By Elizabeth McKamy
t wasn’t perfect and it sure wasn’t easy but the Gladewater Bears claimed the District 6 3A D1 crown with a 63– victory over the Cardinals of Sabine Friday night at James Bamburg Stadium in Liberty City.
Spotting the Cardinals 10 early points, QB Tristan Holmes got Gladewater rolling, throwing for 296 yards and 5 touchdowns in the 1st half, and the Bears used a 36-7 2nd Quarter swing to cruise to a 43-17 halftime lead. Holmes hit three different Gladewater receivers with TD passes in the 1st Half. WR DJ Allen caught TD passes of 39, 28 and 29 yards. Sr WR K’Havia Reese caught a 44 yard TD pass and Malachi Gordon added a 6 yard TD catch to give the Bears their 26 point halftime cushion.
Sabine, who had never beaten the Bears in 24 tries, weren’t going to give up, roll over or lay down on their “Senior Night”. After giving up another Gladewater touchdown on the opening drive of the 2nd Half, the Cardinals racked up 20 unanswered points to narrow the Bear lead to 12 with 10:57 left in the game. On the ensuing kickoff a pooch kick by Sabine was scooped up by the Bears Kolin Lewis and returned 26 yards to set Gladewater with good field position at their own 46 yard line. Four plays later RB Devon Walker powered his way into the endzone from 6 yards out to give the Bears a 56-37 lead, and breathing room, with 9:27 left in the contest.
it only took the Cardinals 1:40 to cut into the Gladewater lead once again. Going 81 yards in 6 plays Sabine QB Jace Burns hit WR Kaden Manning on a 57 yard touchdown strike making the score 56-44 Bears with 7:47 left.
Gladewater scored their final points of the night after a recovery of a Sabine onside kick gave them the ball at their own 38 yard line. Five plays later Holmes threw his 6th TD pass of the night hitting Allen with a 28 yard strike to give the Bears a 63-44 lead with 5:18 left. The Gladewater defense did the rest, stopping the Cardinals on 4 straight downs to give the Bear offense the ball and run out the clock and claim the victory and the District crown.
The Bears have an open date to get ready for the playoffs where they will take on the 4th seed from the ever dangerous District 5. Opponent, site and date are yet to be determined. Congratulations to the Bear players and coaches on your District title.