Gunner Capps + Receivers Propel Carthage to Championship Victory
ARLINGTON -- Gunner Capps knew he had to be better.
After committing four turnovers against La Vega in the state semifinal game a week ago, the Carthage quarterback entered the state championship with a new mindset.
“Just trust my boys, my teammates and coaching staff and make sure I held onto the ball," he said.
Capps led the way for the offense, finishing 16-of-21 for 365 yards and three touchdowns. He was on from the opening drive, when he went 6-of-8 before connecting with Dewaylon Ingram for a touchdown.
He was named the Offensive MVP after Carthage's 49-21 victory to claim back-to-back titles and its sixth in the past 10 years.
Kennedale simply couldn't keep up with the speed of Carthage's receivers. It would either succumb to the deep ball or watch haplessly as Dee Bowens or Mekhi Colbert zoomed past it after a short pass. The Bulldogs had five passing plays of greater than 20 yards.
"They have guys out there that are catching the ball and can make plays," Kennedale coach Richard Barrett said. "It was very difficult. When you’ve got (running back Keaontay) Ingram inside and outside, play action and then you hit those guys on the outside, it’s pretty lethal.”
Capps knows well the kills of his receivers. His second touchdown pass of the game was a 64-yard throw to Colbert and his third went 76 yards to Dee Bowens.
Colbert broke the 4A state championship record for receiving yards with 191 on eight catches. That put him ahead of Steve Stratsman, who set the record for Daingerfield in 1985.
Bowens was not far behind. He finished with four catches and a total of 135 yards.
“We knew going into it that we were going to have a lot of what we wanted passing-wise," Capps said. "We just had to get it out to some of those guys to make plays."
Carthage finished with 577 yards and passing accounted for 63 percent of that. The balance of running and throwing kept Kennedale on its toes and made Carthage nearly impossible to stop.
Each receiver that caught a reception in this game will graduate. Capps, a junior, will need to find new weapons. The return of Kelvontay Dixon, a sophomore who broke his ankle in the second game of the season against Liberty-Eylau, figures to be a guy who could fill that void.
Whatever the case, Capps said as good of a game as he had, his receivers had a lot to do with it.
“It’s unbelievable," he said. "Dee Bowens, then Mekhi and Dewaylon definitely make plays. They’re going to make plays 90 percent of the time and go make plays that are almost impossible to make.”