Mineola Halted By Brock In State Semifinals, 38-22
GRAND PRAIRIE -- Jeremiah Crawford threw for 239 yards in Friday's Class 3A Division I state semifinals playoff game against Brock.
That's not the number you want to see out of Mineola. Its offensive production was inversed.
Brock dominated time of possession, ran at will, stopped the Yellowjackets' opposing prolific running game and advanced to the Class 3A Division I state championship game with a 38-22 win at the Gopher-Warrior Bowl in Grand Prairie.
"Well, I'm extremely proud of my guys first and foremost," Mineola head coach Joe Drennon said. "These kids are a 14-1 football team right now. It's not like we got beat by a bad football team. These guys, they have a great chance to win a state championship. I'm proud for (Brock head coach Chad) Worrell and his kids. But I'm equally proud of my kids. They played football hard all night long out here tonight. It just wasn't meant for us to win the thing tonight."
Drennon and company finished their 2015 season as the Class 3A Division I, Region II champions. Together, they delivered their hometown its first perfect regular season since 1966 and owned an East Texas third-best 14-game winning streak into the loss.
The goal, however, was to get back to the state championship game after a loss to Cameron Yoe last year in the final week of the postseason. Mineola and Yoe returned most of their rosters and a rematch was fathomable immediately following that game.
Brock (15-0) will face Yoe instead. It's an even more impressive feat when you consider this is only Brock's second season of UIL varsity football.
Yoe and Brock meet at 5 p.m. Thursday inside the Houston Texans' NRG Stadium for the classification's crown. The game will be televised by Fox Sports Southwest state wide and beyond.
Mineola had the tone set for it on the game's very first snap from scrimmage. Crawford stepped back for a pass and was sacked for seven yards. He ran for 20 yards the next play but actually finished the half with a net of 19 yards on 11 carries.
Crawford ran for more than 300 yards in last week's regional championship win versus Sunnyvale.
The Yellowjackets also had a hard time getting Chantz Perkins involved against a violent defensive front. He ended the first half with two carries for minus-three yards before turning seven second half touches into a team-best 86 rushing yards.
Perkins ran for about 200 yards last week.
It was still a game at the break. Mineola trailed 9-7 and easily could have been up 10-9. A tough wind helped push Willie Tinajero's go-ahead, 29-yard field goal wide right.
Brock averaged 5.5 yards per running play through the first act. Mineola earned 1.64 yards per carry. The Yellowjackets' defensive front seemed to be at the end of its rope.
So, Brock opened the second half with an 11-play, 70-yard drive featuring eight runs out of power sets. Those helped set up quarterback Seth Boleman's dump off pass to Cooper Warren underneath the coverage, and Warren went about 15 yards of the 19-yard touchdown connection with 6:50 left in the third quarter.
Mineola never got beyond eight points down again, as running back Leddy French worked out to a game-best 173 yards on 22 carries and Tyler Gray went for 96 yards on 19 attempts.
The Yellowjackets' third and final punt on the ensuing three-and-out set up a six-play, 60-yard drive capped by Gray's 5-yard score less than two minutes later for a 23-7 Brock advantage.
Crawford cut the lead back down to eight points, 23-15, with a 4-yard run and short two-point conversion carry after Brock jumped offsides on a point after attempt.
Brock put up the next 15 points. It was such a good night that a bobbled snap on a point after attempt turned into a successful two-point conversion pass.
Just like last season, Mineola's final offensive play was a Perkins touchdown. He ran in from 2 yards with 1:13 left in the game. That broke Brock's previous season-worst defensive cap of 19 points given up.
The Yellowjackets failed to recover a long onside kick.
"We couldn't block them," Drennon said. "They got after us up front and changed our game plan a little bit. That happens though. It's football. We're not going to come out against pansy right now at this level."
The big play offered some hope until late. Michael Drennon made it a 9-7 game in the second quarter with a 64-yard catch from Crawford on third-and-11.
Frankie Meason had a 90-yard touchdown taken away on a controversial call. An official ruled the receiver stepped out of bounds at Brock's 12-yard line deeper in the second quarter.
Two plays later, after a Crawford run for no gain, the quarterback appeared to find Seth Hudgins in the back corner of the end zone for a 12-yard scoring throw. The officials ruled Hudgins bobbled the ball.
All of that set up the missed field goal before halftime.
Those scoring opportunities would have been a rally back from a 9-0 deficit.
Brock's first drive went 61 yards through 10 plays before Mineola's defense recovered to cede a successful Bryce Nye 27-yard field goal.
Mineola went three-and-out from there and Brock drove 48 yards in 12 plays, before Gray hit pay dirt from 8 yards. Austin Anderson blocked the point after attempt.
Speaking of Anderson and his twin brother Riley Anderson, Friday marked the end of their high school careers. They will continue playing football at Texas A&M as offensive linemen next season.
The Yellowjackets are in good standing at virtually all other positions, which once again provides some hope the team can make a deep postseason run.
Mineola will graduate nine seniors from its 41-man varsity roster in May.
"The expectation is to be right back here again," Joe Drennon said. "We're not going to go for anything less than a ring. We're going to go to work next week and start on working for a championship next year. It's going to hurt for a while. I understand that. As soon as that hurt is over, we'll get back to work and try to win one next year."
Brock 38, Mineola 22
Class 3A Division I State Semifinal Playoff Game
Gopher-Warrior Bowl, Grand Prairie
Mineola 0 7 8 7 -- 22
Brock 3 6 14 15 -- 38
BRO--Bryce Nye 27 field goal, 4:48
BRO--Tyler Gray 8 run (kick blocked), 8:49
MIN--Michael Drennon 64 pass from Jeremiah Crawford (Tinajero kick), 6:00
BRO--Cooper Warren 21 pass from Seth Boleman (Nye kick), 6:50
BRO--Gray 5 run (Nye kick), 3:24
MIN--Crawford 4 run (Crawford run), :19
BRO--Warren 55 pass from Leddy French (Pike Langford pass from Kyle Thiel), 10:48
BRO--French 9 run (Nye kick), 3:34
MIN--Chantz Perkins 2 run (Tinajero kick), 1:13
First Downs 13 25
Total Yards 381 457
Rushes-Yards 27-142 50-309
Passing Yards 239 148
Comp.-Att.-Int. 9-18-1 8-13-0
Punts-Avg. 3-34.3 1-46
Fumbles-Lost 0-0 3-0
Penalties-Yards 3-25 4-21
RUSHING--Mineola, Chantz Perkins 9-86, Jeremiah Crawford 16-45, Kartney Hampton 2-11. Brock, Leddy French 22-173, Tyker Gray 19-96, Seth Boleman 5-18, Cooper Warren 1-10, Tren Corcorran 1-6, Titus Gossett 1-4, Dawson Littlepage 1-2.
PASSING--Mineola, Crawford 9-18-1--239. Brock, Boleman 7-12-0--93, French 1-1-0--55.
RECEIVING--Mineola, Frankie Meason 3-95, Michael Drennon 1-64, Seth Hudgins 2-45, Addison Rychlik 2-27, Perkins 1-8. Brock, Cooper Warren 3-85, Corcorran 3-28, Gossett 2-25.