Estacado too fast for Wolves
By Rodney White
The Estacado Matadors used the speed and big plays from their rushing and passing game to take over 2nd place in district 1-3A by beating the Wolves 27-17, on a chilly Thursday night in Lubbock. The Wolves had their chances but seemed to run out of steam toward the end of the game, and Estacado just kept piling up yardage to seal the victory with a 6 yard TD run by Augustine Abigide, who rushed for 139 yards and 4 touchdowns with 4:46 left in the game.
The Wolves looked good early when Estacado fumbled the opening kickoff and Dalhart recovered at the 25 yard line, to give the Wolves a short field. After big carries by Devonte Burks and Adrian Ruiz, Burks rushed across the goal line from 3 yards out, and after the extra point by Zinzan Puttick, Dalhart led 7-0. The Dalhart defense was exceptional holding the Matadors to 3 and out on their first 3 possessions, but the Wolves were unbable to move the ball except for short bursts up the middle. Dalhart looked to be in good position for more points when they forced the Matadors to punt from the 13. The short punt was downed at the 39, but after picking up 10 yards the Wolves fumbled the ball away at the Matador 29. The next possession by the Wolves was again stopped and they had to punt to Estacado, who got the ball at the 44 yard line for a short field. The Matadors were able to move the ball, and they scored from 1 yard out. The extra point kick was blocked and the Wolves still led 7-6 with 5:32 left in the half.
The Wolves again had trouble moving the ball against the Matadors, and punted the ball to Lubbock. The Matadors fumbled the ball away again at the 39, and the Wolves took over. A 15 yard penalty against Lubbock moved the ball to the 46 yard line, then Ruiz rushed 20 yards to the 28. The drive stalled and Zinzan Puttick came on and kicked a 40 yard field goal to move Dalhart in front 10-6. with 42 seconds left in the half.
The Wolves had a short kickoff to Estacado, and with time expiring they threw 2 ugly passes, one for 38 yards and one for 28 yards. They only threw 3 passes all half and the 3rd pass was into triple coverage by the Wolves, but somehow they managed to jump up and catch the pass setting up a first down at the 3 yard line. With 4 seconds left in the half the Matadors used an option play that was mishandled and they recovered at the 14 yard line with no time left on the clock, but a hard count by Stubblefield had drawn the Wolves offsides, and Estacado got one more chance from 1 yard out. The Matadors then were able to score from 1 yard out although replays on the Lubbock news showed that Abigide probably did not cross the goal line. So the Matadors took the lead 13-10 at halftime, and this seemed to take the wind out of the Wolves.
Dalhart came out after half time and again looked good Estacado continued to have trouble handling the ball and fumbled the ball to Dalhart at the 44 yard line. On Dalhart’s next play, great blocking by the right side of the offensive line opened a big hole and Adrian Ruiz rumbled 44 yards to put Dalhart back on top 17-13.
Estacado returned the next kickoff to the 49 yard line. They were driving the ball again when Harper Scofield recovered a fumble at the 28 yard line. Harper then caught a pass and moved the ball to the 43 yard line of the Wolves. The Estacado corner back Kevin Wagner, who just committed to play for Texas Tech as a basketball point guard in 2 years, jumped in front of the pass and raced untouched into the end zone from 55 yards out. A personal foul was called against Lubbock so the play came back and Estacado took over at the 42 to end the 3rd quarter. The Matadors were able to move the ball and Abigide rushed into the end zone from 29 yards out to give the lead back to Lubbock 20-17, with 10:50 left in the game.
Kaleb Grant returned the kickoff to the 36 yard line but the Matador defense again held the Wolves who were forced to punt after a sack and Lubbock took over at the 32 yard line. The Matadors were able to move the ball on the tiring Dalhart defense and Abigide scored from 6 yards out to make the score 27-17 with 4:46 left in the game.
The Wolves tried to make something happen on the kick off but wound up starting their drive from the 11. On 4th and 2, the Wolves called a time out. Thomas Allen then tried to fool Lubbock with a fake punt, but then dropped back to punt the ball. Estacado was driving the ball when Greg Carter recovered another fumble after a big hit on the receiver at the 14 yard line. Dalhart could not move the ball against the Estacado defense and the game ended with the Wolves losing 27-17. Estacado is now in second place in district which sets the Wolves up for a big game against Perryton at home next Friday night. The winner of that game will probably go to the playoffs.
Estacado – First Downs, 17; New Rushing Yards, 213; Net Yards Passing, 123; Total yards Gained, 336; Passes completed, 8; Passes Intercepted by, 2; Number of punts, 3; Punt Averages, 32.7; Opponent Fumbles Recovered, 1; Number of Penalties, 6; Yards Penalized, 65.
Dalhart - First Downs, 11; New Rushing Yards, 92; Net Yards Passing, 53; Total yards Gained, 145; Passes completed, 6; Passes Intercepted by, 0; Number of punts, 6; Punt Averages, 36.8; Opponent Fumbles Recovered, 4; Number of Penalties, 4; Yards Penalized, 31.
Individual rushing statistics: Adrian Ruiz 13/88, Devonte Burks 17/31, Noah Jesko 5/-26, Nick Young 1/-1, Passing Jesko 6-17-2, 53 yards.
Individual Receiving Statistics: John Belgira 2/14, Tyler Smith 1/9, Kaleb Grant 1/8, Chase Pope 1/9, Harper Scofield 1/13.