Football playoff roundup: HHS rolls past Benbrook in bi-district
Palmer pulls away from Whitewright; Italy handles Hamilton as postseason gets underway
MANSFIELD — The Midlothian Heritage football team took care of business in the bi-district round of the Class 4A Division I playoffs on Thursday night as the Jaguars defeated Benbrook, 49-20, at Vernon Newsom Stadium.
Kaden Brown threw for 203 yards and three touchdowns for the Jaguars (8-3), who will face the 4A Division I No. 4-ranked Melissa Cardinals next weekend in an area-round rematch from the regular season. The Jags traveled to Melissa in Week 4 and were outscored, 48-28.
Heritage turned three first-half Benbrook turnovers into points in racing out to a 28-7 halftime lead. Brown had a 19-yard scoring toss to Stetson Sarratt and a 54-yard touchdown pass to Xavier Moten, while Greg Johnson and Jason Barela had touchdown runs before intermission.
The Jags scored on all three of their third-quarter possessions to put the game away. T.J. Pride, who finished with four catches for 94 yards to lead the HHS receiving corps, had two touchdown receptions in the third period.
Senior running back Harry Gonzales carried the ball 33 times for 136 yards and two touchdowns in a losing effort for Benbrook, which finished the season 6-5.
Six more playoff games involving Ellis County teams were on tap for Friday night, including four home-site contests: Waxahachie at Temple, Midlothian at Fort Worth Brewer, Denison at Ennis, and Abbott at Avalon.
Elsewhere, Ferris was to face Sunnyvale at Mesquite Memorial, and Maypearl was to take on Malakoff at Waco Midway. On Saturday, Ovilla Christian will travel to Marble Falls Faith to kick off the TAPPS six-man Division II playoffs.
3A Division II: Palmer 32, Whitewright 7
NEVADA — The District 7-3A (II) champion Palmer Bulldogs this time easily avoided a pratfall in the bi-district round of the playoffs on Thursday as they handled the Whitewright Tigers, 32-7, at Community High School’s Braves Field.
The Bulldogs (8-1) were awaiting the winner of Friday night’s contest between Callisburg and Dublin.
It remained a 12-7 game into the third quarter until Cayden Langthorn had a TD catch and Elijah Hernandez scored on the ground to push Palmer's advantage to 25-7.
Cutter Burrow had a touchdown run in the middle of the fourth quarter to close out the scoring.
Whitewright (4-7) hung tough for a half before the Bulldogs pulled away. Xy'Rion Daniels had the lone touchdown early in the second quarter for the Tigers, who were trying to earn their first postseason victory since 2016.
At this same point last year, the Bulldogs were stunned by fourth-seeded Leonard, which had qualified for the postseason because of a COVID-related forfeit by Whitewright.
2A Division I: Italy 44, Hamilton 13
ROBINSON — The Italy Gladiators steadily pulled away throughout to take a 44-13 bi-district victory over Hamilton on Thursday night.
The Gladiators (9-2) will face either Alvord or Wolfe City in the area round. Those two teams were scheduled to meet on Friday night in Melissa.
Hamilton (6-5) cut it to 14-7 early in the second quarter on a fumble return for a touchdown, but the Gladiators powered onward to a 24-7 halftime lead, then opened the second half with a touchdown drive to take command.