By Elizabeth McKamy
The Gladewater offense opened up a 21-0 halftime lead and the stingy Bear defense held White Oak to 21 yards rushing enroute to a 31-14 victory here Friday night at Jack V Murphy “Bear ” Stadium on “Senior Night”. The “run heavy” Roughnecks, playing without their starting QB couldn’t get their rushing attack on track all night, forcing them to the air against the “bend but don’t break ” Bear secondary. Racking up 206 yards on the night, through the air, White Oak fought back in the 2nd half, but the Gladewater defense stood firm, while the Bear offense put the game out of reach. The Bear’s balanced offense put up 198 yards of their own through the air along with 170 yards on the ground.
Legendary football coach Paul “Bear ” Bryant once said, “Offense sells tickets. Defense wins championships.” In the 1st Quarter Friday night, defense was on full display, as both teams proved why they are at the top of the District 6 3A D1 standings. After six series, three by each team, the offenses had only managed a combined 19 yards. The Gladewater offense was the first to get untracked as QB Tristan Holmes hit WR Kolin Lewis with a 29 yard strike with :55 left on the clock in the 1st Quarter. Justice Hassek’s extra point was good and the Bears took a 7-0 lead. After another big defensive stand on White Oak’s next drive, it only took the Bears one play to add to their lead, this time on a 64 yard pass from Holmes to WR DJ Allen. Hassek’s kick was again good and Gladewater went up 14-0 with 11:35 left in the 2nd Quarter.
The Bears got their third 1st Half score after an 11 yard Roughneck punt gave them the ball at the White Oak 45 yard line. Taking advantage of the great field position, Gladewater drove to the Roughneck 24 yard line, but a holding penalty backed the Bears up. On 3rd and 20 from the White Oak 34, Gladewater coaches dialed up the perfect play. Holmes threw a 9 yard strike to Lewis who flipped the ball to RB Eligia Carter who streaked down the sidelines on a beautiful “hook and lateral ” into the end zone for the score to give the Bears a 21-0 halftime advantage.
The Bears took the 2nd Half kickoff, but on 3rd and 9 from their own 30 yard line QB Holmes was sacked, losing the ball and setting up the Roughnecks on their best field position of the night. Six plays later White Oak was knocking at the door of the end zone with a 1st and goal at the Gladewater 3 yard line. Once again the “Stone Wall” Bear defense rose to the occasion shutting down the Roughnecks on four straight downs and giving the ball back to the Gladewater offense. It was then White Oak’s turn to play defense, showing why they had been undefeated on the season. Halting the Bear drive the Roughnecks put pressure on the Bear kicker resulting in a 10 yard punt. It only took White Oak one play to finally get on the board as QB Dylan Creager hit RB Dalton Morgan on a 38 yard TD pass. Brian Smith’s kick was good, closing the Bear lead to 21-7 with 4:01 left in the 3rd Quarter.
After an unsuccessful onside kick gave the Bears the ball in good field position at their own 46 yard line, Gladewater went on their longest drive of the night, going 39 yards in 11 plays and scoring on a 30 yard field goal by Hassek, giving the Bears a 24-7 lead with 11:40 left in the game.
Gladewater extended their lead on their next possession going 37 yards in 7 plays. RB Malachi Gordon scored on a 4 yard run and Hassek’s kick was good, giving the Bears a 31-7 advantage with 5:40 left in the game.
White Oak got their final points of the contest scoring on a 70 yard pass from Creager to Colton Cobb. The Roughneck extra point was good giving them their 14th point of the night. The Bear offense ran out the last 4:15 on the clock, sealing the victory and giving them sole possession of 1st place in district. The Bears travel to Liberty City, for their last district contest, to take on the Sabine Cardinals Friday, October 30th, 2020. Gametime is 7:30 pm.