Ennis – The grueling District 15-4A schedule began on Friday as the Red Oak Hawks  visited the Ennis Lions with each taking their 1-1 non-district records into the game.

Both teams were coming off tough losses last week as Red Oak let Lake Dallas back into the game after leading 28-0 at one point. Ennis lost 14-13 to Keller Fossil Ridge in Keller.

It would be Red Oak that put non-district in the past and began the district schedule on the right foot with a 56-27 win.

Ennis would have the ball first and struck first. On its third play from scrimmage, Sam Walker scampered 51 yards for a touchdown and with a Alex Sanchez successful extra point, the Lions led 7-0 out of the gate, just 52 seconds into the game.

The Hawks and Lions then traded punts and each committed their first turnovers of the game. Red Oak came out on top of the exchange after a James Proche interception that started a Hawks drive that featured six rushes and no passes.

On the sixth rush, Cameron Bausley crossed into the end zone from five yards out. After Ricky Smith made the extra point, the games was tied 7-7 with 1:49 left in the first quarter.

Red Oak forced Ennis to punt and started its next drive at its own 36-yard line. Facing third and long, Austin VanHove found Jeremiah Gaines across the middle the field. Gaines took the pass to the end zone to complete the 60-yard connection. After Jose Flores made the extra point, Red Oak took a 14-7 lead as the second quarter began.

On the Hawks’ next possession, after another Ennis punt, VanHove went across the middle with his pass just a little high as it was tipped into the hands of Ennis Lion Jashawn Johnson who returned the ball 51 yards for a pick-six touchdown.

After the good extra point by Sanchez, with 9:12 left in the half, the game was tied 14-14.

Red Oak responded with a 23-yard completion from VanHove to Marquies McNeil to open its next drive, moving the ball to the Ennis 30-yard line.

On the next play, Crosby, almost untouched, scored a rushing touchdown and with Sanchez’s good extra point, the Hawks led 21-14.

Not to be out done, the Lions came roaring back.  On fourth down from around the Red Oak 30-yard line, Ennis converted a fourth down pass to Darby Smith, putting the ball on the three-yard line.  Two plays later, Nicholas Gabriel carried the ball into the end zone from one-yard out. With a Sanchez extra point the game was knotted again, 21-21.

The teeter-totter would swing back the Hawks’ way on the next drive. Two plays after a Crosby 57-yard return, VanHove hit Tanner Hunt on a 23-yard pass after Hunt was hiding next to the Red Oak sideline. Flores was good on the extra point and with 4:58 left in the half, Red Oak was up 28-21.

The Hawks were about to put some distance between themselves and the Lions. On Ennis’ next possession, Hunter Gonzalez picked off a Lions pass to set up the Hawks next score. Two plays after advancing to the Ennis 34 yard-line, Bausley rushed in for the touchdown and Flores’ kick was true to put the Hawks up 35-21.

In an almost carbon copy of the next drive, James Holmes picked off a Lions’ pass on the second play of the  drive to give the Hawks the ball again.

Then two plays later VanHove connected with Gaines, this time on a 52-yard touchdown pass. Flores hit his sixth extra point of the half and the Hawks built a 42-21 lead that would prove to be the halftime score.

In the first half, the Hawks flew up and down the field with 340 yards of total offense and three interceptions on defense.

The second half would begin the way the first half ended. The Hawks took the opening kickoff and drove the ball 55 yards on six rushes and two passes using almost four and half minutes of the clock before VanHove hit Tyler Manning on a 16-yard touchdown pass. Flores was good again to build a 49-21 Red Oak lead.

Red Oak forced Ennis to turn the ball over on downs and a five-play, rushing-heavy drive ended when Paul Garcia scored from two yards out as the fourth quarter opened, Flores hit another extra point to take a 56-21 Red Oak lead.

Ennis found a spark late in Marcellus Hill who darted 90 yards with 8:39 left in the game for a Lions touchdown.

Neither team would score again in the 83-point contest as Red Oak was able to run past the Lions.

After the game Red Oak Head Coach Mike Shields was glad to get off on the right foot in district.

“This win was really important with our young team so they would not be looking up at the standings as district play unfolds,” Shields said.

Shields was also complimentary of the Hawks defense.

“We had a good game plan and moved some people around,” Shields said.

“Luke Lamb really came around for us tonight. After last week we talked to our guys about finishing and I think we are able to accomplish that tonight.”

Ennis will travel to Forney next week to continue district play while Red Oak will host Mesquite Poteet.