Travis M. Smith | Ellis County Sports Sports
The Red Oak Hawks used over 700 yards of total offense to undress Justin Northwest in the first round of the playoffs Friday.
Three-hundred-seventy of those yards came on the ground in the Hawks’ 62-7 5A Division-I Region 1 bi-district championship win. The Hawks outgained the Texans 717 total yards to 316.
Red Oak (7-2) ultimately scored on its first six possession to build an insurmountable 41-0 halftime lead.
“The kids started fast tonight and I’m really proud of the offense,” Red Oak head football coach Michael Quintero said. The victory was the first in the postseason for the first-year head coach. “I thought that we executed things well. Defensively, we are playing fast and our kids are getting more and more confident. Justin Northwest is a great football team and they stressed a lot of teams this year.”
Red Oak quarterback Joshua Ervin had completed 7-of-his-8 first-half attempts for 184 yards and two touchdowns by halftime. One of those scores went for 94 yards to Kentrell Anderson with 2:41 to play in the first quarter. It put Red Oak up 20-0 at the time.
Iverson Young scored the next Red Oak touchdowns on a 3-yard run with 8:00 to play in the second quarter. He had previously found the end zone on the Hawks’ first snap from scrimmage, rushing across the goal line from 83 yards out.
Young did almost all of his damage in the first half, tallying 156 of his 169 yards before the break. He averaged 14.2 YPC in the first half and ended with a team-high 17 carries for 169 yards (9.9YPC) and the two-first half scores.
Ervin ended the contest 10-of-12 for 272 yards and three touchdowns to Anderson, Jace Wyatt (3-78) and Raymond Gay Jr (3-51).
“The offense has come a long way since the beginning of the season,” said Gay, an Oklahoma State University-commit. “We are starting to play better together as a team. We have to continue to do that.
“We just have to keep working. This was a good win, but now it’s on the next. […] We have to stay focused. That is the No. 1 thing. We have to stay focused for the entire game.”
With the lead in hand, Red Oak backup quarterback Chris Parson embarrassed the Northwest defense with his wheels.
The sophomore quarterback rushed six times for 173 yards. Four of those carries went for touchdown runs of 3 (5:02, 2Q), 39 (3:20, 2Q) 40 (9:00, 4Q) and 52 yards (4:08, 3Q). He averaged a whopping 28.8 yards-per-carry.
“The offense has been solid all year, and it starts with the o-line and our run game,” Quintero assessed. “I’m an old o-lineman, so I’m hard on the offensive linemen. They have to take pride in our ability to run the football because that opens up the passing game for us. It opened up some things on the outside for us tonight.”
Quintero also spoke highly of the Red Oak defense, which was forced to be on the field quite often thanks to the quick-strike offense.
The Hawks “limited” (7-4) Justin Northwest to 316 total yards, including 3.2 YPC (120 yards) on 37 rushing attempts.
The Texans entered the game averaging 457.7 total yards of offense with 232.8 coming on the ground. Northwest was without leading rusher Kyndel Sims, who tallied 812 yards and 10 touchdowns on 119 carries (101.5 YPG) in eight games.
“I’m just really proud of the defense because they were playing uptempo and snapping the ball quickly,” Quintero said. “I was a little worried about that, but our kids were lining up and getting calls and checks in. You can just see the confidence starting to build with these guys, which is what you want to happen right now.”
The Hawks will now face (5-1) Del Valle in the 5A DI Region I area championship at 2 p.m. Friday in Big Spring.
Memorial Stadium is a roughly four-and-a-half-hour drive from Red Oak. The drive will be about four hours and 45 minutes for Del Valle High School, which is located on the southeast side of El Paso.
The Conquistadores scored two touchdowns in the third quarter and held on for a 44-43 win against Monterey on Friday.
Senior quarterback Andres Gutierrez (No. 12) and senior running back Joel Serrano (No. 6) lead the Conquistadores offense.
Through six games, Gutierrez has completed 82-of-his-137 passes for 1,223 yards and 11 touchdowns to six interceptions. He threw for 329 and five touchdowns with two interceptions in Del Valle’s bi-district win.
Serrano, meanwhile, has rushed 138 times for 1,041 yards and 10 touchdowns.
Tommy Calderon (12.2 tackles-per game, 4 TFL) and Eddie Sigala (11.8 tackles-per-game, 5.0 TFL) lead the Del Valle defense.
“These [games] are all really important because this is our last ride as seniors,” said Gay of the postseason run. “We are all just going to keep coming out here and playing together to keep this thing going.”
All photos by Fred Phipps/Ellis County Sports Sports
Fred Phipps/Ellis County Sports Sports contributed to this report.
Travis M. Smith, @Travis5mith