Justin Northwest running back DeMareus Hosey rushed for 351 yards and five touchdowns as the Texans rolled past Wichita Falls, 58-20, in a Class 5A Division II bi-district playoff game Friday night at Northwest ISD Stadium.
The Texans (9-2) continued their hot streak against the Coyotes (4-7) as Friday’s win was the eighth consecutive victory for the District 4-5A champions. Northwest rolled up 670 yards, creating plenty of stars on offense.
Quarterback Austin Ahmad was spectacular, as were receivers Quentin Lee and Antonio Reese. Ahmad completed 22 of 26 passes for 292 yards and three TDs.
Lee led the Northwest receivers with 11 catches for 121 yards and a touchdown. Reese caught five passes for 79 yards, including touchdown passes of 25 and 36 yards in the third quarter. Cooper McDonald had just one catch but it was a 58-yarder.
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Game was over when: The Texans scored 9 points within an 1:15-span in the third quarter. First, Northwest’s Blake Kearcher kicked a 28-yard field goal. Then the Texans recovered an onside kick at the Wichita Falls 35-yard line. After three running plays gained 10 yards, Reese made a great catch in the back of the end zone under the goal posts. Ahmad dropped the 25-yard TD pass just over a Wichita Falls defender.
Play of the game: Northwest’s first score came on a bubble screen that looked more like a punt return as it developed. Lee lined up wide right, caught the quick-hitting pass from Ahmad, and evaded a tackler. A few yards down field, a couple of Texans had set up their blocks and shielded Lee has he sped down the right sideline. Lee completed the 58-yard catch-and-run by pulling away from pursuing Coyotes for the TD.
Offensive player of the game: Hosey needed 27 carries to pile up his 351 yards and five touchdowns. He was the only player, besides QB Ahmad, to rush for the Texans. And he averaged 13 yards a carry. He scored on runs of 51, 42 and 38 yards in the fourth quarter, totaling 131 yards just on those three TD rushes.
Defensive player of the game: The best defensive play of the game was by Wichita Falls junior linebacker Justin McKay, who stepped in front of a Northwest pass and never slowed down on a 31-yard interception return for a TD. The best unit, however, was the defensive backs of Northwest. They bent, but never quite broke. Sophomore Caleb Reil intercepted two passes, while junior Christan Healer added a third. The DBs also knocked down a fourth-down pass and two in the end zone. In addition, the Texans twice hit a Coyote receiver hard enough that he couldn’t hold on to the ball and dropped two more possible interceptions. Wichita Falls completed just 16 of 43 passes.
Unsung hero of the game: Wichita Falls receiver A.J. Byrd caught six passes for 120 yards and a TD. He almost had a second score, which would have been a 95-yarder, but a diving tackle by a Texan defender kept it to a 59-yard gain.
What’s next? Northwest advances to the second round of the playoffs to face the winner of the Horizon (5-5) vs. El Paso Burges (6-3-1) playoff game, which was held Friday night. Wichita Falls ends its season with a 4-7 record.