After a slow start, the Carthage Bulldogs turned up the pace and looked like defending state champions on a mission to repeat.
On the first possession of the night Kai Horton narrowly avoided being sacked in the end zone for a safety and then the Bulldogs turned the ball over on downs giving the Wimberley Texans the ball at the Carthage 4 yard line.
The Bulldog defense stepped up and held the Texans out of the end zone on four consecutive zones forcing a turn over on downs at the 1-yard line.
Carthage then drove the length of the field scoring on a 2-yard run from Mason Courtney with 47 seconds remaining in the first quarter to give the Bulldogs a 7-0 lead.
After an exchange of punts, the Bulldogs forced another Texans punt and started at their own 22-yard line. The Bulldogs completed the 2-play 78-yard drive when Kain Horton connected with Courtney on a short pass and sprinted into the end zone to complete a 72-yard pass and give the Bulldogs a 14-0 lead with 9:29 remaining in the 2nd quarter.
The score remained 14-0 until Carthage kicked a 29-yard field goal as time expired in the first half to take a 17-0 lead into the locker rooms.
Wimberley cut the lead to 17-7 just 1 minute into the second half.
The Kai Horton took over.
Horton had left the game in the first half with an apparent knee injury. He returned in the second half wearing a large brace on his knee. But the brace didn’t appear to effect his game as he threw three third quarter touchdown passes (10 yards to Craig McNew, 9 yards to Craig McNew, 10 yards to Montrel Hatten) to spot the Bulldogs to a 38-7 lead by the end of the third quarter.
Those would be the final scores of the game and the Bulldogs advance to the 4AD2 state title game next Thursday at 11am from AT&T Stadium in Arlington.
The Bulldogs are making seeking their 8th state championship. All 7 titles have come 13 years.
Carthage will face off against Gilmer in the title game. The Buckeyes are seeking their 4th state title.
Enjoy these photos by Antony Michael Blalock from the game.