2017 D2 State Championship Preview: Balmorhea v Strawn

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2017 D2 State Championship Preview: Balmorhea v Strawn

Postby granger » Sun Dec 17, 2017 4:11 pm

BY LEMAN SAUNDERS

DII: Balmorhea v Strawn
This should be the better of the two games in my opinion.

Balmorhea:
Balmorhea is hungry after losing in the state championship game last season to Richland Springs 96-50.
Head coach Vance Jones is 3-3 life-time in state championship games, going 1-1 at Marathon, losing in 1975 and winning in 1976; 0-1 at Sanderson, losing in 2002; 2-0 at Garden City winning in 2009 and 2010; 0-1 at Balmorhea losing last season.

The Bears will run primarily a tight, unbalanced line, veer-type offense. They have multiple offensive weapons:
Kyle Garcia is the premier running back leading his team in all rushing categories with a stat line of 115 carries for 1,894 yards, 38 touchdowns and just one fumble. He has thrown for 229 yards and five touchdowns as well.

Marcos Mendoza has carried the ball just 54 times, but has racked up 778 yards and 24 touchdowns. He’s a key blocker for Garcia and has great hands out of the backfield, having caught 15 passes for 442 yards and nine touchdowns this season.

Marco Martinez at quarterback has completed 75.8% of his passes for 940 yards and 20 touchdowns with only three interceptions this season.

Matthew Carrasco is the team’s leading receiver, hauling in 22 catches for 459 yards and six touchdowns.
Defensively for the Bears…
Mendoza is a beast. He is the team’s leading tackler with 114, has 5 interceptions, 10 forced fumbles, 6 fumble recoveries and 5 defensive touchdowns.

Kyle Garcia has recorded 87 tackles and three interceptions.

Safety Josiha Garcia has picked off eight passes and scored three defensive touchdowns
Avery Mendoza has scooped up 3 fumbles, returning all 3 for touchdowns and has 44 tackles.

The defensive starting line is excellent at getting into the backfield and forcing plays inside. The lineman trio of Lucas Martinez, Danny Vasquez and Matthew Carrasco have recorded 209 tackles and two safeties so far on the season.

Strawn:
The Greyhounds quietly rolled through their season, defeating their first 13 opponents via the 45-point mercy rule. Last week against a very talented, offensive machine, Milford, Strawn racked up 102 points and held the Bulldogs to just three scores in the second half, to win 102-71.

This will be coach Dewayne Lee’s fourth trip to the state championship game, all of which has happened while at Strawn. Lee is 2-1 in state title games, winning in 2003 and 2008 and losing in 2009.

Strawn mixes up their offensive sets, running some tight, unbalanced line sets and old schoo,l balanced line T-formation. They will also throw in some spread formations.

Here is a look at some of their top producing offensive players in the Greyhounds’ four playoffs games.
Julian Fraga has rushed for 467 yards and seven touchdowns on just 25 carries for an average of 18.68 yards per carry.

Tanner Hodgkins has scored 11 offensive touchdowns, 10 on the ground, and rushed for 266 yards.
Carlos Villanueva is 6-for-12 passing with 169 yards and three touchdowns and has 20 carries for 286 yards, seven touchdowns rushing.

Zavion Winegeart has caught four passes for 106 yards, with two touchdowns to lead all receivers in the playoffs.

K-Lani Nava has converted on 23 of her 32 PAT kicks in the playoffs, but struggled some early against Milford.

Jr Cervantes made a 28-yard field goal against Brookesmith.

Defensively Strawn is probably the best team in class 1A.

Tanner Hodgkins is one of the team’s leading tacklers at the linebacker position and is their hardest hitter.
JW Montgomery is an excellent pass defender at defensive back, had two interceptions against Crowell, and is called upon as a spread rusher as well. He did an excellent job bottling up Taron Smith last week.

Ivan Ruiz is a deadly combo at linebacker with Hodgkins.

Marco Lopez is a great defensive back, who is in on a ton of tackles for the Greyhounds.

Carlos Villanueva is a fast ball hawk at the safety position. He had a key interception in the semifinal game against Milford.

These two schools have never played each other on the gridiron before. However, Coach Lee and Coach Jones did square off in the 2009 DI state title game that resulted in a record 210 combined points score, with Jones’ Garden City Bearkats defeating Lee’s Greyhounds, 122-88. The two also competed against one another when Jones was at Sanderson and Lee was at Grandfalls-Royalty back in the 90’s.

The game can go either way…and after watching Strawn beat Milford last week the way they did, with a huge second half dominating performance, I have a hard time picking against them. However, Balmorhea is an older squad who played in Jerry’s World last year and has been playing all season with something to prove. In their two toughest games, against Garden City and last week against Valley, when the game got close, they came together as a team and kicked things into overdrive, having big fourth quarters highlighted by getting big turnovers and stops on defense, while racking up touchdowns, to win both games comfortably. Strawn will push them again in this game and I think they find that overdrive gear again and win a close one.
Balmorhea 68 Strawn 66
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Re: 2017 D2 State Championship Preview: Balmorhea v Strawn

Postby Leman Saunders » Mon Dec 18, 2017 11:19 am

I'm excited about this game!
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