Cleburne Times-Review, Cleburne, TX


November 24, 2012

Zebras pull away in second half to beat White Oak, 47-32


VAN — Through the first two quarters of play in their Class 2A Division I area playoff game against White Oak, the Grandview Zebras were being tested as the two teams played to a 26-26 tie. In the second half, however, Grandview passed that test with flying colors as the Zebras outscored White Oak 21-6 to record a 47-32 win at Van Memorial Stadium on Friday night.

“I can’t be more pleased with the final result,” Grandview Coach Casey Walraven said. “The scary part is we still left a lot of things out there that we don’t normally do, and we survived it and that’s the main thing. We just played as a team. Offensively we got it going early, defense stepped up late and the offense finished it out by grinding out the clock. I couldn’t be more pleased with how hard we played.”

The mistakes Walraven spoke about were four turnovers — all four of which came on interceptions thrown by quarterback Ryan Breton, who entered the game with only nine interceptions through 10 games.

Aside from the four interceptions, Breton was his usual self as he passed for 353 yards and three touchdowns.

The Zebras had plenty of opportunities to put the game away early, but the turnovers kept White Oak in the game — temporarily.

At the end of the first quarter, Grandview held a 20-6 lead behind two touchdown receptions by Colby Lee and a rushing score by Jordan Martinez.

After Martinez’ 5-yard touchdown run with 3:11 left to play in the first quarter, the Zebra defense forced a punt. After two completions of 23 and 14 yards, the Zebras appeared to be on the way to another score, but on first-and-10 from their own 41, Breton’s pass was intercepted by Darion Barr.

The Roughnecks turned that mistake into points as White Oak’s Hunter Owens scored on a 6-yard run with 11:34 left in the second quarter to bring the Roughnecks to within six points.

But the Zebras wasted no time in answering that score. On Grandview’s third play of the ensuing drive, Breton connected with Chase Goldwater down the middle of the field for a 62-yard touchdown to put the Zebras back on top by 13 points, 26-13, with 10:07 remaining before the half.

The Grandview defense forced another punt, but on the Zebras’ second play from scrimmage, Breton was intercepted by Gabe Michael at the Zebra 29-yard line.

Two plays later, the Roughnecks cashed in on their second takeaway when Owens ran it in from 12 yards out.

On its next possession, Grandview was forced to punt, and the Roughnecks tied the game after a 9-play, 64-yard drive that was capped off by a 2-yard touchdown pass from Dylan Gale to Jansen McCurdy, who scored on a 66-yard reception in the first quarter.

The Zebras looked to take a lead entering halftime as they marched down to the White Oak 30, but Grandview turned the ball over on downs and White Oak ran out the clock, and the teams entered the half tied.

The third quarter began with the Zebra defense forcing White Oak to a three-and-out. But Breton was intercepted on the ensuing possession. Unlike in the first half, when White Oak scored both times after forcing a turnover, the Grandview defense forced another three-and-out.

Breton and the Zebras took advantage of the defense’s solid play early in the second half. Grandview drove 69 yards in eight plays and Breton scored on a 20-yard run to put the Zebras on top 33-26 with 4:10 left in the third quarter.

The Zebras opened the fourth quarter with a 7-play, 55-yard touchdown drive as Martinez carried the Zebras. Martinez had 39 rushing yards on four carries and extended Grandview’s lead to 40-26 on a 4-yard run with 10:51 left.

White Oak again went three-and-out and was forced to punt.

On a third-and-12 from their own 9-yard line, Breton found Goldwater on a short dump-off pass, and Goldwater hurdled a defender, then dragged several Roughnecks for a 35-yard gain to the 44-yard line. But after driving to the Rougnecks’ side of the field, Breton was intercepted by McCurdy.

But the Grandview defense, like it did all second half, stood strong and forced a turnover on downs.

The Zebras put the game away on its ensuing drive. Facing a fourth-and-four from the White Oak 22, Breton connected with Goldwater on a great throw and catch for 21 yards. Martinez punched it in from one yard out to put the Zebras on top, 47-26, with 1:46 remaining.

Goldwater finished the game with 169 receiving yards on eight catches.

“Chase had a huge preseason,” Walraven said. “I think a lot of the district focused on him. I had a feeling that tonight he’d have a breakout game. He’s got the capability, but it’s just a matter of people double covering all night long and they’re going to take it away, but he popped open several times and made some great plays.”

White Oak added a touchdown with 39 seconds remaining on a 1-yard run by Gale.

Unlike in the first half, the second half saw the Zebra defense dominate as Grandview forced five punts and one turnover on downs. At one point in the second half, White Oak threw 13 incompletions in a row as Gale finished 10-of-33 passing.

“I think it just goes into a whole team effort,” Walraven said. “We did a great job over the top on their best receiver. That guy right there is something special, and for us to contain him the way we did was a big testament to Coach [Ryan] Ebner and what he did in the secondary and the secondary itself.”

Breton finished 24-of-39 for 353 yards, three touchdowns and four interceptions. He added 62 rushing yards and a score.

Martinez carried the ball 21 times for 161 yards and three touchdowns. Lee had nine catches for 135 yards and two touchdowns.

White Oak was led by Owens’ 121 rushing yards and two touchdowns. McCurdy had seven catches for 138 yards and two touchdowns. He also had two interceptions on defense.

Grandview (9-2) plays Newton (11-0) next week in a 2A Division I Region III semifinal at a location and time to be determined. White Oak’s season ends with an 9-3 record.

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