Top-Ranked Tenaha Trounces Timpson to Reach State Semifinals
CARTHAGE -- Instead of three-time defending state champion Bremond waiting for Tenaha in the regional finals, the Tigers drew district rival Timpson.
And just like their regular-season matchup, Thursday night's clash was no contest.
Tenaha scored on its first six possession of the first half, and cruised to a 59-0 victory for the Class 2A Division II, Region III championship on a bitterly cold night at Bulldog Stadium.
The win punched a ticket to next week's state semifinals for top-ranked Tenaha (14-0), which will face the winner of Friday's game between Burton and Falls City.
“We’re excited about it," said Tenaha coach Craig Horn. "We can’t accomplish our ultimate goal without clearing this hurdle. We felt like we would be here, we knew it would be a challenge to win the region. It’s East Texas after all, there’s an abundance of talent over here. We’re fortunate enough to come out of the region as the champion.”
Tenaha won its first regional title since 2013. The Tigers fell in the fourth round in each of the previous three seasons -- twice to Bremond, which Timpson (11-3) defeated two weeks ago in the area round.
With a win next week, Tenaha can reach the state finals for the first time since 2012.
Tenaha ran 10 plays in the first quarter, and scored touchdowns on three of them. The Tigers added three more scores in the second quarter for a 42-0 halftime lead on Timpson, which Tenaha defeated 40-6 in the regular-season finale.
“I just the think were motivated to play," Horn said. "A lot of people thought we’d be complacent playing somebody for the second time. It’s a little bit of a rivalry, some jawing going on, a little noise, and that motivated our kids. They wanted this matchup again. It wasn’t hard to get them to come to work this week and prepare. This was just a byproduct of great talent with tremendous work ethic and tremendous character.”
Tigers senior running back Onterio Thompson ran for 195 yards and four touchdowns on 12 attempts. At one point in the first half, he scored on three consecutive carries.
“It feels pretty good," Thompson said. "I ain’t been past the fourth round, we usually always get beat by Bremond or Muenster. Now we’re just trying to get to state and accomplish that because we’ve been working for it since the summer.”
Trai Gardner caught a touchdown and ran for another, quarterback CJ Horn ran for a score, and Jay Lloyd returned the opening kickoff of the second half back 91 yards to the end zone.
Tenaha rolled up 416 yards of offense, averaging more than 11 yards per play.
“We attacked them the last time we played them," Thompson said. "I had like 200 yards and we threw the ball really well, and I thought we could do both (tonight)."
Timpson had no rhythm at all on offense, totaling just 79 yards all night. The Bears scored 67 points in last week's playoff win over Grapeland.
“We weren’t happy they scored (in our regular-season game), and we knew they made some adjustments against us to negate our defensive line speed and strength," Coach Horn said. "We’re gifted physically, but if we’re technicians and we’re relentless, we can negate the advantage that they’re going to gain by widening the splits out.”
Tenaha drove 83 yards in six plays and took a 7-0 lead midway through the first quarter on CJ Horn's 1-yard quarterback keeper.
Juarmez Brock's strip-sack on the ensuing series gave Tenaha the ball at the Timpson 25, and Thompson's 16-yard touchdown run two plays later pushed the Tigers' lead to 14-0.
Tenaha's Trenton Soto blocked a Timpson punt on the next series with the Tigers recovering at the Bears' 12. Thompson scored on the first snap, giving Tenaha a 21-0 lead with 36 seconds remaining in the first quarter.
Thompson's next carry was a 63-yard touchdown, and the rout was on. Gardner caught a 4-yard shovel pass from CJ Horn for a 35-0 lead, and Thompson's fourth TD of the half -- a 4-yard run -- gave Tenaha a 42-0 lead.
“I love the kid, he’s just a war daddy," Coach Horn said of Thompson. "He’s a physical runner, he’s not scared of anything. You can throw that kid on a horse with no saddle, and he’ll ride him. That kid has no fear.”
Tenaha 59, Timpson 0
Class 2A Division II
Region III Championship
At Bulldog Stadium, Carthage
Timpson 0 0 0 0 -- 0
Tenaha 21 21 14 3 -- 59
TEN--CJ Horn 1 run (Christian Castillo kick), 7:10.
TEN--Onterio Thompson 16 run (Castillo kick), 2:57.
TEN--Thompson 12 run (Castillo kick), :36.
TEN--Thompson 63 run (Castillo kick), 10:57.
TEN--Trai Gardner 4 pass from Horn (Castillo kick), 5:58.
TEN--Thompson 4 run (Castillo kick), 2:47.
TEN--Jay Lloyd 91 kickoff return (Castillo kick), 11:42.
TEN--Gardner 44 run (Castillo kick), 7:06.
TEN--FG Castillo 32, 4:50.
First Downs 4 14
Total Yards 79 416
Rushes-Yards 29-44 31-353
Passing Yards 35 63
Comp.-Att.-Int. 6-17-0 5-5-0
Punts-Avg. 6-37.0 1-40.0
Fumbles-Lost 3-1 0-0
Penalties-Yards 1-5 6-60
RUSHING--Timpson, Jordan Osby 13-67, Jon Grogan 10-(-5), Jaden Johnson 4-(-7), Team 2-(-11). Tenaha, Onterio Thompson 12-195, Trai Gardner 1-44, LaDarrius Garrett 5-43, CJ Horn 8-30, Jay Lloyd 1-24, Tavoris Giles 1-12, Gustavo Tovar 2-3, Tray Tutt 1-2.
PASSING--Timpson, Grogan 6-17-0--35. Tenaha, Horn 5-5-0--63.
RECEIVING--Timpson, Kaeson Gentry 3-16, Gannen Braddock 1-14, Brock Behrens 1-7. Tenaha, Gardner 3-25, Erik Smith 2-38.