Bucks’ win sets up district championship showdown Friday
PONDER— The Breckenridge High School Buckaroos will host Brock for the 3A District 4 championship at 7:30 p.m. Friday after trouncing Ponder 43-7 to set up the district title showdown.
Senior running back Zach Willis put the Bucks on the scoreboard just seconds in to regulation after returning the opening kickoff 85 yards for a touchdown, and scored four more TDs while rushing for nearly 200 yards, during a 43-7 rout last Friday.
“I just trusted my blockers and trusted my coaches,” Willis said. “They told me where to be. They were opening the holes and I was hitting them. I feel pretty good, but without my blocking I’d be nothing.”
Willis made himself at home in the Ponder end zone last Friday, adding 6 points on the Bucks’ first drive with a 4-yard run and returning 3 minutes later with another 4-yard run to put the Bucks up 19-0. Ponder’s only score of the night came on a 4-yard reception from junior quarterback Mason Durrett to senior receiver Trevor Anderson with 37 seconds left in the first half.
“We just caught them off guard with passing game, then we just ran the ball and they weren’t expecting that,” Willis said.
Although all eyes were on Willis Friday night, the Bucks’ offense through the air was equally formidable. Sophomore quarterback Owen Woodward continued his hot streak, completing 9 of 19 passes for 171 yards and a touchdowns. Woodward hit junior receiver Kyler Knight, who caught four passes for 131 yards, on a 10-yard route that turned into a 53-yard touchdown after Knight carved up the field to put Breckenridge up 40-7 late in the third quarter. A field goal by junior kicker Jose Escobedo gave Breckenridge a 36-point advantage with 10 minutes left in regulation. Ponder coach Rusty Ballard then opted pull his starters and Breckenridge coach Casey Hubble reciprocated.
“On the defensive side, it’s coming together,” Hubble said. “We’ve fixed some of our issues with tackling. I’m proud of our kids. They secondary is doing really well, the linebacker corp. is pretty solid and doing a great job and our defensive line has been pretty dominant.”
Although the Buckaroos offense shined in its final road game of the regular season, their defense kept the Ponder offense quiet, holding them to under 120 yards thanks to a senior linebacker Warren Hardy, junior defensive back Kevin Franco and junior middle linebacker Griffin Flornoy, who each put up double-digit tackles last Friday.
“We focus really hard in practice with our down blocks, our techniques and being physical all the way around,” senior defensive end Terrance Roberson said. “It was physicality and heart. I think we had more heart than them … It’s heartwarming. I knew we had this in us and show Breckenridge what we can do.”
The Buckaroos will next face Brock (7-1, 4-0), who comes into Friday’s game after rolling through its previous 3A District 4 foes 168-23 with its latest victory coming in a 59-7 beat-down of Boyd last Friday. In head-to-head competition, the Buckaroos have not defeated the Eagles since their promotion from 2A to 3A in 2014, falling 45-0 (2016), 20-17 (2015) and 18-3 (2014). The Eagles were tabled to win the 2017 3A state championship by Dave Campbell High School Football Magazine 2017, and seem well on their way with their only loss coming to Midland Christian.
“They are physical. They’ve always been physical,” Roberson said. “That is what they’re best at. We’re going to have to match them and be physical just like them. That and have the heart we had tonight.”
On offense, the Eagles typically run in a two-back formation but can go under center or from a shotgun whenever in a third-and-long situation. On defense, the Eagle run from a three-man front and let their fast, aggressive linebackers do all of the heavy lifting. Having faced Brock three times in his high school athletic career, Robertson said the Buckaroos must match Brock’s intensity step-for-step if they hope to end the regular season the a victory and a district championship.
“I’m super excited. This is our last home game as seniors so we really have to come out and show Breckenridge what we can do one last time,” Roberson said.
Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m.
Breck 6 13 15 10 - 43
BHS 0 6 21 3 - 7
11:47: Willis 87-yard kickoff return, extra point no good.
5:38: Willis 4-yard run, Escobedo XP good. 2:58: Willis 4-yard run, XP no good. 0:37 Anderson 4-yard reception from Durrett, XP good.
8:34: Willis 37-yard run, XP good. 7:39 Willis 9-yard run, XP good. 5:48 Knight 53-yard reception from Woodward, XP good.
10:48: Escobedo field goal.
PASSING — Woodward, 8 of 19 for 171 yards, 1 TD.
RUSHING — Willis 15-177, 4 TD. Ruiz 6-51, Harding 2-5, Woodward 6-25, Cortez 4-9.
RECEIVING — Escalon 2-20, Knight 4-131, 1 TD, Franco 1-10, Medina 1-2, Arellano 1-36.