In a highly anticipated 6A Division 1 second round matchup, the Allen Eagles defeated the Belton Tigers 24-7 at Memorial Stadium on a shivering Friday night in Mesquite.
Despite trailing 7-0 at the end of the first quarter, Allen rolled off 24 unanswered points down the stretch behind QB Mitchell Jonke’s two touchdowns and RB Brock Sturges’ one rushing score.
Sturges and fellow junior RB Kirby Bennett each ran for over 100 yards to send Allen to the third round for the fifth straight season.
“The running game is really important to get going with the wind being such a big factor tonight,” Sturges said postgame. “We really felt like we were able to help our offense out in this one.”
In the third quarter, Belton found some momentum after forcing a three-and-out and driving down into Eagle territory while trailing 14-7, but it was quickly wiped away when CB Michael Newsome intercepted a deep Belton pass to swing the tide.
“I saw him throw the ball and I immediately went to the receiver, looked up for the ball, and it just landed right in my hands,” Newsome said about the play. “It was just the right place at the right time.”
The Allen defense caused a ruckus all night for the high-scoring Tigers by limiting them to single digits for the first time all season.
“I think we came into this game a little bit differently,” Newsome said. “We were more prepared, we just stayed locked in.”
Sadly for Allen fans, the Eagles must look past this win very soon if they want a shot at taking down the lurking monster in San Angelo Central next week.
The 12-0 Bobcats are averaging 69 points per game in the playoffs while just allowing an average of 10.5 points per game.
The Eagles have taken down many good teams in the playoffs in recent years, but this Central squad is no ordinary speed bump. They have the potential to be a wall, especially with the game taking place at Central’s home stadium.
Faced with the task, the Eagles are already set to lock in over the next seven days.
“We’re gonna focus on this win tonight, then we’re going to start taking care of business on Monday morning,” Bennett said postgame.
“We need to practice well over Thanksgiving break,” Newsome said. “We just gotta keep doing what we do.”