ARLINGTON -- Arlington Bowie left no doubt Thursday night who the best high school football team in the city is this season.
Quarterback Tony James and a smothering defense led Arlington Bowie to a 44-26 rout over cross-town rival Arlington Martin at Wilemon Field to claim the District 3-5A title and top seed in the Class 5A Division I playoffs.
The Volunteers last won a district title in 2009.
"We played mistake-free football and brought the game to them," Bowie coach Kenny Perry said. "It was a gargantuan win for us. We needed it and I can't say enough about our kids."
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The Volunteers (9-1, 7-0) will play Keller Central (6-3, 4-2) at 6 p.m. Thursday in a bi-district game at Cowboys Stadium.
Bowie put on an offensive clinic Thursday en route to 567 total yards against a Warriors defense that had allowed only an average of 206 yards. The Volunteers had 305 yards and a 24-3 lead by halftime.
Everybody got in on the action for Bowie's offense.
James threw touchdowns to three different Volunteers, finishing 16 for 21 with 222 yards and three touchdowns. He added another 92 yards on the ground.
Bowie receiver Eric Rivers scored three times, twice rushing and another on a 19-yard catch in the end zone to push Bowie's lead to 14-3 in the second quarter.
Running back Don Jerry rushed for 90 yards and a score and caught a 55-yard touchdown. Wideout Jordan Versey outjumped a Martin defender on a 9-yard touchdown grab from James to push Bowie's lead to 37-10 with 6:57 remaining in the game.
Running back Brican Crossley never found the end zone but finished with a team-high 165 rushing yards.
"For this game we needed everybody to come in and contribute," James said. "We knew this was going to be a dogfight and we have a lot of athletes, the defense stepped up and held them off and we just made plays."
Bowie's defense held Martin (7-3, 6-1) to just 68 yards and three first downs in the first half.
To make matters worse, star running back Kyle Hicks had to be helped off the field with an apparent leg injury just before halftime and did not return. His status for Martin's bi-district matchup 6 p.m. Friday at Cowboys Stadium against defending state champ Southlake Carroll (9-1) was unknown immediately after the game.
Bowie picked off two Martin passes, one by Nico Small in the first half and another by Devonte Sanders in the second.
"I thought Bowie was terrific tonight, they were really explosive," Martin coach Bob Wager said. "They are going to be a handful for any team to play against."
Jarret Johnson, 817-390-7760