Azle coach Devon Dorris found himself flooded with messages over the weekend. Texts. Emails. Facebook. Twitter.
Not only did his Hornets beat Burleson on Friday, they set a school record for wins in a single season.
“The town and the atmosphere around school is extremely excited,” Dorris said. “We had a huge crowd at the game on Friday. We pretty much filled up the visitor’s side at Birdville.”
No Azle team had ever won more than 10 games before this season. The Hornets are 11-1 heading into Saturday’s Class 5A Division II regional matchup with El Paso Canutillo at Midland’s Grande Communications Stadium. Kickoff is set for 4 p.m.
Never miss a local story.
Dorris graduated from Azle in 1995. His brother, Derek, was on the only other Azle team to go three rounds deep, in 1996.
The Hornets’ success this season means they’ll be practicing on Thanksgiving for the second time ever. Dorris said his players view that as a perk.
“We want to be a team that practices on Thanksgiving,” Dorris said. “That’s something, though, that we’ve talked about. It’s like a badge of honor.”
Azle had school Monday and has a half-day Tuesday before getting the rest of the week off. The football team will leave Saturday morning for Midland.
Same plan for Everman
Everman is in the third round for the first time since 2010.
The Bulldogs (8-4) beat Wichita Falls 21-20 on Friday to advance to the Class 5A Division II regional round. Everman plays El Paso Eastlake at 4 p.m. Saturday at Odessa’s Ratliff Stadium.
Everman edged the Coyotes by doing what it does best: Handing the ball to running back Kierre Crossley. The junior had 39 carries for 225 yards and two touchdowns. No other Everman player had more than five touches, and Michael Boone attempted just seven passes.
Coach Dale Keeling, who led Everman to Class 3A Division I titles in 2002 and 2003, said he realizes that other teams know the Bulldogs are going to run it, and that’s fine by him. Crossley has rushed for 2,630 yards and 32 touchdowns this season.
“I’ve been here 17 years, and we’ve been running the same exact thing we’ve been doing for 17 years,” Keeling said. “It’s worked for us for a long time. It’s no surprise what we do.”
The main difference between this year and the last time Everman got this deep in the playoffs is that school is out all week. In years past, the break from classes began the day before Thanksgiving.
Everman practiced at noon Monday, as the coaches scrambled to prepare a game plan for Eastlake.
Keeling sent scouts to Pecos last week to watch Eastlake’s 32-14 win over Lubbock Cooper. The unfamiliarity is there, but it’s to be expected.
“That’s just what the playoffs are about,” Keeling said.
Everman plans to leave at 8 a.m. Saturday, stop for lunch around Abilene and arrive in Odessa by 2 p.m.
Lake Ridge survives
Four Mansfield teams entered the playoffs, and only one has survived to the third round. And it happens to be the newest school in the district.
Lake Ridge (8-4) beat Longview 37-35 on Saturday. The Eagles, in their third year as a program, play McKinney North (10-2) at 4 p.m. Saturday in the Class 5A Division I regional round at Kincaide Stadium in Dallas.
Lake Ridge was winless in 2012 and 2-8 last season.
Summit and Timberview both lost Friday. Mansfield fell to Southlake Carroll in the first round.
Trinity at home
Euless Trinity has the benefit of playing its third-round game at home, thanks to a coin toss.
The 6A Division I Trojans (11-1) play Odessa Permian (9-3) at 6 p.m. Friday at Pennington Field in Bedford. Trinity shares the stadium with Hurst L.D. Bell.
The site was arranged before Trinity’s win over Plano West on Saturday. Permian would have played in Plano had West won.
Trinity (3) and Permian (6) have combined for nine state championships and 15 title game appearances.
The KTXA/Ch. 21 Game of the Week will be Allen against Arlington Martin, live from Apogee Stadium in Denton on Friday at 1 p.m.