By RUSSELL HUFFMAN
Dec. 4, 2020
Strawn didn’t lose its state semifinal game Friday night in Dublin against defending state champion Richland Springs (12-0); the Greyhounds (11-3) simply ran out of time, falling short 59-56 in the Class 1A D2 state semifinal game.
The Greyhounds looked like they were about to complete an improbable win when they rallied with three fourth-quarter touchdowns.
With 1:09 remaining in play, Strawn burned all of its remaining timeouts to stop the clock, and a Luke Eli fourth-down interception gave the Greyhounds one more shot with 45 ticks left.
Eli was Strawn’s workhorse all night as he ran for a game-high 250 yards, caught three passes for 42 yards, and scored five times for the Greyhounds.
Strawn got in six plays before time expired as Eli took an 11-yard pass from Kadin Parsons but was forced out of bounds eight yards short of the end zone.
For Richland Springs Coach Jerry Burkhart, it was about playing to win rather than not to lose as Coach Dewaine Lee and his hounds faced an uphill battle the entire way. Rather than get conservative, Burkhart continued a full-on attack on offense.
Strawn turned the ball over on its first play from scrimmage, and the Coyotes made them pay immediately with a quick 7-yard run by Zane Capps.
The two teams exchanged body blows throughout the first quarter, with Strawn responding with the first of Eli’s five touchdowns on a 7-yard run.
It was on to big plays from there as Landon Burkhart romped 45 yards, Eli countered with a 50-yard score, and Jadeyn Bryant found Chase Gossett on a 28-yard pass.
Trailing 37-20 at the half, Lee took his Hounds, sat them under the big-screen scoreboard, and went over how missed tackles, blown assignments, turnovers, dropped passes, and a lack of execution needed to be corrected.
Fans of the documentary series Texas 6 will probably get a great inside look at what Lee said to turn his charges in the right direction. Strawn came out to play in the second half stopping the Coyotes and popping Eli loose for his longest score of the night on a 60-yard jaunt.
A 16-yard run by Capps edged up the Coyotes’ advantage again. Lorenzo Garcia’s three-yard run kept the Greyhounds in striking distance.
After stopping Richland Springs’ next possession, the turnover-bug bit Strawn again as Capps picked up a fumble and raced 48 yards for the touchdown.
Strawn continued its rally with back-to-back scores on another three-yard run from Garcia and Parsons, hitting Kyler Tunnell for an 18-yard scoring strike.
Capps 23-yard run and Eli’s 17-yard reception finished the scoring at 59-56.
Coyotes (12-0) will play Balmorhea at 11 a.m. Dec. 16 in the title game at AT&T Stadium in Arlington. Balmorhea was a 44-38 winner over Groom Friday.