Chapel Hill Captures Pool + Waskom, Crockett Push Through to State 7-on-7 D-II Championship Bracket
COLLEGE STATION -- When the Chapel Hill Bulldogs arrived at Veterans Park for Thursday's pool-play action at the state 7-on-7 championships, one thing in particular got their attention.
"We came in here, looked at that trophy and was like 'it's ours,'" said Chapel Hill senior receiver Jeffery Minor.
The Bulldogs are off to a good start after a perfect 3-0 in finish in Pool D, which advanced Chapel Hill to Friday's Division II single-elimination championship bracket. Chapel Hill will face Sweetwater at 9 a.m. in the Round of 32 with the winner meeting the winner between Glen Rose and Kountze at 10:15 a.m.
"The mindset is to win," Minor said of Friday's outlook. "That was the mindset before we even got here."
Chapel Hill had little trouble moving the ball up and down the field all afternoon, scoring wins over Navarro (33-20), Stafford (45-32) and West (33-27).
The Bulldogs led West 27-7 at halftime of their pool-play finale, but surrendered two quick touchdowns to begin the second half. West had an opportunity to tie or take the lead with less than 10 minutes to play, but LaDarrius Edwards' interception in the end zone thwarted the West scoring chance.
The big defensive play preceded the game-sealing scoring drive for Chapel Hill, as Minor broke free from man-to-man coverage to snag Konnor Hitchcock's deep fade for a 33-21 lead with about two minutes remaining.
"It was just a simple fade," Minor said. "I got a little angry, so I had to go out there and catch the ball."
Aside from Hitchcock -- Chapel Hill's junior quarterback -- and Minor, several other Bulldog playmakers enjoyed success Thursday. Reggie King, a 2016 athlete who's receiving Division I recruiting interest, had several catches in traffic and was on the receiving end of three second-half touchdowns in the Bulldogs' win over Stafford.
"You just have to have confidence in your hands," King said. "And I have confidence in mine; I feel like I can catch anything."
Waskom Overcomes Sluggish Start
The day did not begin well for state 7-on-7 newcomer Waskom, which drew the unenviable task of opening pool-play action with private-school power Plano Prestonwood.
But after wins over McGregor and Levelland, the Wildcats finished second in Pool E, and advanced to Friday's single-elimination championship bracket. Waskom will face four-time state tournament champion Celina at 9 a.m. in the Round of 32.
Prestonwood, buoyed by a talented 2016 class of skill-position players (most notably, receiver Michael Irvin Jr.), rolled to a 33-6 victory. The Lions scored the game's final 26 points after June Bug Johnson's touchdown strike to Lucas Norton cut Prestonwood's lead to 7-6 early in the first half.
Waskom, which advanced all the way to the Class 2A Division II state semifinals last fall on the strength of four 1,000-yard rushers, displayed its passing prowess in its next two games -- defeating McGregor 26-13 and Levelland by a score of 35-21.
Should Waskom happen to upset Celina on Friday morning, the Wildcats would face the winner between Argyle and Dallas Episcopal at 10:15 a.m. in the Round of 16.
Crockett Navigates Through Challenging Pool
The Crockett Bulldogs were not short on drama during Thursday afternoon's competitive Pool F action.
After edging Argyle in its opener and suffering a two-point loss to Sealy in the second game, Crockett needed a win over Dublin to secure a spot in the championship bracket.
Crockett's offense was in fine form in the pool-play finale, earning a 40-27 victory over Dublin to finish in a first-place tie for the pool championship. Crockett will face Booker at 9 a.m. Friday in the Round of 32, with the winner facing the victor between Prestonwood and Rockport.
Crockett defeated Argyle 26-22 in the opener, before suffering a 20-18 defeat to Sealy.
In other East Texas action at the top of the bracket, Sabine went 0-3 in Pool B -- losing to Fairfield (37-13), Eastland (40-20) and East Bernard (35-12). The Cardinals will meet Thorndale at 8 a.m. Friday in the consolation bracket.