NORTH RICHLAND HILLS -- Birdville controlled the tempo Thursday against Saginaw with long drive after long drive and is now in the driver's seat for the District 6-4A title.
Riding the legs of junior running back Xavier Turner, Birdville (8-0, 6-0) kept Saginaw's offense off the field and took the key district win 35-14 at the Birdville Fine Arts/Athletics Complex.
Turner carried the load, running 29 times for 134 yards and three touchdowns, while quarterback Justin Martin followed his lead with several big plays.
"I thought Justin Martin was outstanding at quarterback," Birdville coach Jim Skinner said. "I thought he made some good decisions and everyone did a great job. When you win, everyone does a great job."
Martin threw for 275 yards and two touchdowns, both over 30 yards. He also ran the read option well, picking up 70 yards on 10 carries.
Birdville's defense held one of the area's top 4A offenses to 276 yards, well under their season average of 421.
Saginaw (6-1, 4-1) was led by running back Russell Murphy, who matched Turner yard-for-yard through three quarters. He finished with 98 yards on 21 carries. Murphy scored Saginaw's first touchdown with a 6-yard run in the first and added a 2-point conversion run in the third.
A full-game effort has been rare this season for Birdville, and Skinner said it was good to play a game that was competitive from beginning to end, which included an attempt to throw for a touchdown as time expired, up 35-14. The pass to Samuel Northy was completed but the run ended just shy of the goal line.
"Well, when you sign a contract, you sign a contract to play 48 minutes, don't you? So we let our kids play," Skinner said.
Northy finished with a solid 101 yards on seven catches.
Birdville has been competitive for the district's top spot for almost a decade and in a new district alignment away from perennial power Aledo, Birdville is set and motivated to take that long-awaited hardware.
"We told the kids this is our seventh chance in a row to try and win a district championship and I thought our kids stepped up and did a great job," Skinner said.
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