The fourth quarter belonged to Cameron Yoe. Tied 28-28 to start the final period, the Yoeman scored twice and blanked the Zebras in the final 12 minutes to claim a 42-28 win in the Class 3A Division I regional championship at Waco ISD Stadium. Cameron now faces Teague next Friday at 7:30 p.m. in the same venue for quarterfinals.
Credit for Cameron Yoe’s 20th straight playoff victory belonged Traion Smith’s running and the Yoemen’s intense defensive pressure. Smith carried 32 times for 253 yards and scored four touchdowns, and Yoe’s defense limited Grandview quarterback Zach Smith to 152 passing yards and a single touchdown pass.
“I am so proud of our defense,” Cameron Yoe head coach Rick Rhoades said. “To make two huge fourth-quarter stops is unbelievable.”
The Yoemen (12-1) never trailed, but the Zebras (12-1) matched them touchdown-for-touchdown for three quarters. Grandview appeared ready to take its first lead after driving to the Cameron Yoe 34 early in the fourth quarter.
On third-and-three, Zach Smith faked into the line, froze the Yoe secondary, and launched a pass to a wide-open Logan Breton near the goal line. But the pass slipped through Breton’s hands, and the Yoemen stopped Smith a yard short on his fourth-down carry.
Taking over a its own 32, Yoe marched 68 yards in eight plays with quarterback Jacob Smitherman dialing his own number from the 3. Smitherman, who threw sparingly due to the wet, cold conditions, completed two key passes in the drive, a 28-yarder to Iverson Westbrook and a 13-yarder to Garrett Roeder. Smitherman finished the game with 72 passing yards, completing 8-of-12 attempts.
Yoe’s defense wasted no time in putting the ball back into the hands of the offense. Following the kickoff, Grandview ran two plays and faced third-and-nine at the Yoemen 43.
Zach Smith dropped back to pass, and a fierce three-man rush swarmed the quarterback at the Zebra 41. Smith fumbled, and D’Andre Adams recovered for the Yoemen.
Yoe kept the ball on the ground with Smith carrying five times and Smitherman twice before the quarterback scored from 3 yards out on a keeper. Lance Boyett’s sixth extra point gave the Yoemen a 42-28 lead with 2:43 remaining.
The Zebras moved to the Yoe 35 with time dwindling down. But the Yoemen defense allowed only three more yards in four plays, and Yoe took over on downs with just over a minute left in game. Traion Smith carried once for 28 yards before Smitherman took two knees to run out the clock.
“We told the team two things,” Rhoades said. “Don’t give up the big play of defense and create the big play on offense.”
In the first half, Smitherman lead the Yoemen on scoring drives 64, 69, and 54 yards. Traion Smith served as the workhorse, carrying 15 times for 147 yards before halftime and scoring on runs of 18, 23, and 6 yards.
“I’m a senior so I have to be a leader,” Smith said. “I don’t think I’ve ever carried the ball that many times, but I didn’t have a problem with it today.”
Grandview followed much the same script with Zach Smith directing the Zebras to touchdowns on marches of 70, 58, 68 yards. Austin Jarrell paced Grandview’s offense, rushing for 55 yards on 10 carries with scoring runs of 5 and 2 yards and catching seven passes for 73 yards.
The victory takes Cameron Yoe one step closer to its fourth consecutive state title. But the Yoemen won’t look past next week’s opponent.
“We take our games one-at-a-time,” Rhoades said. “Our coaches put together a great game plan, and our team puts it in play. That’s a great combination.”
Cameron Yoe – 7-14-7-14 – 42
Grandview – 7-14-7-0 – 28
CY – Traion Smith 18 run (Logan Boyett kick), 8:58 1Q
GR – Austin Jarrell 5 run (Gunner Abbott kick), 5:35 1Q
CY – T. Smith 23 run (Boyett kick), 11:51 2Q
GR – Zach Smith 10 run (Abbott kick), 10:32 2Q
CY – T. Smith 6 run (Boyett kick), 4:39 2Q
GR – Jarrell 2 run (Abbott kick), 2:20 2Q
CY – T. Smith 2 run (Boyett kick), 7:21 3Q
GR – Logan Breton 22 pass from Z. Smith (Abbott kick), 2:42 3Q
CY – Jacob Smitherman 3 run (Boyett kick), 6:53 4Q
CY – Smitherman 3 run (Boyett kick), 2:43 4Q