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By James McAfee/The Knox County News-Courier—
KNOX CITY—The Knox City Greyhounds advanced to the second round of the playoffs for the third time in the past five years, exploding for 36 points in the third quarter to break up a close game with the O’Donnell Eagles, en route to a 84-60 bi-district win last Friday night at Jaybird Stadium in Jayton.
“We are excited to still be playing football and our guys are hungry to keep going,” said Coach Caleb Callaway. “It is going to be an exciting week.”
The Hounds will now play Happy, 71-29 winners over Petersburg, at 7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 20 in O’Donnell.
In the most recent six-man-football rankings, Happy (10-1) was No. 6 with a power rating of 393.19 and Knox City (7-2) was No. 7 with a 391.35 power rating.
“Against O’Donnell we came out hot on offense and were able to put up points on our early possessions,” Callaway said about the Hounds scoring on their first five possessions. “Defensively, we started a little sluggish and had to make some adjustments. We went in up four at half time but came out playing in the third quarter the way we should have started.
“Our kids had to fight some adversity and came out and stood strong in the second half, which was great to see from our guys. The mental aspect of coming out and shutting them down said a lot about our kids and their drive. It is always exciting to win playoff football games.
“As we entered into the fourth quarter, we were able to let our JV guys play on both offense and defense, which are important reps for young guys. We saw some good stuff from them, and they took us home.
“I couldn’t be prouder of our guys. They played an emotionally charged game and found a way to get the job done.”
After a back-and-forth battle in the first half where O’Connell enjoyed short leads on two occasions because of extra successful PAT kicks, the Hounds took advantage of stopping the Eagles on fourth down at midfield to start the third quarter.
Anthony Hernandez connected with a three-yard pass to Kobe Roberts for a touchdown after three runs by Tres Frausto had put the Hounds in position. Tyler Delosrios’ PAT kick padded the lead to 42-30.
The two teams exchanged touchdowns on their next possessions, but then the Hounds responded with 22 unanswered points that included a safety when Blaze Garces’ backward pass (a lateral by rules) went out of the end zone.
The biggest lead of the night at 78-40 came when Frausto intercepted Garces in the end zone and Delosrios added the PAT with six minutes left.
The Hounds also gave up a safety following a defensive stop at their 3 early in the fourth quarter.
Frausto finished the night with 168 yards on 16 carries, scoring four times, while Delosrios had 150 yards on 12 carries, also scoring four TDs, the first three on runs of 10, 34 and 44 on his first carries of the night.
While giving up 460 yards of total offense, the Knox City defense came up big when it counted, stopping five of nine third downs and four of six fourth downs.
The Eagles did score the game’s final 12 points on TD passes of 30 and 32 from Garces to Juan Renteria.