AT&TStadium—Stephenville senior Cody Eaken did just about everything here Friday except deliver packages for Amazon.
He made spectacular TD catches, almost as superb KEY interceptions and in the 4th quarter rushed for time-consuming yardage to hold off Austin LBJ for the 4AD1 crown, 38-21,
The LBJ Jaguars started the game with a bad case of AT&T "jitters," and trailed 24-7 at the half. They steadied themselves in the last two quarters and showed they belonged.
Franklin vs. Gunter
Rushing team versus Passing team, which was the nature of Thursday night's 3AD2 final.
And Franklin, the rushing team, won, led by Malcolm Murphy and Bryson Washington. Every time it looked like Gunter might threaten Franklin simply called on one or more of its running backs to keep the Tigers in check. (The game was tied at 35 all going into the 4th quarter.)
Malcolm Murphy was named the MVP. In addition to 280 yards rushing, he added a pair of timely interceptions in the final quarter.
Franklin ended 2021 with a 16-0 record, Gunter closed out with the title game as its only loss.
Lorena vs. Brock
Several thoughts had to run through the minds of fans who watched Lorena topple Brock, 35-18, for the 3AD1 crown.
One was a deeper appreciation for *Coach Ray Biles and his staff, who put together an exceptionally talented, well-disciplined 2021 Leopard team.
That said, this reviewer is left to wonder how the Leopards ever lost two games, albeit their first two of 2021.
My conclusion: Don't bet against either the Franklin Lions (15-0) in the 3AD2 final or against the China Spring Cougars in their 4AD2 championship game. Franklin beat the Leopards 27-20 in Week 1, and China Spring followed the next with a 21-13 win over the 2021 3AD1 champs.
In fact, were I the coach for Gilmer (14-1), I'd spend as much time as available before game time watching the film of Thursday afternoon's final.
Gunter opposes Franklin (3AD2) tonight and Gilmer goes against China Spring (4AD2) Friday afternoon, 3:00 p.m. start.
*Our apologies for allowing an erroneous spelling of Ray Biles last name in an earlier edition.
2AD2 - Stratford vs. Falls City
In what many observers thought was the best game of the first four that opened the 12 state title contests being held this week in AT&T. stadium, the Elks defeated Falls City, 39-27
Stratford seniors Dru Jones and Cody Rinne, ably assisted by their teammates, led the Elks to their fourth state title.
Dru Jones was so immersed in the game he seemed to be in on almost every play. Not surprisingly, he was named the game's MVP.
The loss was a heartbreaker for Falls City and its home-again head coach Mark Kirchoff.
2AD1 - Shiner vs. Hawley
For many 2AD1 fans the great news out of AT&T Stadium Wednesday night was that it meant the last they would ever see of Shiner senior Doug Brooks, and every ounce of his 265 lb. frame and exceptional speed.
Brooks and his brother Daniel, a junior, led the Comanches to their second consecutive title with a convincing 47-12 victory over a scrappy bunch of Hawley Bearcats, who, like every other 2021 Shiner opponent, were simply overmatched.
But don't count out the Comanches for a return to AT&T in 2022. HC Dan Boedeker has proven his ability to mold and guide a winner, and the unstoppable younger Brooks brother does return.