ARLINGTON -- Prosper’s football team advanced to the regional finals for the second consecutive season Saturday as the Eagles downed Justin Northwest Eaton, 27-17, in a Class 6A Division II Region I semifinal contest at Globe Life Field.
The stars were out for Prosper in the win — a game in which the Eagles never trailed and led by as many as 17 points on multiple occasions in the victory.
Prosper quarterback and Southern Utah commit Jackson Berry completed 15-of-28 passes for 149 yards and two touchdowns while also rushing for 42 yards and two additional scores. San Diego State pledge Cameron Harpole hauled in seven receptions for 72 yards and two touchdowns, while junior two-way player Tyler Bailey had five receptions for 59 yards, two interceptions and multiple kick returns of more than 30 yards.
The Prosper defense, meanwhile, limited Eaton’s ground attack to just 1.3 yards per carry and sacked quarterback Braden St. Ama five times, including two from Herman Lee.
“We know that nobody can run on our defense,” Bailey said. “That hasn’t been just this season, either. Our coaches had a great game plan and really made us work hard in practice and we just came out and executed. The key was getting pressure on the quarterback and that really helped out us defensive backs. We have one of the best fronts in Texas and they showed it today.”
Prosper’s pressure was apparent from the opening kick and the Eagles held Eaton out of the end zone for the entirety of the first half. The offense, meanwhile, settled in after an initial punt and opened the scoring midway through the first when Berry connected with Harpole in the back of the end zone for a 7-0 lead with 2:37 remaining.
Later in the second, Berry’s first touchdown run gave the Eagles a working 13-3 halftime advantage before a 7-yard scoring pass to Harpole opened the second half and gave Prosper a commanding 20-3 lead. Berry would later tack on his second rushing score for insurance.
“He’s Jackson Berry,” said Brandon Schmidt, Prosper head coach. “Playoff time is Jackson Berry time. He did a phenomenal job and he’s a tremendous leader and tough kid and competitor. Anytime he’s out there for us, we feel we have a great chance to win. Southern Utah is going to be really happy with the quarterback they got.”
Berry’s second touchdown run was created by an interception and 22-yard return by Bailey that set up the Eagles with first-and-goal from the 1-yard line. Later in the fourth quarter with Eaton inside the red zone, Bailey recorded his second interception - this one at the Prosper 1-yard line - to seal the win.
“Tyler is a special talent and more importantly he’s a very hard worker,” Schmidt said. “Offensively and defensively he adds something to our team every game.”
With the win, Prosper returns to the regional final where they await Denton Guyer. The Eagles previously faced the Wildcats in district with Guyer earning a 24-23 win.
“This is a huge win because we think we have a chance to get all the way to state and do this for the seniors we have on the team,” Bailey said. “If it’s Guyer, we saw them earlier this year and we almost beat them, so we are going to come out ready.”