Thorndale thrashes Thrall to earn playoff position
Thrall found out the hard way as Thorndale tamed the Tigers 40-16 Friday night at Bulldog Stadium in front of an overflow crowd.
The victory lifts Thorndale to 6-2 overall and most importantly 3-0 in District 26A which will sew up a playoff berth.
The Bulldogs close out the regular season with the two worst teams in the district, Granger (1-7, 1-2) next week and then Holland (2-6, 0-3).
Thrall dips to 4-4 overall and playoff chances very much alive at 2-1 as they tangle with Bartlett this week in a fight for second place.
In the 79th meeting between the Highway 79 neighbors, Thorndale now leads 48-28-3.
The Bulldogs have dominated the series as of late, outscoring the Tigers 113-23 in three straight wins and have captured 28 of the last 32 meetings.
"We took the ball on the first play and scored a touchdown... it was great execution and our line did a good job of giving our running back room to run. "
Steven McKendrick did indeed score on that first play from scr immage, juk ing 61 yards downfield for the score and with just 13 seconds gone off the clock, the Bulldogs led 6-0.
That first play set the tone for the entire game for Thorndale as they gathered up 382 yards of ground game.
"They've got a great team," said Thrall Coach John Ward. "They were maintaining drives and we didn't. I'll hand it to their offense, they do a couple of things and they do it well."
The sophomore McKendrick paved the way with 187 yards on 18 carries while crossing the goal line four times.
Quarterback Paxton Jordan complemented McKendrick with 85 yards n 15 carries, while Shea Maupin added on 56 yards and a score.
The game marked the return of leading rusher Tyler Morton who was out for three weeks with an injured foot and carried the ball twice for 21 yards.
McKendrick piled on a 12-yard run for a touchdown to make it 12-0 and then Jordan found Josh Ware with a 14-yard touchdown toss with 43 seconds remaining in the half after a long march to make it 19-2 at intermission.
While Thrall came out pumped up after intermission and pulled to within 26-16 with a couple of third quarter scores, Thorndale kept them at arm's length after McKendrick collected his fourth score to open the final period and Maupin followed shortly after with an eight-yard run to make the final 40-16.
"We felt like we played a good first half...finishing off of the half by scoring on a pass and it really gave us some momentum into half time," Burns said. " I did not feel like we played very well in the second half.
"We got the ball and drove it the length of the field and then fumbled. Then we gave up a touchdown right after wards. We had too many penalties, missed tackles, and fumbles in the second half. Give Thrall credit though. They came out in the second and really put some pressure on our kids.
"We challenged our kids to respond and we were pleased that they did. We felt like our defense and special teams played really well in the second half and gave us a short field to work with. This allowed our offense to put some points up in the second half."
The Bulldogs take on hapless Granger on the road, which is actually coming off its first victory of the year last week against last place Holland.
Joel Sifuentes busted loose for 243 yards rushing in the Lions lone win.
The Blackout Pep Rally will be this Friday and will begin at 3:05 p.m., which is a bit later than normal because of how warm it can get in the old gym.
There will be glow sticks on sale on Friday at lunch for the junior high and high school students. Elementary students will be sold glow sticks at 1 p.m. on Friday.
This week—Milano at Holland, Thorndale at Granger, Bartlett at Thrall.
Last week—Bartlett 28, Milano 6; Thorndale 40, Thrall 16; Granger 42, Holland 25.