By TONY EIERDAM
SAINT JO – Like a cunning pool hall hustler, Gordon head coach Shane Mallory toyed with his opponent in the first half before opening up and showing the Savoy Cardinals the Longhorns’ game here Friday night in a six man, second-round playoff game.
Mallory instructed the Longhorns’ offense to play the first half in mostly tight formations, which appeared to play into the hands of the larger Cardinals.
But when the second half began, Mallory had the Longhorns open up the offense to spread out the much larger, but slower, Cardinals.
The result was a showering of 38 points in a span of less than nine minutes as Gordon defeated Savoy, 66-21, in a game stopped by the 45-point mercy rule with 1:04 left in the third quarter.
The Longhorns also stiffened up on defense as Savoy had managed only one touchdown in the third quarter.
“After the first half we spread them out and it ended up helping us,” Mallory said. “I think that benefitted us to keep those guys in space.
“We are used to giving up a lot of size, and we played aggressively. I was pleased with our offense, but our defense is getting better and better each week.”
Gordon (9-3) will advance to the state quarterfinals and face Santa Anna.
Game day, time and location was not available at press time. Check www.mineralwellsindex.com or Tuesday’s Index for the information.
Leading 30-14 at the half, Gordon received the second-half kickoff and needed just two plays to find the end zone.
Quarterback Emory Allen was pressured, so he pulled the ball down and scrambled 50 yards down the right sideline – picking up a huge block from Pedro Lopez along the way – and sprinted into the end zone for a touchdown. Jeremy Jorgensen booted the two-point PAT to extend Gordon’s lead to 38-14.
On the ensuing kickoff, Savoy had trouble handling the onside kick, which was recovered by Gordon’s Jonathan Jennings.
Three plays later, Allen threw a four-yard scoring strike to Stephen Plowman. A big play in the drive was a 20-yard Allen toss to Seth Wheeler.
The PAT kick was blocked as Gordon led 44-14 with 8:26 left in the third period.
The Longhorns got the ball back on Savoy’s next possession when Allen recovered a fumble at the GHS 10.
Gordon followed with the longest match of the game, a 12-play drive that covered 70 yards.
Ironically, in a drive that saw no fourth-down plays the first 11 snaps, the touchdown came on a fourth-and-goal from the Cards’ 6.
Savoy, facing honestly its last chance to salvage the game, allowed Jennings to race uncovered in the end zone, and a scrambling Allen threw a pinpoint pass to the receiver for the score.
There were several big plays in the long drive. Michael Cherry zigged and zagged through the Cards’ defense for 14 and 16 yards, respectively, on the first two plays of the drive.
Allen also completed a pass of 10 yards to Wigington, and the QB had successful scrambles of 13 and eight yards.
Jorgensen booted the PAT to give the ‘Horns a 52-14 cushion with 3:27 left in the third quarter.
Savoy scored its lone second-half touchdown on its ensuing series – an 11-yard pass – and passed for the conversion point to cut the Longhorns’ lead to 52-21.
But celebration was short on the Savoy sidelines as Cherry bull-rushed the onside kick and scooped up the pigskin and raced 60 yards to the end zone for a 58-21 lead.
Lopez recovered a fumble on the Cardinals’ next series to set up the game-ending score, which came on the next play.
On first down from the Savoy 30, Allen dumped a pass to his right to Lopez, who after following a big block from Wheeler, tight-roped down the right sideline and into the end zone.
Jorgensen’s PAT kick gave Gordon the necessary 45-point cushion to end the contest.
Mallory likes the way the Longhorns are playing as they enter the third round of the playoffs.
“I felt Emory had a great game throwing and running the ball” Mallory said. “Despite our slow start, I think we are starting to peak at the right time.”
After Savoy scored first, Gordon matched the score seconds later on a 48-yard touchdown pass from Allen to Lopez.
Gordon took a 22-6 lead after a two-yard touchdown run by Cherry followed by a 49-yard TD strike from Allen to Cherry.
Savoy scored from a yard out to cut the lead to 22-14, and Gordon closed the first-half scoring on a 45-yard sprint to pay dirt by Cherry followed by a Jorgensen PAT kick.
Gordon advances to state quarterfinals against Santa Anna
By TONY EIERDAM
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