Dawgs lose in a shootout
Their running game snuffed out, the Bulldogs put up a gallant fight in this first round shootout, but 20 unanswered points were too much to withstand in falling to No. 3 Goldthwaite for the second straight year, 34-21, at Mustang Stadium Friday night.
In Class A, Division I bi-district action, Thorndale ends its season at 8-3 after being booted out of the playoffs in the first round for the third straight season.
Goldthwaite (11-0) moves on to face No. 11 Shiner, which knocked the Eagles out of the playoff bracket last season and had a bye last week.
"We really came out and played to win the game," said Thorndale Coach Kade Burns, who in his first year as head coach at Thorndale and as a head coach period, led the Bulldogs to its first district title since 2005. "I was very pleased with how hard our kids played and the fact that they never quit trying to win. You could tell as the game was unfolding that our kids wanted to win, felt like they could win, and gave it their best effort to do so."
It became apparent from the first play, that Thorndale was going to be unable to penetrate the wallish Goldthwaite defensive line, so the Bulldogs had to retreat to unfamiliar territory— the passing game.
However, despite their novice status with the forward pass, quarterback Paxton Jordan had unprecedented success.
Entering the contest, Jordan had gone to the air just 45 times with 24 completions.
The junior almost equalled those numbers Friday, completing 18-of-23 passes for 199 yards and three touchdowns.
Receiver Josh Ware was the benefactor of the new air attack, hauling in eight balls for 83 yards and two of Jordan's three aerial strikes.
Ware had caught just 14 passes coming in.
Goldthwaite limited Thorndale to a paltry 24 yards on 31 carries, which is 200 yards under the Bulldogs' average.
Kenneth Talley was Thorndale's leading rusher with 14 yards on nine tries.
The Bulldogs' leading rusher on the season, Steven McKendrick, scratched out one yard on seven carries.
McKendrick did snag five Jordan passes for 83 yards including the Bulldogs' first score.
"At the end of the day, as a coach, you just want your kids to play hard and hit hard and I felt like we did that, we just did not win," Burns said. "We threw the ball very well throughout the night but we were unable to get our running game going."
With its vaunted wishbone, Goldthwaite had little trouble in that department, which is the Eagles' forte.
While attempting one pass all evening, Goldwaithe rammed the ball down the Bulldogs' throats for 309 yards on 45 carries.
Johnathon Williams—the Eagles' leading rusher coming in—finished with 130 yards on 15 carries.
He was complemented by James Hardin's 123 yards on 13 tries.
Quar terback Tyler Hor ton (minus-4 yards rushing) and little-used running back Cagan Smith scored two touchdowns apiece.
"Give credit to Goldthwaite though because they are number three in the state for a reason," Burns said. " We changed up our defensive alignment to try to slow their wishbone attack down but they were too strong and physical for us to stop. Their offensive line did a tremendous job blocking all night and they are the reason why they can control the line of scrimmage."
With Jordan going to the air five times, the Bulldogs marched down the field 64 yards with the opening kickoff, culminating on McKendrick's one-yard catch,
Thorndale's at tempt at an onside kick backfired and Goldthwaite took over at the Bulldogs 46 wth Hardin bolting in from the 25 to quickly tie the game.
After a Thorndale punt and another short field, Horton pushed the Eagle ahead 14-7 on a one-yard run at the start of the second quarter.
The Bulldogs took advantage of a interception that was erased by a Goldthwaite interference call and drove 63 yards downfield in eight minutes to tie the game at 14 with 1 minute, 38 seconds left in the first half on Jordan's nineyard pass to ware.
Goldwaithe mishandled the second half kickoff which Thorndale pounced on at the 33 and five plays later, Jordan and Ware connected again, this time from eight yards away for a 21-14 lead with 9:26 left in the third quarter.
After Cagan Smith tied the game at 21-all with a six-yard blast, the Bulldogs began to press on offense.
A fumble on their next drive allowed Goldthwaite to grab the lead for good 28-21 on another one-yard Horton blast and then an interception by Horton near the end of the third quarter set up Smith's three-yard run to make it 34-21.
"We had a couple of series in the third quarter that really hurt us but we never lost our composure," Burns said. "I was proud of the kids for that."
Despite the early exit, it was a smooth transition for the firsttime head coach Burns.
"The season was a successful one. It is always tough to end the year in November. Our goal is to try to get to play in December. We accomplished our goal of winning the District Championship and making the playoffs.
"Our senior class has helped raise the bar here in Thorndale. Something that we hope to build on and improve on in the future. Our kids have worked hard and come a long way since the beginning of the season and we hope that we can pick up next year where we left off this year."
GOLDTHWAITE 34, THORNDALE 21
13 First downs 20
31-24 Rushing 45-309
18-23-1 Passing 0-1-0
199 Passing yards 0
240 Total yards 309
2-33 Punts 1-25
4-1 Fumbles 3-2
10-52 Penalties 3-25
Score by quarters
Thorndale 7 7 7 0—21
Goldthwaite 7 7 14 6—34
THORNDALE—Steven McKendrick 1
pass from Paxton Jordan (Tyler Jordan
GOLDTHWAITE—James Harden 25 run
(Luis Arredondo kick) 5:04
GOLDTHWAITE—Tyler Horton 1 run (Arredondo
THORNDALE—Josh Ware 9 pass from
Jordan (Jordan, T. kick) 1:38
THORNDALE—Ware 7 pass from Jordan
(Jordan, T. kick) 9:26
GOLDTHWAITE—Cagan Smith 6 run (Arredondo
GOLDTHWAITE—Horton 1 run (Arredondo
GOLDTHWAITE—Cagan Smith 3 run (run
RUSHING—Maupin 5-13, Talley 9-14,
McKendrick 7-1, Jordan 9-8, Miller 1-
PASSING—Jordan, 18-23-1, 199 yards,
RECEIVING—Ware, J. 8-83 2TD, Mckendrick
5-83, Corcoran 3-28, Ging 2-16,
THORNDALE SEASON LEADERS
6 TD; Maupin 100-527 5 TD, Morton
91-473 1 TD, Jordan 106-416
7 TD, Ware, Q. 20-255 2 TD, Talley
48-214, 5 TD, O'Brien 19-80 1 TD,
Ware, J. 1-34 TD, Corcoron 6-20,
Miller 7-(-10) TD.
PASSING—Jordan 42-68-5, 688
yards 10 TD, Maupin 10-21-2, 147
yards, 1 TD.
RECEIVING—J. Ware 22-376
7 TD, McKendrick 11-160 2 TD,
Morton 2-69 1 TD, Corcoran 6-65,
Maupin 1-30, Talley 2-34, O'Brien
2-21 2 TD, Ging 3-43, Miller 1-18,
WL WL PtsOpp
Thorndale 5 0 8 3 299 193
Bartlett 4 1 8 3 322 172
Thrall 3 2 5 6 215 264
Milano 2 3 6 3 261 162
Granger 1 4 1 9 150 297
Holland 0 5 2 8 175 423
This week—Bartlett vs. Ganado.
Last week—Goldthwaite 34, Thorndale
21; Bartlett 30, Bosqueville 27; Chilton
31, Thrall 30.