Air superiority: Interceptions, 3 TD passes help Hawks advance
Red Oak will face Lubbock Coronado on Saturday in Wichita Falls
BIG SPRING — After struggling to a one-touchdown lead in the first half, the Red Oak Hawks flipped the switch at halftime of Friday’s Class 5A Division I area-round playoff game.
The Hawks got not one, but two interception return for touchdowns and four total picks in the third quarter alone, and the Hawks advanced to the third round of the playoffs for the second year in a row with a 55-6 rout of El Paso Del Valle at Memorial Stadium.
The Hawks (8-2) will take on No. 6-ranked Lubbock Coronado (12-0) on Saturday at Wichita Falls’ Memorial Stadium at 1 p.m. in the Region I semifinals. In the other semifinal, Mansfield Summit will face No. 10 Colleyville Heritage on Saturday in Aledo as three District 4-5A (I) teams remain alive, guaranteeing a rematch if the Hawks advance.
Leading at the half 14-6, Red Oak started the surge with a 56-yard touchdown run by sophomore Iverson Young, who ended the day with 223 yards.
Then Amarion Craddick followed with a 39-yard pick-6, and a second Craddick interception at midfield set up a touchdown pass from Joshua Ervin to Raymond Gay Jr. to make it a 35-6 game.
The Hawks’ secondary struck again immediately as Jackson Bailey took an interception 52 yards to the house, and the game was suddenly a runaway as Red Oak took a 42-6 lead into the final 12 minutes.
Ervin completed 16 of 23 passes for 139 yards and three touchdowns, two to Gay and one to tight end LaKelsey Johnson. In the fourth quarter, Ervin handed the controls to sophomore Chris Parson, who scored on runs of 34 and 30 yards for the Hawks to complete the scoring.
The Hawks jumped on top 7-0 in the first quarter on Ervin’s 19-yard toss to Johnson, then Ervin hit Gay from 23 yards out to widen the lead.
Red Oak’s defense held Del Valle (5-2) to just 96 total yards, but 45 of those came on back-to-back catches by Bryce Brown, the second of which was a touchdown making it a 14-6 game in the second quarter. A roughing-the-passer penalty against the Hawks sparked the Conquistadores, who had been held without a first down to that point.