DALLAS — The Alvarado Indians will enter the Class 4A Division I playoffs on an eight-game winning streak after a 64-0 win Thursday night over Dallas Pinkston at Sprague Stadium.
The Indians (8-2, 6-0) had already secured the District 8-4A DI title, but Alvarado made it an undefeated district championship with the thoroughly dominant victory over Dallas Pinkston (1-9).
Entering the game against the last-place team in the district, Alvarado coach Jeff Dixon said they were focused entirely on self-improvement and trying to clean up certain aspects of their game before the playoffs. And the Indians did just that.
“We got better,” Dixon said. “I thought our kids handled it just fine. A lot of kids got an opportunity to play and we were able to start the game and work on certain things that are making us better. Nobody got hurt. And I think our kids handled that type of game in a classy manner.”
Alvarado held Pinkston to only 48 total yards and two first downs on the night. The Indians didn’t turn the ball over, weren’t forced to punt, and didn’t commit a single penalty.
“That was very encouraging,” Dixon said. “Those are areas that we identified that we need to clean up, and we’ve been working hard at it. For us to beat the caliber of teams we’re going to see in Region II is going to require that. So that was pleasing.”
The Indians built a 50-0 lead by halftime as Pinkston was out-matched from the get-go.
Alvarado senior running back Colby Sampson added to his 2,000-yard season with 118 rushing yards on just six carries to finish the regular season with 2,120 rushing yards and 22 touchdowns on 266 carries.
After a couple of big runs by Sampson on the game’s opening drive, quarterback Josh Syrus scored on a one-yard run and Pedro Diera added the extra point for a 7-0 lead less than 3 minutes into play.
Sampson made it 14-0 on a 39-yard touchdown run, then only 10 seconds later Mason Caruthers returned an interception 33 yards for a 21-0 advantage. A William Labermeier six-yard touchdown run gave the Indians a 28-0 lead by the end of the third quarter.
In the second quarter, Syrus scored on a 34-yard TD run, then Syrus connected with T.J. Ford on a 38-yard touchdown pass. In the final 2 minutes of the opening half, Alvarado’s James Lewis recovered a fumble in the end zone for a 50-0 advantage and the Indians’ second defensive score.
In the third quarter, Jacob Wall scored on a 10-yard run then Labermeier added a two-yard run in the fourth to produce the final margin.
Syrus completed 3-of-5 passes for 69 yards with 48 rushing yards for three total scores. Wall added 95 rushing yards on just four carries.
“I thought we continued to throw the ball well,” Dixon said. “Every receiver caught a football. Josh threw the ball well and made good decisions. That’s an area we continue to work on. Our running game is in a good place. Colby only had six carries and well over 100 yards. It’s just good to see us continuing to improve there. Every one of our linemen played, and they’re such a critical part of what we do. Defensively, we gave up two first downs and they continue to play big.”
The Indians will open the Class 4A DI playoffs against Paris (6-4).
After an 0-2 start to the season, Alvarado will ride an eight-game winning streak into the Class 4A DI Region II playoffs.
“They’re gaining confidence, which we did not have much at the beginning of the year,” Dixon said. “You’ve got to have that. If you don’t think you can win big ball games, you’re not going to. They’ve trusted the process and have seen the big picture, and those are things we’ve been preaching.
“We played a tough non-district schedule for a reason, and that reason is to prepare us for what’s now at hand. Region II is probably the toughest region there is in 4A Division I. For us to get through that, it’s going to take great effort. We can refer back to where we’ve been, and we competed and played and won some of those ball games. I think that will go a long way. We could very easily be 9-1. One of the teams that beat us is a top-5 team in the state and they’ve been beating up on teams, and we lost to them by 6. So I think all of that should do wonders for our kids’ confidence.”
The Class 4A Region II bi-district showdown between Alvarado and Paris is set for 7:30 p.m. on Nov. 15 at Ron Poe Stadium in McKinney.