It was a tough weekend for three of the four area college and high school football teams in the local coverage area. Stephen F. Austin had a prime opportunity to knock off Sam Houston State and end an eight-game losing skid in the series with the Bearkats, but Sam survived 31-20 despite a timely pick-six by SFA junior cornerback Eli Jones early in the fourth quarter to give the ’Jacks the lead.
In a must-win by Garrison, a pair of Bulldog offense players came through with super efforts as they piled up more than 200 yards each as the ’Dogs claimed their first District 11-2A DI win of the season. Of the two, wide receiver Ja’Kadrick Watts produced over a 200 yards rushing and receiving to help GHS to a 48-14 victory.
Jones and Watts were honored this week by being named as The Daily Sentinel Offensive and Defensive Players of the week for the coverage area for their outstanding play.
Each week during football season, The Daily Sentinel chooses an offensive and defensive player of the week from the teams at SFA, along with Nacogdoches, Garrison and Cushing high schools and recognizes them. Then, from those players honored, a Sentinel Offensive and Defensive Player of the Week from the area is recognized.
Sentinel Offensive Player of the Week — Ja’Kadric Watts, a senior and one-half of an outstanding pair of twins on the Garrison squad, rushed 11 times for 107 yards, while catching three passes for 101 more yards, giving him 208 total yards from scrimmage as the Bulldogs improved to 2-3 on the year, while evening their league mark at 1-1.
Another Garrison offensive player who performed well and deserved honorable mention was quarterback Chace Rodriguez, who completed 9-of-11 passes (81.8%) for 191 yards and a pair of scoring passes.
Sentinel Defensive Player of the Week — Sometimes defensive players of the week pile up the tackle numbers during the game and other times they come through in the clutch. For Jones, it was when he made his play that made it a key moment.
Early in the fourth quarter SFA kicker Storm Ruiz converted the longest field goal of his career — 51 yards — that hit the crossbar and bounced over. And on Sam Houston’s next series it took one official play for Jones to record his second pick-six of the year, this one from 28 yards out, and gave the ’Jacks a 20-17 lead with 10:36 remaining. He also added a pair of solo stops in the game.
Xavier Gipson (SFA) — Gipson, a freshman wide receiver, tied for the SFA team lead with six receptions in the contest against the Bearkats, amassing 97 yards.
Joe Carter (Nac) — The sophomore wide receiver caught only one pass for the Dragons, making the most of it when he juggled it at first, and then outran the defense for a 39-yard touchdown pass with 2:45 left before the half to pull Nacogdoches to within 14-10 and give them some much-needed momentum before the break.
Londarius Pleasant (Nac) — Pleasant, a sophomore linebacker, tallied 11 tackles, and none larger than a sack and a caused fumble of the Lindale quarterback with 31 seconds remaining before the half. Mike Jones recovered and the Dragons almost scored on the next play, but the receiver fumbled going into the endzone for the score when the ball was knocked away from behind. But either way Pleasant’s play was huge.
Shawn Holmes (Garrison) — Holmes, a junior linebacker for the Bulldogs, tallied 13 tackles on the night, including one tackle for a loss, a sack, while picking off a pass for Garrison. Cole Clark also played well for the GHS defense, finished with 11 tackles, including four tackles for losses.
Reid Allen (Cushing) — Cushing’s senior running back, went over the century mark again in the Bearkats’ 21-6 loss to Tyler All Saints, picking up 117 yards and the team’s only score on 14 rushes.
Cade Willis (Cushing) — Bearkat junior linebacker Cade Willis posted double-digit tackles, tallying 12 stops and one pass breakup, while sacking the All Saints quarterback three times.