Mineola Tops Shallowater 42-27 For First State Championship Game Appearance
BROWNWOOD -- The Yellowjackets cruised early, sweated it out late and ultimately left Friday's Class 3A Division I state semifinal playoff game against Shallowater with a 42-27 victory and a date with Cameron Yoe in the championship game.
No offensive struggles in this one. The Mineola offense as a whole racked up 524 yards.
Sophomore Chantz Perkins shined on the big stage at Brownwood's Gordon Wood Stadium with 372 rushing yards and three scores on just 25 carries.
"I can say that little son of a gun is fast," winning head coach Joe Drennon said. "Chantz has a big heart. Fast. Great kid, great hard work ethic and he deserves everything he got out on this field tonight."
The 5-foot-7, 165-pound sophomore ripped off long touchdown runs of 75 and 69 yards in addition to an 8-yard score. He also set up one of quarterback Jeremiah Crawford's three touchdowns on the ground with a 47-yard run from midfield the play prior.
Mineola's defense came to play once again, but they got a test from Shallowater (13-2).
Mustangs running back Cooper Ogle had a fantastic game in his own right. The junior star from West Texas picked up 251 yards and scored once with his 38 carries.
Shallowater's Achiles heel was its inability to convert two situations within Mineola's 10-yard line. It also fumbled its first possession of the game away at its own 35-yard line after the Yellowjackets (12-3) punted.
Mineola converted the game's lone turnover with Perkins' setup run of 11 yards and Crawford's 24-yard opening score.
Mustangs quarterback Westin Elliott connected with Ran Johnston for an apparent 4-yard score on 4th-and-goal in the second quarter, but Johnston was ruled to have stepped out of the back end of the end zone before making the catch. That allowed Mineola, up 21-7 at the time, to drive more than 90 yards for a Crawford 8-yard score and roll the clock down to 1:01 before the half.
Shallowater cut what was a 35-7 deficit with six minutes to play in the third quarter to 35-27 with 5:47 left in the game, but Perkins scored on the first play of the ensuing Mineola possession.
The Mustangs drove back down to the Yellowjackets' 7-yard line, but a false start on second-and-goal and a 3-yard loss knocked Shallowater back to the 15. Olge got the team back to the 10 with a 5-yard run with 2:47 to play.
After taking its final two timeouts to discuss the issue at hand, Ogle dropped a screen pass.
Perkins clinched the Yellowjackets' fist state championship game berth in school history a minute later with a 38-yard run and Mineola kneeled the game out.
"I'm going to remember this for the rest of my life," Perkins said. "It's just going to keep on getting better from here. I never imagined it being this crazy. I never imagined us coming out with this much force. I never imagined my offensive line kicking as much butt as they did. I'm just so thankful for everybody on my team."
Perkins passed 2,000 rushing yards this season with his performance.
Crawford added 117 yards on 18 carries.
Mineola spent Thursday evening in Brownwood to avoid playing just an hour or so after getting off a 250-mile bus ride.
Drennon, who was admittedly nervous about the decision prior to departure, called the choice a complete success.
"I was scared to death about what we needed to do as far as coming up here and spending the night," the coach said. "I guess it all worked out. The kids were so focussed. They did a great job coming up and going to practice, a great job of laying down for the night on time, waking up on time. Going over and practicing again this morning and staying focussed all day long.
"That's hard to do. People don't understand that. That's awful hard to do to keep that focus that long. But we came out in the first half and were ready to play football."
Mineola will have to stay focussed. The five-hour trip home probably did not yield much sleep and they're due to play Cameron Yoe at 8 p.m. Thursday at AT&T Stadium in Arlington.
Cameron Yoe (11-4), a perennial state power, put the finishing touches on a 70-34 win against Edna a few minutes after the game in Brownwood concluded.
Mineola will be joining at least three other East Texas programs in the championship round. Gilmer will play in the Class 4A Division II championship game, Newton and Waskom will go head-to-head for the 3A Division II crown and John Tyler can make it to the 5A Division I game with a win Saturday against Aledo.
"We're coming," Crawford said. "We're coming. It's going to be a challenge both ways and I know they're not going to stop fighting and we're not going to stop fighting. I hope it's a great game."
Mineola 42, Shallowater 27
Class 3A Division I
At Gordon Wood Stadium, Brownwood
Shallowater 7 0 6 14 -- 27
Mineola 14 14 7 7 -- 42
MIN--Jeremiah Crawford 24 run (Willie Tinajero kick), 6:14
SHA--Chris Contreras 1 run (Sammy Mitchell kick), 2:18
MIN--Perkins 75 run (Tinajero kick), 2:06
MIN--Crawford 3 run (Tinajero kick), 8:26
MIN--Crawford 8 run (Tinajero kick), 1:01
MIN--Perkins 8 run (Tinajero kick), 6:09
SHA--Cooper Ogle 12 run (kick failed), :57
SHA--Connor Smith 19 pass from Contreras (Mitchell kick), 10:09
SHA--Preston Scaff 56 pass from Contreras (Mitchell kick), 5:47
MIN--Perkins 69 run (Tinajero kick), 5:35
First Downs 25 22
Total Yards 481 524
Rushes-Yards 51-330 48-489
Passing Yards 151 35
Comp.-Att.-Int. 10-21-0 2-4-0
Punts-Avg. 2-36.0 4-23
Fumbles-Lost 1-1 1-0
Penalties-Yards 6-40 3-25
RUSHING--Shallowater, Cooper Ogle 39-251, 18 Chris Contreras 11-72, Austin McGinnis 1-6, Trayson Reyes 1-1. Mineola, Chantz Perkins 25-372, Jeremiah Crawford 18-117.
PASSING--Shallowater, Contreras 5-11-0--107, Westin Elliott 5-10-0--44. Mineola, Crawford 2-4-0--35
RECEIVING--Shallowater, Preston Scaff 4-92, McGinnis 2-21, Ran Johnston 2-20, Connor Smith 1-19, Ogle 1-(-1). Mineola, Brent Wells 1-32, Michael Drennon 1-3.