[By Colby Fleet, Special to ETSN.fm[

PALESTINE -- White Oak proved their balanced attack was superior to Franklin’s run-heavy option in Friday’s cold Class 2A Division I Region III final.

White Oak senior quarterback Dylan Gale led the way by completing 17 of 29 passes for 294 yards and a touchdown to help the Roughnecks shut out No. 6 Franklin 31-0 for the Roughnecks' first regional championship since 1970.

White Oak (13-1), which continued to show the ability to run and pass efficiently, will face defending state champion Cameron Yoe (13-1) -- a 28-26 winner over Hallettsville -- next Friday night at 7:30 p.m. from Allen's Eagle Stadium in the state semifinals.

Senior running back Riley Lakin led White Oak on the ground with 110 yards and three touchdowns on 30 carries, most of the damage coming in the first half. He also caught two screen passes for 48 yards.

The cold weather did not hinder Gale’s passing attack, as he hooked up with fellow senior classmates Gabe Michael and Jansen McCurdy for 12 of his 17 completions. Seven of them went to Michael for 116 yards and the other five to McCurdy for 101 yards, including a 42-yard touchdown. Hayden Nichols added two grabs for 22 yards, while the kicker Jack Rogers caught one for seven yards.

White Oak’s defense, which limited Franklin to 218 yards, had five takeaways, including two interceptions by junior defensive back Jake Pullen, which gave White Oak short fields to work with. White Oak had five possessions that began in Franklin territory.

Pullen intercepted a pass on Franklin’s first possession to give White Oak the ball at the Franklin 19-yard line. Barely three minutes into the game, Lakin took the handoff and punched it in from a yard out for an early 7-0 advantage.

Franklin’s defense was able to force White Oak into a third-and-20 on the Roughnecks' next series, but Gale was able to find McCurdy for a 30-yard pick up. After a Franklin goal-line stand, Rogers kicked one through from 23 yards away for a 10-0 lead with 3:50 remaining in the first quarter.

Lakin’s 6-yard touchdown run pushed the Roughnecks' lead to 17-0 with 5:10 remaining in the half. McCurdy's fumble recovery led to another White Oak score as Lakin scored his final touchdown of the half from a yard away to extend the lead 24-0 heading into halftime.

On a fourth and six early in the fourth quarter, Gale found McCurdy for a 42-yard touchdown pass. McCurdy bobbled the ball for a second, but regained control and cruised into the end zone to complete the scoring.

Franklin (13-1) used eight different ball carriers. Junior Morgan Brewer and classmate Adam Lopez combined on 31 carries for 118 yards. Defensively Senior Zack Short recorded a sack a was in on a couple tackles for loss.

Franklin's Morgan Brewer tries to avoid a White Oak defender during the Roughnecks' 31-0 win in their Class 2A Division I Region III final Friday night in Palestine. (Lee Loveless, ETSN.fm)


White Oak 31, No. 6 Franklin 0

Class 2A Division I Region III Final
Wildcat Stadium, Palestine

White Oak             10   14    0    7    --   31
Franklin                   0     0    0    0    --    0
First Quarter
WO--Riley Lakin 1 run (Jack Rogers kick), 7:44.
WO--FG Rogers 23, 3:50.
Second Quarter
WO--Lakin 6 run (Rogers kick), 5:10.
WO--Lakin 1 run (Rogers kick), :12.
Fourth Quarter
WO--Jansen McCurdy 42 pass from Dylan Gale (Rogers kick), 10:17.

                                            WO              FRA
First Downs                             18                 14
Total Yards                            418               218
Rushes-Yards                    39-124          56-218
Passing Yards                         294                 0
Comp.-Att.-Int.                 17-29-0            0-5-2
Punts-Avg.                         1-29.0          1-31.0
Fumbles-Lost                           3-1              3-3
Penalties-Yards                    11-70             1-10

RUSHING--White Oak, Riley Lakin 30-110, Zach Rowe 4-10, Dylan Gale 5-4. Franklin, Morgan Brewer 18-64, Adam Lopez 13-54, Todd Johnson 7-40, Stephen Commander 5-23, Dylan Smitheman 3-16, Tyler Henson 5-15, Will Phillips 4-12, Jacob Dorsett 1-2.
PASSING--White Oak, Gale 17-29-0--294. Franklin, Smitherman 0-5-2--0.
RECEIVING--White Oak, Gabe Michael 7-116, Jansen McCurdy 5-101, Lakin 2-48, Hayden Nichols 2-22, Jack Rogers 1-7.