WACO — One week removed from an all-out aerial assault on Stephenville, the Argyle football team let the ground game pave its road to the Class 4A Division I state quarterfinals.
The Eagles ran for 289 yards on Friday on nearly 7 yards per carry to cruise to a 42-14 victory over Brownwood in the Region II semifinals at McLane Stadium, securing the program’s seventh state quarterfinal appearance of the decade.
“I thought we were hitting on all cylinders. We were very precise in the way we handled our offensive and defensive adjustments,” said Todd Rodgers, Argyle head coach. “I’m proud of them.”
Part of that came in the Eagles’ decision to hone in on the run, which helped fuel a spurt of 28 unanswered points and turned a 7-7 gridlock at the end of the first quarter into a 35-7 landslide for Argyle midway through the fourth stanza.
Senior Luke Farris and sophomore Knox Scoggins had their fingerprints all over that effort, combining for 354 yards of offense and having a hand in all but one Argyle touchdown on Friday. Farris, who missed the majority of the Eagles’ area-round win over Stephenville with an injury, made up for lost time with 210 rushing yards and four touchdowns on Friday. He found the end zone on a pair of 1-yard runs in the second quarter to swell the Argyle advantage to 21-7 at halftime.
“We just felt like with our offensive line that they were giving us the right angles with some of the stuff we’ve done all year,” Rodgers said. “We felt like if we got on them that our running backs would be able to make 4 yards and a cloud of dust. If they make 8, then God bless them.”
Scoggins added 83 rushing yards, 52 receiving yards and opened up the afternoon’s scoring with a 33-yard touchdown pass to senior Cade Merka on some trickery for Argyle’s second play from scrimmage.
“Knox is an ex-quarterback and we had that decided pretty much on Sunday that we’d give him that opportunity,” Rodgers said. “We wanted to take away their aggressiveness and get them back on their heels.”
The rest was left to Argyle’s ground game, a classic case of taking what Brownwood’s defense gave the Eagles. That Argyle could handle it with such proficiency was what stood out on Friday.
Against Stephenville, the Eagles had no issues airing the ball out for 458 passing yards from senior Bo Hogeboom in a 63-49 victory. Running the ball 53% of the time in that outing, Argyle dialed that figure up to 68% on Saturday and required only 20 pass attempts and 164 yards from Hogeboom, who completed nearly 70% of this throws, including a 13-yard touchdown to junior Cole Kirkpatrick in the third quarter for a 28-7 lead.
Kirkpatrick led the Argyle receivers with 59 yards, while Merka chipped in 49 on an afternoon when their contributions went well beyond the catching the football.
“I’m going to be excited about watching how well our wide receivers blocked,” Rodgers said. “They were unbelievable. They were knocking those kids down and that was good stuff.”
Rodgers lauded the job his defense did handling any adjustments over the past week, with the unit limiting Brownwood to just a 22-yard Reece Rodgers touchdown over the first three quarters on Friday. The Lions’ leading rusher still turned in a productive day overall with 196 rushing yards, but Brownwood only logged eight total snaps in the red zone all afternoon.
“The game plan was spot on, offensively and defensively, and our kids were awesome. We had to tweak some things and make easy adjustments with it,” coach Rodgers said.
Argyle’s victory sets up a state quarterfinal bout against either Waco La Vega or Melissa. The Eagles have taken a crack at both this season, outlasting La Vega on Sept. 6, 49-35, and besting the district rival Cardinals on Oct. 25, 70-48.
“When we started practicing in August, it was about everything we could do to win a district championship, play into December and win a state championship,” coach Rodgers said. “We’re just working through our goals right now one week at a time.”