No. 1 Argyle Dominates Gladewater, 42-8, to End Bears’ Magical Run Through the Playoffs
WACO -- The clock struck midnight for the Gladewater Bears' Cinderella run to the state quarterfinals.
Unbeaten and top-ranked Argyle dominated from start to finish and eliminated Gladewater with a 42-8 victory Monday night in their Class 3A Division II Region II final at Midway High School's Panther Stadium.
Gladewater, which had to rally from a 14-point, fourth-quarter deficit in its regular-season finale to even qualify for the playoffs, finished its season 7-7 after collecting three postseason wins -- its first playoff victories since 2001.
"It's meant a lot to everybody I think, and we'll see how much it's meant in years to come," Jerrod Baugh, Gladewater's fourth-year coach, said after the game. "I think this is something to build on. We've come a long way this season, but now we see where we need to get to try to win them all. And that's what we're shooting for in the next several years."
Monday night's game was originally scheduled for last Friday night in Dallas, but was postponed because of icy weather conditions in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex over the weekend.
Argyle (14-0) will face Graham (14-0) at 6 p.m. Saturday at Justin's Northwest ISD Stadium in the state semifinals.
"It's not the way we wanted it to end, but Argyle's a good football team," Baugh said. "And I'd be surprised if they're not the ones that win the state championship."
Argyle senior quarterback Brandon Boyzuick passed for three touchdowns, two of which went to senior standout Ian Sadler, who is committed to Texas Tech.
Both Sadler scores were of the highlight-reel variety -- the first a leaping grab between two Gladewater defenders that gave the Eagles a 21-0 lead early in the second quarter, and the other coming off a deflection from a Bears defender on Argyle's first possession of the second half. Sadler finished with five catches for 96 yards, one week after burning Gladewater rival Gilmer for 182 rushing yards and four touchdowns in Argyle's 45-38 win.
Argyle junior running back Nick Ralston carried 14 times for 136 yards and two first-quarter touchdowns in Monday's win.
Gladewater's offense struggled to find much traction, collecting just 63 total yards and two first downs in the game's first 24 minutes. The Bears finished the game with 217 yards, 152 of which came courtesy of junior running back James Reese, whose 68-yard touchdown run midway through the fourth quarter ended Argyle's shutout bid.
"It was rough sledding," Baugh said of his offense. "We had some guys that may have been a little bit overmatched, but (Argyle) had a good game plan going in. They do some things up front where you really can't get to the linebackers and can't get to the free safety, blocking-wise, and (their defensive linemen) can tackle. We couldn't get to the linebackers and the free safety, which made it hard for us to break any long runs. It looked like we had a crease in there several times, and they'd get in there and make the plays for a two- or three-yard gain."
It took Argyle less than two minutes to take a 7-0 lead. Ralston's 32-yard touchdown capped a four-play, 62-yard drive and was a sign of things to come.
After picking up a first down on its initial series of the game, Gladewater went backwards. Three false-start penalties stalled the drive and forced the first of four first-half punts.
Argyle didn't do anything on the ensuing drive after Gladewater junior defensive tackle Daylon Mack's 5-yard tackle for loss forced a third-and-long and ultimately led to a three-and-out.
Gladewater netted just one yard on its next possession, and Argyle's Reese Thompson returned the punt 34 yards to midfield where the Eagles set up shop. Boyzuick's 41-yard pass to Sadler on first down set up a Ralston 7-yard touchdown, and Argyle led 14-0 at the 2:32 mark of the opening quarter.
It got worse for Gladewater after that as Argyle's Colton Katzen recovered a fumble inside the Bears' 30-yard line, which led to Sadler's 16-yard scoring reception between two defenders on the first play of the second quarter.
Argyle extended its lead to 28-0 on its next drive with a 22-yard run by senior Connor Wilson, who is also committed to Texas Tech but as a defensive back.
Two possessions later, Argyle built a five-touchdown lead by driving 71 yards in eight plays and scoring on a 39-yard pass from Boyzuick to fullback Colton Hinnrichs in the flat with 1:07 remaining in the half.
Gladewater loses just six seniors -- defensive lineman Kenneth Gossett, linebacker Hagen Cooper, linebacker Clint Sorrells, defensive back Dane Lewis, defensive lineman Chase Gardner and offensive lineman Justin Stadtfield -- to graduation. The Bears will have a load of playmakers returning next season, including Mack, a Texas A&M commit and one of the nation's top recruits in the 2015 class.
"You can't replace (a long playoff run)," Baugh said. "I think it's going to give us a lot of experience down the road, but we'll see. We need to have a real good offseason and have a good start to the season next year to see how much we have improved."
No. 1 Argyle 42, Gladewater 8
Class 3A Division II Region II Final
Panther Stadium, Waco
Argyle 14 21 7 0 -- 42
Gladewater 0 0 0 8 -- 8
ARG--Nick Ralston 32 run (Cole Hedlund kick), 10:02.
ARG--Ralston 9 run (Hedlund kick), 2:32.
ARG--Ian Sadler 16 pass from Brandon Boyzuick (Hedlund kick), 11:54.
ARG--Connor Wilson 22 run (Hedlund kick), 8:16.
ARG--Colton Hinnrichs 39 pass from Boyzuick (Hedlund kick), 1:07.\
ARG--Sadler 12 pass from Boyzuick (Hedlund kick), 6:42.
GLA--James Reese 68 run (Daylon Mack run), 5:26.
First Downs 21 9
Total Yards 394 217
Rushes-Yards 34-216 44-199
Passing Yards 178 18
Comp.-Att.-Int. 10-19-0 3-6-0
Punts-Avg. 3-33.3 4-33.0
Fumbles-Lost 0-0 3-2
Penalties-Yards 4-30 7-45
RUSHING--Argyle, Nick Ralston 14-136, Connor Wilson 2-29, Brayden Helliker 8-23, Ian Sadler 4-22, Hunter Treadwell 1-6, Brandon Boyzuick 1-4, Chase Green 1-2, Chance Bode 2-(-1), Jon Pucciarello 1-(-5). Gladewater, James Reese 20-152, Justice Centers 11-25, Darnell McKnight 7-21, Daryl Polk 2-4, Daylon Mack 1-1, Nick Canaguier 3-(-4).
PASSING--Argyle, Boyzuick 8-16-0--144, Cooper Rodgers 2-3-0--34. Gladewater, Canaguier 3-6-0--18.
RECEIVING--Argyle, Sadler 5-96, Colton Hinnrichs 1-39, J.C. Chalk 1-23, Green 1-11, Pucciarello 1-11, Treadwell 1-(-2). Gladewater, Centers 3-18.