Mineral Wells Area News

Gordon races past Saint Jo for bi-district win

Gordon races past Saint Jo for bi-district win
November 10
21:05 2023


Special to Mineral Wells Area News

WEATHERORD – Gordon Head Coach Mike Reed wore a black cap adorned with a gold Irish clover, only because he misplaced his regular game cap. He might want to keep wearing it.

Although his undefeated and Class 1A-Division 1 top-ranked Longhorns didn’t need magic or luck Thursday night to defeat Saint Jo, 64-14, and earning a first-round, bi-district win at Weatherford’s Kangaroo Stadium. They just needed some extra time.

The Longhorns played nearly a full four quarters for the win, ending the game on six man football’s 45-point rule with 4:06 left on the game clock. It was the first time this season Gordon (11-0) has played into the fourth quarter.

The Gordon Longhorns pose for a photo with the bi-district trophy they earned after defeating Saint Jo, 64-14, on Thursday night in Weatherford.

“We knew they were going to be one of the best teams we played all year,” Reed said afterward. “It was kind of nice because we have been going at a certain pace for a while. They have got a good football team. Very, very well-coached. They are a familiar opponent. We have had to play them the last two years.”

Gordon defeated Saint Jo last season in similar fashion, 62-16, in the bi-district round. The Panthers’ end their 2023 season with a 6-5 record overall after finishing runners-up in District 10-1A-1.

With the win the Horns advance to the area round and will face Milford (9-2) after the Bulldogs’ 68-28 win over the Penelope Wolverines on Thursday night. Milford won the District 11-1A-1 title with a 4-0 league mark. Milford was the only District 11 team with a winning record. The date, time and location of the game was undetermined as of this writing.

Reed said he was very pleased with the team’s performance, having played in a chilly, constant drizzle throughout the contest.

“We were able to get all the kids into the game and give them a taste of a playoff atmosphere,” Reed said. “It was exactly what we needed.”

Reed credited Saint Jo’s effort, while also praising his players for how they responded to challenges the Panthers presented at times.

“Defensively they sent so much pressure every play,” Reed said. “If you dial up enough blitzes you are going to get back there once in a while. But I feel like our kids really stayed locked in. They didn’t get rattled on any play that happened.

Gordon players hoist the bi-district trophy in celebration after defeating Saint Jo, 64-14, Thursday night in Weatherford.

Gordon wasted little time getting on the scoreboard. On the game’s second play, sophomore Stryker Reed took the ball and exploded through the middle of the Panthers’ defense for a 40-yard touchdown. Juan Cabrera Davila’s successful point-after kick made it an 8-0 contest just 38 seconds into the game.

Gordon’s defense forced a four-and-out on Saint Jo’s first possession. The Panthers returned the favor, quickly getting their offense the ball back. But on first down from their 16, defensive pressure on the Panthers quarterback resulted in an interception by sophomore Brayden Walters, who returned it for a score and a 16-0 Gordon lead.

Saint Jo fumbled on an attempted fourth-down conversion, handing the ball to the potent Longhorns offense at the Panthers’ 22. After a false start penalty, sophomore back Riley Reed ripped off a 10-yard run, then ran the final 17 yards into the end zone to put Gordon up 24-0 with just under 3 minutes left in the opening quarter.

Gordon junior Maddox Stewart’s interception to end the first quarter was answered by a Saint Jo pick by Devin Stewart. Stewart then got the Panthers on the scoreboard with a 24-yard run to make it a 24-8 contest three minutes into the second frame.

A recovered onside kick set Gordon up at Saint Jo’s 37. A 14-yard run by Riley Reed was followed by a 23-yard sweeping run by Stryker Reed for his second touchdown and a 32-8 lead, coming just 27 seconds after the Panthers’ score.

Another Saint Jo fumble led to quarterback Noah Kostiha pitching the ball to Riley Reed, who dropped back and lofted a pass grabbed by Davila for a touchdown and a 40-8 lead with 5:04 in the second.

A touchdown down run by Reed was wiped out by a holding penalty with just a few ticks left on the clock, and the teams went to the break with Gordon up 40-8.

Gordon’s defense opened the third quarter with their third fumble recovery, ending a lengthy Saint Jo drive, to take over at Gordon’s 16 midway through the period. It took them just five plays to score. Stryker Reed had a 17-yard run, followed by Riley Reed’s 14-yard run to the Panthers’ 2. Senior back Whit Fuller finished it off to stake Gordon to a 46-8 lead.

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The scrappy Panthers did not quit. Stewart fielded the ensuing kickoff at the 5 and raced past the Longhorns defenders for a 75-yard touchdown return to make it a 46-14 game.

Gordon had a quick response. Taking over at their 32, Stryker Reed on first down scampered 48 yards for his third touchdown on the night and a 52-14 lead.

Saint Jo’s next possession ended with the game’s lone punt after the Panthers faced fourth-and-33 from their 2 yard line. Taking over at the 40, Reed ran 12 yards before Riley Reed hit sophomore Asher Salinas on a 28-yard touchdown pass. The Horns had a chance to end the game with under a minute left in the third, but a false start pushed the PAT attempt back, and Davila’s kick missed to keep it a 58-14 score.

The game’s last possession included a 25-yard run by sophomore Aiden Shank and a 27-yard run by senior Josh Whitlock. It was Whitlock’s 13-yard run into the end zone that sent the Longhorns sideline and fans into celebration mode with a 64-14 final margin.


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