first play of the second quarter. The clock was inside of five seconds before halftime and Mart’s Roddrell Freeman obtained his second sack of the game, as the clock expired.

The Pirates eventually found the end zone when Garrett Dutschmann broke free on a 17-yard touchdown run. After missing the point after attempt, though, the Pirates weren’t able to ride the momentum.

Mart extended their lead on their first drive of the third quarter, as speedster Shatydrick Bailey broke loose for a 27-yard touchdown run, that put the Panthers up 28-0.

“You’d have to ask them,” said Hoffman, adding a slight chuckle, when asked whether Bailey or Horn was faster. “But if I had to bet on somebody, I’d probably bet on No. 2 [Bailey].”

The Panthers dominated the line of scrimmage all night and were able to use that pressure on the defensive side of the ball to force an interception by Jarmaine Madkins.

Mart held an explosive Crawford offense to six points on Thursday — three points below the Panthers’ season average on allowed points. James Ellis/TexasHSFootball

“That’s the key. If you can win the battle up front offensively and defensively then you’re going to have a chance to win a lot of games,” Hoffman continued. “We feel like we have the best front four around and our offensive line does the little things needed to give our playmakers some space and get them going.”

Mart (12-1), which reached the UIL 1A state championship game in 2012, will have an opportunity to reach the 2A title round when it faces the winner of the 7 p.m. Friday night Stratford and Panhandle State Quarterfinal matchup at Demon Stadium in Dumas. Whoever wins — either a one-loss Elk team or another set of Panthers — will have their hands full with the Mart.

The Panthers boast talent on both sides of the ball with three 600-plus-yard rushers. They also have one of the most statistically dominant defenses after posting 25 sacks, 14 interceptions, and allowing little more than nine points per matchup in 14 games in 2017.

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