Football roundup: Last-minute heave saves Ferris

Daily Light report

HILLSBORO — Call it a “Hail Ferry.”

Demarcus Rankin made a game-winning 35-yard touchdown catch from Nate Aguinaga with no time left on the clock as Ferris stunned Hillsboro, 20-17, in a District 5-4A (II) game on Friday night.

Rankin streaked down the right sideline and leaped over a defender to make a catch just inside the pylon as the horn sounded. The pass was the only completion of the night for Aguinaga, who threw only three times while rushing 30 times for 164 yards. Kayden Barnes had 75 yards on 13 carries and two touchdowns.

The Yellowjackets (4-3, 1-1) took a 14-7 lead into the final 12 minutes, but Hillsboro grabbed a late advantage on a Thomas Pratt touchdown and a 32-yard Raymond Arellano field goal before Ferris’ desperation drive struck gold at the very end.

The Jackets can clinch a playoff berth this Friday night with a home win against the Venus Bulldogs. Venus forfeited to Glen Rose last Friday. Alumni of Ferris’ Dunbar School will be honored at Friday night’s game.

Red Oak 45, Mans. Legacy 21

MANSFIELD — The Red Oak running back duo of Zach Sanders and sophomore Iverson Young combined for 201 rushing yards and three touchdowns on Friday night at Vernon Newsom Stadium as the Hawks played for the first time since their season-opener and opened District 4-5A (I) play with a 45-21 win over Mansfield Legacy.

Red Oak (1-1, 1-0) needed only four plays to cap a 75-yard game-opening drive, capped by Sanders' 41-yard touchdown run. Legacy struck right back on the next possession to tie the game at 7-7 on a 9-yard run by John McGrady. Red Oak then reeled off the next 31 points, including the first two career touchdowns for Young on runs of two and 40 yards. Sanders' 124 yards rushing were complemented by 77 from Young as Red Oak's offense line controlled the game.

Chris Parson connected with Oklahoma State commit Raymond Gay on a 20-yard touchdown pass early in the second quarter. Gay finished with four catches and 105 yards. Joshua Ervin and La'Kelsey Johnson connected on a pass early in the third quarter to provide a commanding 31-7 lead. Parson added a two-yard touchdown run to conclude the scoring for Red Oak.

Stephenville 49, Life 13

STEPHENVILLE — The playoff-bound Stephenville Yellowjackets got off to a jackrabbit start and zipped out to a 42-7 halftime lead, coasting to a District 5-4A (I) win over the visiting Life Waxahachie Mustangs on Friday night at Tarleton Memorial Stadium.

Sophomore Colby Grmela was 13-of-27 for 153 yards and two touchdowns for Life (2-6, 1-3). De’tyrian McCoy, another sophomore, caught eight passes for 82 yards and a TD and also rushed 18 times for 50 yards. Senior Chris Gillespie added a 50-yard catch and a TD.

Sher’Juan Daniels had 15 tackles for the Mustang defense, with 2.5 tackles for loss. Tedrick Robinson added a pick and Devin Dolloway recovered a fumble.

Gavin Rountree completed 15 of 21 pass attempts for 250 yards and three touchdowns for the Jackets (5-4, 3-1), who clinched a postseason berth with the win. Coy Eakin, Trace Morrison and Reece Elston all caught scoring aerials, and Rountree and Kason Phillips each ran for touchdowns.

The Jackets led 21-7 after 12 minutes of play and tacked on three more touchdowns in the second quarter.

Life’s game against Brownwood has been moved up to Wednesday night at Mustang Stadium in order to allow Brownwood to make up two cancellations. Kickoff is at 7:30 p.m.

Italy 49, Cayuga 0

CAYUGA — Jaiden Barr rushed 15 times for 148 yards and three touchdowns as the Italy Gladiators clinched a playoff berth with a 49-0 shutout win over Cayuga on Friday night in a District 8-2A (I) tilt.

The Gladiators posted their second shutout of the season, outscoring their opponents 277-54 through seven official games. Italy totaled 361 yards to Cayuga's 37 total yards, all on the ground.

Colt Horn added 83 yards and two touchdowns, and had two receptions for 12 yards. Quarterback Jayden Saxon rushed twice for 27 yards and a touchdown. Freshman receiver John Hall carried the ball once and recorded his first varsity touchdown from 17 yards out; and senior Reese Janek led the receivers with a 33-yard catch down to the 1-yard line.

Italy (6-1, 3-0) led 21-0 at the half.

Defensive leaders were middle linebacker Gabe Martinez, who managed 10 solo tackles, 4 assists, and 3 tackles for a loss. Cornerback Jalen Glover recorded a fumble recovery, as did defensive tackle Dartanyun "D.T." Thomas.

The Gladiators will close out the regular season with their two strongest district challengers, hosting Dawson this Friday and traveling to Marlin on Nov. 6.

Avalon 33, Milford 18

MILFORD — Freshman Erick Padron passed for 177 yards and four touchdowns and added 104 rushing yards as defending District 11-1A (I) champion Avalon made a huge push toward a playoff return with a 33-18 win over South Ellis County rival Milford on Friday night at Horton Field.

Padron completed 10 of 16 pass attempts. Six of his throws found Bryan Faber for a total of 128 yards, including three touchdowns; and Noe Hernandez caught a 22-yard pass for a score. Colby Ornelas also rushed 10 times for 52 yards and a touchdown for the Eagles (4-4, 2-1).

Senior Tristan Smith led Avalon with 16 tackles, and Faber finished with a dozen stops. Faber, Smith and freshman Jake Ozymy each scooped a fumble.

Avalon has a bye this weekend, while Milford will travel to defending Class 1A Division I state champion Blum on Friday night.

OCS 50, Rockwall Heritage 28

ROCKWALL — Ovilla Christian School took a 30-14 halftime lead and went on to a 50-28 win over Rockwall Heritage Christian on Friday night in TAPPS District 3-DII six-man play,

The win keeps the Eagles (4-1, 3-1) in the thick of the playoff chase as the season nears its conclusion.

Heritage Christian played ball control and dominated time of possession by a wide margin, but the Eagles held them to one touchdown on the ground. Esteban De Leon returned an interception for a touchdown, and a defense led by edge rusher Jase McMahon helped hold the fort.

OCS will play its first home game of the season Friday night, hosting Waco Vanguard at 7:30 p.m. The Eagles’ final three games of the regular season will be at home.