[By Colby Fleet, Special to ETSN.fm]

JEFFERSON— A playoff berth was on the line Friday night, and the team known for its hurry-up offense reserved a spot.

Junior quarterback Dylan Gale accounted for four touchdowns, while senior running back Hunter Owens scored two touchdowns to lead White Oak to a 44-27 victory at Jerry Bennett Field at W.F. Lockett Stadium to crush Jefferson’s playoff hopes.

The win also helped White Oak (8-2, 4-1 in District 9-2A Division I) clinch a share of the district title with Tatum and Troup. The Roughnecks will face Anahuac in the first round of the playoffs.

Jefferson (7-3, 2-3) trailed 29-7 in the third before Deion Williams’ 53-yard touchdown run and 18-yard touchdown run trimmed White Oak’s lead to 14 points with 2:23 left in the third quarter.

Jefferson quarterback Brayden Varnell completed four passes on a 13-play drive that consumed a little more than five minutes, including a 53-yard swing-pass to Williams that set up a Varnell to Clements 14-yard touchdown to cut the lead 37-27.

Owens ran seven times for 44 yards in the final 4:32 of the ballgame to melt the clock. And Gale scored a 1-yard keeper for the game’s final points.

Varnell completed 13 of 32 for passes 175 yards, two touchdowns, and one interception. Williams ran 22 times for 140 yards and two touchdowns. He also had a catch for 53 yards for Jefferson.

Gale was 13 of 21 for 207 yards, three touchdowns, and had a 1-yard touchdown run, while Hunter Owens ran 31 times for 142 yards, and scored two touchdowns with one coming on a 14-yard screen-pass. Defensively, Darion Barr added an interception.

Varnell found tight end Quincy Clements for an eight-yard scoring toss that capped a 11-play, 61 yard drive that melted almost 5 minutes off the clock for the game’s first score 7-0.

White Oak answered, as Gale needed only 1:06 to throw his first touchdown pass to 6-1, receiver Gabe Michael for a 36-yard score and Darion Barr ran in the two-point conversion 8-7.

White Oak took command in the first half, as junior wide receiver Jansen McCurdy caught four passes for 83 yards, including a 10-yard touchdown for a 29-7 lead going into intermission.