Crowell Wildcats - Six-Man state champs
ARLINGTON — Crowell made history by appearing in a state final. It made a lot more by playing in the first six-man game at AT&T Stadium.
But the No. 1 Wildcats knew the only way to end the 2013 season right was by capturing the school's first football championship. Riding the accurate arm of junior Mitchell Parsley, Crowell did just that, capping off its season with a commanding 78-52 victory over May Saturday afternoon in the Six-Man Division I state championship game.
Parsley completed 24 of 28 passes for 309 yards and five touchdowns, leading a spread attack the Tigers had no answer for in racking up 570 total yards.
"I think it's going to take a little bit of time to sink in," Crowell coach Nathan Hayes said. "We'll never have this team together again, and that chemistry we've had, it'll never be the same. We've preached that all year. We've built such a close-knit team this year."
And a championship one. The Wildcats (14-1) simply couldn't be stopped in handing May its first loss, scoring on seven consecutive possessions at one point. Parsley earned Offensive MVP honors, adjusting to May's defensive changes with short passes.
The Tigers (14-1) dropped more defensive backs into coverage, not wanting to get beat deep. Instead, the junior checked down several times to his running backs Jared Brown and Lex Bond, who combined for 14 catches.
"I just go through my reads and get the ball to my running backs and they make plays," Parsley said. "I'd rather dump it two yards and make 50 than throw it into coverage. You just got to get it in their hands and they do what they do."
Hayes gushed about the unselfishness of the Wildcats afterward. When the outcome had already been decided, he wanted to get Bond into the end zone, but the win was the only thing that mattered to the senior.
"It's just been a team effort the whole time. We don't have an 'I' in this team," Hayes said. "It's been amazing. I kept trying to get this man the ball, saying, 'I've got to get you a touchdown Lex.' He said, 'Coach, I don't care."
Nathan Moya had the first six-man touchdown at AT&T Stadium and all three of his catches went for scores. Daniel Clark scored on his only two carries of 16 and 28 yards as the Wildcats built a 42-22 lead at halftime.
Crowell's defense was strong early, holding May out of the end zone on four of its first five drives. Parsley forced a fumble that Moya recovered and then intercepted a fourth-down pass on the Tigers' next drive.
Defensive MVP honors went to Bond, who finishing with 9.5 tackles, including five that went for a loss. Parsley had nine tackles, while Moya added 8.5 tackles and a sack.
"We didn't really want to get off to a bad start because of their offense and how powerful they are," Hayes said. "We didn't want them to control the clock. It was good for us to jump out and get a stop, dictate the pace of the game."
Joey Delena's 18-yard touchdown catch with 12 seconds before halftime put Crowell ahead by 20. The Wildcats then scored the first three touchdowns of the third quarter.
Their biggest lead came late in the third when Will Hogan's 7-yard touchdown catch made it 64-22.
"Their spreadback made the right decision every time," May coach Craig Steele said. "That's the difference between the spread and the tight. It's hard to play against that offense."
However, May didn't go down without a fight. The Tigers scored three straight times to pull within 64-44, but Brown delivered a 33-yard touchdown with 3:15 left to end any comeback hopes.
"Right there, it was a wake-up call," Hogan said of the quick May strikes. "This thing's not over. We've got to finish it now."
May's Brant Harris caught three touchdowns, while the Tigers also rushed for 282 yards. But that wasn't enough as 6,842 fans witnessed history being made.
The Wildcats had been 1-6 in the six-man playoffs before this memorable run. With every starter except Bond returning, there was already talk of defending their title afterward.
"All of us juniors are pretty close," Parsley said. "We're looking for a repeat for sure."