SPRINGTOWN — Led by tailback Dillon Gonzales' four rushing touchdowns, Graham put on an almost perfect offensive exhibition en route to a 42-28 whipping of Glen Rose on Friday night.
The Steers scored on their first six possessions, including their first two in the second half that gave Graham some breathing room.
With the win, the Steers (11-1) will face Midland Greenwood (9-3) in the Region I-3A regional semifinals. That game is set for 7 p.m. next Friday in Sweetwater.
Nursing a 28-21 lead to start the second half, the Steers opened the third quarter with an 11-play, 70-yard drive that culminated with a 5-yard Gonzales touchdown run.
The defense then did its part, stopping a Glen Rose drive at the Graham 38. Once again the Steers proceeded to march right through the Tigers' defense and went up 42-21 when Janson Graham gathered in a 5-yard touchdown strike from Ben Davis.
Gonzales, who battled pneumonia in district play, led an unstoppable Graham offense with 176 yards on 30 carries. The Steers finished the night with 461 total yards.
Davis finished the night with 207 yards passing and misfired only three times against 20 completions.
"The offense, oh my gosh," Graham coach Kenny Davidson said. "We knew we had a healthy Dillon Gonzales, and we just fed him the ball. Our offensive line played great."
Gonzales' effort pushed him over the 1,000-yard mark for the season, and the junior heaped praise on his teammates.
"I couldn't do it without my offensive line. They
were a big part of my success. They do all the dirty work and don't get much credit," he said.
The Tigers did mount a drive that got deep into Steer territory early in the fourth, but Jerrod Mahan intercepted Glen Rose quarterback Colton Bretton at the 2-yard line to squash any ideas of a Tiger comeback.
The only Graham mistake led to Glen Rose's only score of the second half. The Tigers' Jared Thames recovered a blocked punt in the end zone midway through the fourth, but that would be as close as the Tigers would get.
"I thought they (Glen Rose) had some incredible athletes," Davidson said. "But I told the guys that overall we had the better team. I am tickled to death to still be playing."
The Steers scored on their first two possessions and held a 14-0 lead at the end of the first quarter. They put together a 13-play, 62-yard drive that Gonzales finished off with a 3-yard run with 5:11 left in the first. It was a balanced march downfield as they kept the Tigers off-balance mixing the run and pass.
Braden Lang hauled in a 6-yard touchdown pass from Davis on another Graham 62-yard scoring drive with 1:35 left in the first.
Glen Rose cut the lead in half early in the second. Bretton found Austin Gibson open in the end zone from 3 yards out to pull the Tigers to within 14-7. The touchdown was set up by a 50-yard pass to Justin Weatherley.
The Steers wasted little time increasing their lead as they scored less than three minutes later. Gonzales went around left end from 11 yards out for the touchdown with 7:45 left in the half.
Glen Rose showed its quick strike capability making it 21-14 two minutes later. Once again a big completion to Weatherley set up the Tigers in scoring position and Bretton scored from 2 yards out.
Graham scored on its last first-half possession on a 2-yard run from Gonzales with 2:02 left in the second, but Glen Rose struck quickly again to pull within 28-21.
Graham 42, Glen Rose 28
Glen Rose 0 21 0 7—28
Graham 14 14 14 0—42
G — Dillon Gonzales 3 run (Fidel Herrera kick)
G — Braden Lang 6 pass from Ben Davis (Fidel Herrera kick)
GR — Austin Gibson 3 pass from Colton Bretton (Martin De Los Santos kick)
G — Dillon Gonzales 11 run (Fidel Herrera kick)
GR — Colton Bretton 3 run (Martin De Los Santos kick)
G — Dillon Gonzales 1 run (Fidel Herrera kick)
GR — Cody Burtscher 1 run (Martin De Los Santos kick)
G — Dillon Gonzales 5 run (Fidel Herrera kick)
G — Janson Graham 5 pass from Ben Davis (Fidel Herrera kick)
GR — Jared Thames recovered blocked punt in end zone (Martin De Los Santos kick)
First downs 16 25
Rushes-yards 23-73 42-254
Passing 203 207
Comp-Att-Int 15-29-1 20-23-0
Punts-Avg. 2-42 2-15
Fumbles-Lost 0-0 0-0
Penalties-Yds. 6-50 6-56
RUSHING — Glen Rose, Cody Burtscher 2-6, Senovio Delagarza 4-5, Blake Eschbach 4-11, Justin Weatherley 1-2, Colton Bretton 6-23, Hayden Holder 4-13, Jensen Nash 1-7, Jared Thames 1-6. Graham, Dillon Gonzales 30-176, Ben Davis 6-55, Hagen Hughes 6-23.
PASSING — Glen Rose, Colton Bretton 15-29-203-1. Graham, Ben Davis 20-23-207-0.
RECEIVING — Glen Rose, Weatherley 7-158, Thames 1-12, Austin Gibson 2-11, Colton Bumpas 1-5, Sam Strother 1-3, Holder 1-6, Curry Mapes 1-5, Garrett Trotter 1-3. Graham, Hunter Jones 4-35, Bryce Reeves 6-98, Braden Lang 4-28, Gonzales 3-31, Hughes 1-8, Janson Graham 2-7.
RECORDS — Glen Rose 10-2, Graham 11-1.