— By GREG WEBB
WICHITA FALLS — In a Class 3A, Region I Bi-district match at Wichita Fall’s Memorial Stadium on Thursday, the Springtown Porcupines and Hirschi Huskies swapped momentum swings and resulting scoring for three quarters. The Porcupines made a couple of decisions in the fourth quarter that made a substantial impact on the balance of the contest.
Pojo decided to hand the ball to running back Ryan Snow with regularity, and the Porcupine defense decided Hirschi had scored quite enough. The result was a 49-27 postseason win for Springtown, its first under head coach Brad Turner.
Pojo had been denied a victory in four previous playoff appearances, but the fifth proved to be the charm for Springtown.
“I’ve never been so proud of a group of kids,” Turner said. “They’ve worked really hard, and our approach tonight was that we wanted to play every tick [of the clock], regardless of where we were in the ball game and how we were doing.”
Springtown’s first possession of the game was indicative of its subsequent drives — long and methodical — but the first stalled and Pojo gave up the ball on downs. Hirschi took advantage of the stop and scored first.
The pendulum swung to Springtown in the second quarter, with TD passes from Landry Turner to Ryan Hester and Dylan Ray. Kicker Eric Avalos, who was perfect on the night, added the PATs as the Porcupines took a 14-6 lead.
“Big Mo” swung back to Hirschi before the half, including a 62-yard scoring sprint by Huskies running back Cedric Battle, and would continue to do so through the third period.
While the offense continued to produce into the final stanza, the Springtown defense, and a special teams takeaway on a kickoff, transitioned the game to a Pojo runaway.
“Things just went back and forth for a good while,” Turner said of the seesaw battle, “but the bottom line is that we stayed with it.
“Hirschi has so much speed, that they can hurt you at any time — and they did — but our defense bowed their necks down the stretch.”
Turner ceded that playoff jitters may have been prevalent early on in the contest, with a few dropped passes adding to some of the stalled possessions and the offensive line missing some snap counts
“Our big guys up front must have been a little nervous early, making some uncharacteristic mistakes,” Turner said. “But they settled down and, as it turned out, our ability to run the football in that last quarter sealed the game.”
Snow, who finished the night with nearly 200 yards of rushing, proved to be the Porcupines’ workhorse, toting the pigskin 30 times. He scored two of the three fourth-quarter TDs with runs of 17 and 5.
Landry Turner capped the Springtown final-period blitz with a 6-yard jaunt of his own, while also throwing for three scores.
Coach Turner was elated with the win, happy that his players get to prepare for another week of football. Preparation will surely be needed, as the Porcupines will face the Stephenville Yellowjackets in the Class 3A, Division I Area round at Northwest ISD Stadium on Friday. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m.