SOUTHLAKE -- What started out as a defensive battle soon turned into a slugfest with Birdville doing most of the heavy hitting.
The Hawks built a 21-0 halftime lead to defeat Crowley 45-21 in an area-round game of the Class 4A Division I playoffs Friday night at Dragon Stadium.
With the victory, Birdville (12-0) advances to meet Lubbock Monterey at 2 p.m. Friday in Wichita Falls. It will mark the second time since the school opened in 1999 that the Hawks have made it to the third round.
Quarterback Justin Martin and Xavier Turner rotated turns dominating on offense for Birdville, which put up 549 yards of offense and 30 first downs. Martin completed 15 of 24 passes for 226 yards and a score and added 64 yards on 12 carries and another score. Turner gained 196 yards on 30 carries and four scores.
Crowley (10-2), which was shut out in the first half on just 73 yards of offense, found some rhythm in the second half, finishing with 385 yards. Running back Larry Cheeks led the way with 183 yards on 25 carries and one score in his final game. Quarterback Matt Marner completed 13 of 23 passes for 190 yards and two scores.
Up 21-0 at the half, Birdville scored on its first four second-half drives, and its only other drive of the half ended with the Hawks taking a knee to end the game. They increased the lead to 28-0 on their first drive of the third quarter as Turner went in from one yard out to finish a nine-play, 84 yard drive.
That scoring drive came after the Hawks' defense stopped a Crowley drive after the Eagles had moved from their 37 to the Birdville 22. Two incomplete passes in which Birdville got good quarterback pressure ended the drive.
After Cheeks scored from 13 yards out to make it 28-7, Crowley recovered an onside kick. The Eagles, however, were stopped on a fourth-and-9 from the Birdville 11. Turner then went in from 74 yards out on the first play of the fourth quarter and Samuel Northey hauled in a 16-yard pass from Martin to make it 42-7, sealing the victory.
Crowley added two more touchdowns, the first on a 31-yard pass from Marner to D'Myrian Robinson and the other a 25-yarder to Floyd Rogers.
Birdville's other points came on a 22-yard field goal from Andrew Tucker.
We welcome your comments on this story, but please be civil. Do not use profanity, hate speech, threats, personal abuse, images, internet links or any device to draw undue attention. Comments deemed inappropriate will be removed and repeated abusers will be banned. NOTE: If you log in using your Twitter account, your comments will be signed using the name on your Twitter profile, NOT your Twitter user name. Read our full comment policy.