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Powerful Sandies too much for Westerners in return to postseason

Lubbock High's first playoff game in 37 years ends with 57-14 loss to Amarillo High

Posted: November 15, 2012 - 11:10pm  |  Updated: November 16, 2012 - 1:22am
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Roberto Rodriguez /  Amarillo Globe-News Lubbock High wide receiver Bam Jackson is taken down by several Amarillo High defenders during the first quarter of the Class 4A Division 1 bi-district game, Thursday, November 15, 2012 at Dick Bivins Stadium.  Roberto Rodriguez / Amarillo Globe-News
Roberto Rodriguez / Amarillo Globe-News
Roberto Rodriguez / Amarillo Globe-News Lubbock High wide receiver Bam Jackson is taken down by several Amarillo High defenders during the first quarter of the Class 4A Division 1 bi-district game, Thursday, November 15, 2012 at Dick Bivins Stadium.
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Lubbock High knew the odds were stacked against it in facing Amarillo in the bi-district round of the playoffs.

But even this was completely unexpected.

The Sandies dominated in every way imaginable and in all three phases for the first half of Thursday night’s game at Dick Bivins Stadium, putting the game well out of reach by halftime en route to a 57-14 victory.

“We wanted to come up here and obviously play better,” LHS head coach Jason Strunk said. “But I think we got a first-hand look at what a solid playoff team is and that’s Amarillo. That’s a tough team and I’m glad we got to see them up close and personal because that’s where we want to get. Our guys needed to see that. Overall they’re just a better football team than we are right now.”
After breaking a 37-year playoff drought this season, the Westerners’ postseason appearance was extremely short-lived. A 34-point second-quarter explosion blew open a close game and all but ended Lubbock High’s year at 3-8 before they could even get to the intermission.

But Strunk said he found some positives to build on, mainly that the underclassmen got to experience the playoff football atmosphere, plus the Westerners did have some success late in the game albeit against the Sandies second- and third-team defenders.

LHS avoided the shutout when quarterback Layven Armendariz hit Bam Jackson for a 9-yard touchdown a minute into the fourth quarter. Roughly six minutes later, Armendariz hit Cory Schovanec on a 17-yard catch and run to finish off the scoring in the game.

“We wanted to come out and huddle up and slow the game down, but I think it got us out of our rhythm,” Strunk said. “We hurt ourselves by slowing it down, so we said let’s just go out and play our game and do our thing. But their defense is solid and physical up front and their secondary doesn’t let anything behind them, and they’re all over you.”

The Sandies (9-2), who advance to face either El Paso Chapin or El Paso Hanks in the area round, dominated on both sides of the ball in the first half. Amarillo amassed 370 yards of total offense in the first two periods en route to 407 rushing yards and 508 total for the game. Running backs Josh Woods and Cole Sanchez each eclipsed the 100-yard rushing mark by the midpoint of the second quarter and neither played in the second half.

“We take great pride in being able to control the tempo and setting the tempo,” Amarillo coach Mel Maxfield said. “Our offensive line has played so well for us all year and that goes back to their preparation throughout last spring and spring training, and they had a great summer program. They’re where it starts with us.”

Conversely, the Sandies defense completely shut down the Westerners. LHS had just 4 rushing yards on 10 carries in the first half, and quarterback Layven Armendariz was an erratic 7 for 18 passing for 73 yards, the victim of drops and continuous pressure form the Amarillo defensive front.

Lubbock High crossed midfield just once in the first half and didn’t record a first down until its fifth possession of the game, early in the second quarter. LHS did get to its 46 one other time but stalled out, gaining just 77 total yards in the first half.

The Westerners’ seven first-half possessions ended in six punts and a turnover on downs. They finished with 147 total yards, 76 of which came on the final two drives of the game, and Armendariz finished 14 for 26 for 139 yards and the two touchdowns.

“We’ve got a good pressure package and we faced some teams in district that can throw the ball around pretty good,” Maxfield said. “In today’s time you have to be able to mix it up, we feel like. We’ve got some guys that are playmakers on defense and we’re pleased with how our front has played all year, and the play of our inside linebackers from the Palo Duro game on has been improved and has helped make us a complete defense.”

Coupled with its offense, it made for a bad combination for the Westerners.

Amarillo scored in two plays on its opening drive, getting a 47-yard run by Woods. But Lubbock High held Amarillo on the Sandies’ second drive at the LHS 11, gaining just a hint of momentum.

But that quickly went away as the Westerners had their third straight three-and-out, which the Sandies converted into a touchdown on a 15-yard touchdown grab by Oklahoma State baseball signee Ryan Sluter.

From there, the rout was on.

The Sandies scored on their final five possessions of the half, getting a 1-yard sneak by quarterback Gabe Rodriguez, two 5-yard Cole Sanchez touchdown runs, a 26-yard touchdown pass to Sluter and a 2-yard Woods run to end the half with a 48-0 lead that essentially ended the game for the Amarillo starters.

Armendariz was sacked in the end zone for a safety on the Westerners’ first play of the second half, and backup running back Chris Buchanan scored on a 3-yard run on the ensuing possession to end the scoring for the Sandies.

“It was a good experience for us,” Strunk said. “I think they realize what hard work did last year in the weight room and they can see it led to the playoffs and we can keep climbing higher. Last year going into the offseason we didn’t have anything to go on and they had to take us at our word that hard work would pay off. Now that we’ve made the playoffs we have them right where we want them.”

To comment on this story:

george.watson@lubbockonline.com • 766-2166

terry.greenberg@lubbockonline.com • 766-8700

CLASS 4A DIVISION I BI-DISTRICT PLAYOFF

at Dick Bivins Stadium, Amarillo

AMARILLO 57, LUBBOCK HIGH 14

Lubbock High 0 0 0 14 — 14

Amarillo 14 34 9 0 — 57

First Quarter

AMA — Josh Woods 47 run (Mason Edmondson kick); 9:13

AMA — Ryan Sluter 15 pass from Gabe Rodriguez (Edmondson kick); 2:33

Second Quarter

AMA — Rodriguez 1 run (Edmondson kick); 11:57

AMA — Cole Sanchez 5 run (kick failed); 6:44

AMA — Sanchez 5 run (Edmondson kick); 5:23

AMA — Sluter 26 pass from Rodriguez (Edmondson kick); 2:56

AMA — Woods 2 run (Edmondson kick); :42.3

Third Quarter

AMA — Safety, Layven Armendariz tackled in the end zone; 5:29

AMA — Chris Buchanan 3 run (Hunter Cathey kick); 2:09

Fourth Quarter

LHS — Bam Jackson 9 pass from Armendariz (Ryan Rodriguez kick); 11:00

LHS — Cory Schovanec 17 pass from Armendariz (Rodriguez kick); 5:09

TEAM STATISTICS

LHS AMA

First downs 8 24

Rushes-yards 13-8 58-407

Passing yards 139 101

Comp.-att.-int. 14-26-0 5-10-0

Punts-avg. 6-31.3 1-26.0

Fumbles-lost 0-0 1-0

Penalties-yards 4-40 6-60

INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS

RUSHING: Lubbock High, Bam Jackson 2-14, Brandon Hernandez 9-0, Layven Armendariz 1-(-6); Amarillo, Josh Woods 11-141, Cole Sanchez 17-129, Drake Reid 11-65, Chris Buchanan 7-44, Deon Lynch 3-14, Chase Ferrell 1-7, Brent Burdett 4-4, Noah Frank 1-2, Gabriel Rodriguez 1-1, Jonathan Shoels 1-(-9).

PASSING: Lubbock High, Armendariz 14-26-0—139; Amarillo, Rodriguez 4-9-0—92, Isaac Garcia 1-1-0—9.

RECEIVING: Lubbock High, Jackson 8-54, Cory Schovanec 2-44, Hernandez 4-41; Amarillo, Ryan Sluter 2-41, Blaine Prescott 2-46, Woods 1-14.

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Good Grief

A 3-7 team should not have been in the playoffs in the first place. Tell me I'm wrong.

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