If last year’s season seemed like a dream for Frost, Friday’s second half was indeed a nightmare. There was no near-miracle finish against Tenaha this year.
Six touchdowns in a quarter will ensure that.
Tenaha built a 49-point halftime lead and cruised to a 63-8 victory in the Region III-1A DII area finals at Lindale.
Chavis Gregory ran for 164 yards and scored five touchdowns, all in the first half, four in the second quarter as Tenaha (9-1) turned a 7-0 first quarter edge into a route. Quickly. Up 14-0, the Tigers scored four times in three and a half minutes to make the outcome academic.
For added measure, Gregory scored a 53-yard touchdown with 41 seconds left in the first half – his second 53-yarder of the second quarter, to make it 49-0 at the break. He didn’t see the field in the final 24 minutes, as the Polar Bears scored with 5:20 left on a 3-yard Robert Worley run and Zack Terry conversion to avoid the shutout.
Frost, which went 12-2 and fumbled at the goal line on the final play of a 34-30 loss to Tenaha in the regional finals last year, finished its season 6-6. But this year’s Polar Bears completed something the program has never accomplished: back-to-back seasons with a playoff win.
Tenaha (9-1) will face Chilton (9-2), a 28-6 winner over Hubbard Thursday, next week in either Palestine or Athens.
This year’s matchup between the Tigers and Polar Bears started promising enough for the pack from Navarro County. The Polar Bears won the toss, took the ball, then proceeded to drive it down Tenaha’s throat. Just not all the way.
The Polar Bears used 15 plays to chew up almost eight minutes of the clock, but the drive stalled at the Tenaha 34. The Bears picked up four of their five first-half first downs on the drive, two from Robert Worley and two from Alex Cruz, whose 13-yard run on the game’s third play was Frost’s longest of the game. On third and 20, Worley’s halfback pass in the flat to Woody Woods fell incomplete.
Frost coach Eric Blenden, last year’s Golden Circle coach of the year, elected to punt from the 34 to try to pin the Tigers deep. Terry’s punt bounced into the end zone for a touchback.
On first down, Tenaha fumbled the snap and lost five yards. On third-and-7, JR Hill hit DeAndre Thomas for 17 yards. It was the first of four plays in double-digit yards, the last covering 19 yards as Gregory scored for the first time to make it 7-0 with 2:05 left in the first.
In the second quarter, it was all Gregory and Tenaha. In addition to the two 53-yard runs, he scored from 4 yards out, and recovered a fumble in the end zone. The Tigers scored five times in the final 6:43, three times in the span of one minute and 27 seconds when Frost fumbled a kickoff, and failed to cover the next one.
Frost had only 22 yards in the first half after the opening drive. All three of the Polar Bears’ turnovers came in the first half.
Down 14-0, Frost went for it on fourth-and-4 from its 43, and Terry – under immense pressure – fired a prayer toward Alex Cruz that fell harmlessly out of bounds. But it gave Tenaha a short field, and Davis’ second touchdown five plays later made it 21-0.
The Tigers struck quickly, insanely quick after that. Their final four touchdown drives of the second quarter took six plays, none more than two total. They were all on short fields, covering 53, 38, 52 and 53 yards respectively.
Tenaha scored on its first nine drives.
Tenaha 63, Frost 8
Frost 0 0 0 8 — 8
Tenaha 7 42 14 0 — 63
T — Chavis Gregory 19 run (Javier Uribe kick), 2:05
T — Keonta Davis 20 pass from JR Hill (Uribe kick), 10:45
T — Gregory 4 run (Uribe kick), 6:43
T — Gregory 53 run (Uribe kick), 4:36
T — TJ Thomas 1 run (Javier Uribe kick), 3:53
T — Gregory recovered fumble in end zone (Uribe kick), 3:09
T — Gregory 53 run (Javier Uribe kick), 0:41
T — Hill 5 run (Uribe kick), 8:58
T — Denzelle Williams 18 run (Uribe kick), 4:06
F — Robert Worley 3 run (Zack Terry run), 5:20
First downs 9 19
Rush-yards 41-132 29-363
Passing yards 0 108
C-A-I 0-4-1 6-8-0
Fumbles-lost 4-2 1-0
Punts-avg. 1-18 0-0
Penalties-yards 3-25 5-40
Rushing — F: Robert Worley 11-43, Woody Woods 15-41, Zach Terry 3-(-4), Alex Cruz 10-41, Ben Thorton 2-6. T: Chavis Gregory 7-164, TJ Thomas 5-38, JR Hill 8-56, Denzelle Williams 2-27, Keontas Davis 1-49, Damarcus Perry 2-22, Alex Horton 2-17, Team 2-(-10).
Passing — F: Terry 0-2-1-0, Worley 0-2-0-0. T: Hill 5-7-0-88.
Receiving — F: none. T: Davis 1-20, Gregory 1-12, DeAndre Thomas 3-68, Jacob Ivy 1-8.