Throckmorton faces familiar playoff foe Abbott in title game

Zach Duncan
Thomas Metthe/Reporter-News
Throckmorton players, shown celebrating after their regional round win, will be playing for the school's third straight title tonight in Abilene.

Photo by Thomas Metthe

Thomas Metthe/Reporter-News Throckmorton players, shown celebrating after their regional round win, will be playing for the school's third straight title tonight in Abilene.

For senior starters Gary Farquhar and Levi Taylor, it's one final chance to end their high school careers on the highest of notes.

For junior safety Rawlin Morrell, it's a chance to play in a state title game after breaking his femur in last year's semifinals and undergoing rigorous rehab just to return to the field.

And for the No. 1 Thockmorton Greyhounds as a whole, tonight provides the opportunity to not only add a third football title to the record books but also to defend last year's triumph.

The Greyhounds (12-1) will take on Abbott (12-2) at 7 p.m. at Abilene's Shotwell Stadium in the Division I state championship game. It's a rematch of a 78-52 semifinal played a year ago.

Farquhar, who has caught 28 touchdown passes this season, said he is thankful for his time spent playing for the powerhouse six-man program.

"It's been a blessing. We've had great coaching," Farquhar said. "This year has been more of a struggle being moved into the west division. We've played a lot tougher teams. Last week's game was probably the most challenging."

Throckmorton coach Mike Reed described as having a "confident nervousness" heading into this game.

The confidence part comes from having beaten Water Valley, Rankin and Valley in successive weeks to clinch a spot in the title game. That's after knocking off Borden County 48-36 on this stage a year ago.

The nervousness part comes from being a little physically and mentally fatigued after three grueling games. Plus, Abbott played Throckmorton to a draw in the first half last year before the Greyhounds pulled away.

"They've watched the film and have enough respect for how they played us last year," said Reed, who will be coaching in his fifth title game. "They know that they can get beat. But by nature, our kids are confident kids and that does bode well for us having been there a third straight time."

Abbott is making its first title game appearance. Including last year, the Panthers had fallen short with semifinal losses on three occasions (2008, 2002) before breaking through against Gordon last week.

Tyler Russell, who was hobbled and held to 73 rushing yards in last year's loss to Throckmorton, is the Panthers' biggest weapon. Russell and Dilon Beims have combined to rush for 3,419 yards and 79 touchdowns in 2012.

"The nice thing is we have seen those type of running backs the past three weeks," Reed said. "I don't think our kids are going to be hesitant, and that's real important. It's not going to be such a change of speed that's so extreme that it's going to be shocking to us."

Taylor praised Russell for his being able to "turn nothing into something," but said the Hounds' pressure is the biggest reason why they are holding opponents to only 29 points per game.

"Our defense this year, we're so smart. We play so well together," Taylor said. "We communicate so well, and even if we mess up, so if someone breaks coverage, there's still pressure that fixes that."

While Abbott will look to run the ball most of the time, Throckmorton's offense has been about as balanced as can be.

The Greyhounds, behind Taylor (1,085 yards, 30 TDs), Morrell and Trinity Haggard, have run for 2,533 yards and 61 touchdowns. Quarterback Bryson Oliver has most of Throckmorton's 2,644 passing yards.

Note: The Six-Man Division I and II championships will be webcast live on FoxSportsSouthwest.com.

THROCKMORTON STARTING LINEUP

QB — Bryson Oliver, Jr.

RB — Levi Taylor, Sr.

RB — Rawlin Morrell, Jr.

WR — Gary Farquhar, Sr.

WR — Nathan Riley, Jr.

C — Hayden Farquhar, So.

NG — Trinity Haggard, Jr.

NG — Hayden Farquhar, So.

DE — Gary Farquhar, Sr.

DE — Levi Taylor, Sr.

LB — Nathan Riley, Jr.

S — Rawlin Morrell, Jr.

HOW THEY GOT HERE

Throckmorton (12-1)Beat Rotan, 78-40

Beat Follett, 56-8

Lost to Dallas Covenant, 80-76

Beat Lucas Christian, 50-0

Beat Motley County, 58-12

Beat Bryson, 74-29

Beat Crowell, 80-50

Beat Paint Creek, 1-0 (forfeit)

Beat Knox City, 62-12

Beat Rotan, 64-16

Beat Water Valley, 62-16

Beat Rankin, 88-58

Beat Valley, 60-48Abbott (12-2)Beat Dallas Covenant, 44-36

Lost to Milford, 44-42

Beat Penelope, 50-0

Beat Blum, 60-12

Beat Trinidad, 54-6

Beat Calvert, 57-12

Lost to Jonesboro, 62-48

Beat Avalon, 54-8

Beat Bynum, 46-0

Beat Aquilla, 55-0

Beat Coolidge, 66-0

Beat Leverett's Chapel, 62-16

Beat Oakwood, 78-33

Beat Gordon, 74-60

© 2012 Times Record News. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Season leaders

Passing:

1. Ben Davis, Graham (2,690Yds, 28TDs)
2. Chase London, Rider (2,389Yds, 28TDs)
3. Taylor Thomas, Olney (2,303Yds, 11TDs)
4. Zach Barton, Seymour (2,036Yds, 31TDs)


Rushing:

1. D. J. Thomas, Jacksboro (1,488Yds, 20TDs)
2. Cedric Battle, Hirschi (1,323Yds, 19TDs)
3. Michael Bishop, Electra (1,281Yds, 17TDs)
4. Marquis Askew, Burkburnett (1,254Yds, 8TDs)


Receiving:

1. Davon Allison, Rider (1,366Yds, 14TDs)
2. Bryce Reeves, Graham (1,043Yds, 11TDs)
3. Mike Clark, Olney (910Yds, 5TDs)
4. Dalton Jackson, City View (675Yds, 7TDs)
5. Cody Adams, Seymour (670Yds, 8TDs)


>> See complete stats


Tackles:

1. Zack Ballard, Olney (201)
2. Brady Brunson, Burkburnett (152)
3. Corey Luster, Vernon (135)
4. Gage Robinson, Bowie (132)
5. Elijah Hull, Hirschi (125)
6. Marcus Leija, Quanah (122)
7. Tristan Sherman, Holliday (113)
8. Garrett Johnson, Jacksboro (112)
9. Austin Martinez, Quanah (112)


Sacks:

1. Justin Silva, City View (10)
2. Treston Shepherd, Seymour (7)
3. Daytona Politakis, Nocona (7)
4. Kevin Stallcup, Bowie (7)
5. Cody Fletcher, Henrietta (7)
6. Garrett Johnson, Jacksboro (9)
7. Baltazar Castro, Seymour (6)
8. Logan Carter, Henrietta (6)
9. Tristan Willard, Nocona (6)


Interceptions:

1. David Stretcher, Jacksboro (6)
2. Brad Slade, Bowie (5)
3. Jay Ward, Bowie (5)
4. Hagen Hughes, Graham (5)
5. Mikey Feeze, Graham (4)


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Passing:

1. Mitchell Parsley, Crowell (1,708Yds, 30TDs)
2. Cody McElroy, Notre Dame (1,677Yds, 33TDs)
3. Bryson Oliver, Throckmorton (1,286Yds, 27TDs)
4. Tyler Mays, Newcastle (922Yds, 18TDs)


Rushing:

1. Cody McElroy, Notre Dame (1,579Yds, 35TDs)
2. Trinity Haggard, Throckmorton (1,326Yds, 21TDs)
3. Aaron Baker, W. Christian (1,320Yds, 20TDs)
4. Chris Lewis, Knox City (1,214Yds, 19TDs)


Receiving:

1. William Hogan, Crowell (422Yds, 13TDs)
2. Nathan Wilson, Newcastle (419Yds, 8TDs)
3. Hayden Farquhar, Throckmorton (413Yds, 10TDs)
4. Michael Fantini, Notre Dame (410Yds, 4TDs)
5. Nathan Riley, Throckmorton (369Yds, 8TDs)

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