Fort Worth All Saints quarterback Foster Sawyer completed 14 passes for 270 yards and six touchdowns and running back Daniel Gresham had 13 carries for 199 yards to help the Saints knock off Houston St. John’s 49-27 in an SPC semifinal Saturday at McNair Field.
The win gives All Saints (10-0) a chance to defend its 2012 state championship in the SPC title game Friday night at Brewer Stadium. The Saints will play Houston Christian, 61-13 winners over Irving Cistercian, in the final.
It was the 21st straight win for the Saints, and it will be their third straight trip to the title game.
“It was good for us to get battle-tested; we hadn’t really been tested all year,” coach Aaron Beck said. “Offensively we played really well, and they played some different coverages that they didn’t play last year. I think how they played us is how you have to if a team wants to beat us.”
Although St. John’s (5-4) came up short in that regard, they did press Sawyer, Gresham and the offense to work in multiple formations and attack in different spots.
Blaze Moorehead had four catches for 131 yards, all of them touchdowns, and Kendall Adams added five catches for 70 yards and two scores.
Gresham, though, wore down St. John’s with punishing runs and ended up with an average of 15.3 yards per carry.
He carried eight times in the second half, which helped milk the clock on St. John’s rushing attack.
The Mavericks had 388 yards rushing and held the ball over 10 minutes longer (29:21) than All Saints.
When the Saints made adjustments on defense at halftime, the longer sustained drives that kept St. John’s in the game began to come up short.
“We had some confusion on who was playing their quarterback on the counter play,” Beck said. “We changed pitch responsibility, and that was really the difference in the second half and we were able to slow things down.”
For Sawyer, he said the game was indicative of the different weapons his team has.
“We have playmakers on this team,” he said. “We’re a hurry-up and shotgun team, and a lot of opponents think we just throw the ball a lot. But we’re a very balanced team; we run the ball and throw it.”
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