WICHITA FALLS — Wichita Falls Rider did nothing the Frenship football team had not prepared for during the week leading up to Saturday’s Class 4A Division II Region I Final.
For the second year in a row, the Raiders just did it better.
D’Maujeric Tucker rushed for 156 yards and a touchdown, but it took 33 carries to get there, and the Tigers never developed any rhythm on either side of the ball as Rider dominated up front and hit big plays to capture a 33-7 victory at Memorial Stadium, ending Frenship’s season at 12-2.
“The big thing was they were just a lot more aggressive than we were and had a lot more intensity than we did,” said Tucker, who finishes his senior season with 2,893 yards and 33 touchdowns.
Tucker finished with just one gain of more than 15 yards, and that was his 27-yard touchdown that put Frenship up 7-6 early in the second quarter, and which came off one of three Rider turnovers.
Other than that, the Raiders excelled at bottling Tucker up inside and never letting him get any yards outside by crashing their outside linebackers in and using their safeties to patrol the perimeters.
That, and a relentless push up front that resulted in five sacks of Frenship quarterback Trevor Lloyd, all contributed to allowing the Tigers just 221 yards total offense, including 166 on the ground.
“They’re so good up front with their front seven, and they were squeezing everything inside,” coach Brad Davis said. “We got outside a few times but their safeties were so fast. Every time we got outside and thought we had some room they would close and make plays. Then we’re not a good-enough passing team right now to counter that.”
The Raiders (12-2), who will face Lancaster on Friday at Justin Northwest in the state semifinals, used a multitude of formations offensively against the Tigers, from the read option to the single-wing — none of which the Tigers hadn’t prepared for in practices during the week.
Rider just executed it better and was able to hit some big plays both in the run game out of the single-wing and in the passing game. Tailbacks Carlos Fleeks and Domanic Thrasher combined for 180 rushing yards and three touchdowns, and two of quarterback Chase London’s completions went for touchdowns of 49 yards to John Hatch and 39 yards to Brylan McCoy.
“That’s been a big part of our package is the (single-wing),” Rider coach Jim Garfield said. “It’s paid dividends.”
The Raiders finished with 231 rushing yards among their 346 total yards, constantly getting the corner with 10-to-15-yard runs from a multitude of players.
“They had our film and found our weakness and punished us there,” Frenship outside linebacker Rhett Cates said. “They threw an outside (blocker) on the line out there and that opened up holes inside.”
Despite their struggles offensively, the Tigers trailed just 19-7 at halftime and Tucker had already amassed 111 yards. Hunter Douglas intercepted London on Riders’ first drive of the third quarter, but the Tigers gave it right back on a Lloyd interception, and Frenship never made it past midfield the rest of the game.
“It just wasn’t our day,” said cornerback Cade Davis, who had the other pick of London. “They ran everything we practices all week. They just fought harder.”
The Tigers finished the first half with 154 total yards. But outside of its one-play touchdown drive, Frenship’s other five drives ended in a missed field goal, two punts, a turnover on downs and halftime.
Rider, meanwhile, gashed the Frenship defense in a variety of ways. London hit just 2 of 5 passes in the first half, but one was a 49-yard touchdown where Hatch beat Cade Davis one-on-one that gave the Raiders a 13-7 lead.
The Raiders also rushed for 130 yards behind the efforts of Thrasher and Fleeks. The two combined for 93 yards and two touchdowns, a 6-yarder by Fleeks and a 13-yarder by Thrasher that allowed the Raiders to build their halftime lead.
“They’ve got great skill kids in the backfield and great speed,” Brad Davis said. “They just have more speed than we do and are really good on both lines, offensively and defensively.”
After trading interceptions to start the second half, the Raiders pushed their lead to 25-7 when London hit Brylan McCoy on a tunnel screen, and McCoy took it 39 yards for the touchdown. Frenship’s next three drives ended in two punts and a turnover on downs, and the Raiders iced the game when Fleeks scored his second touchdown of the game one play after breaking off a 53-yard run.
Frenship’s final two drives ended in Lloyd’s second interception and a fumble when he was sacked for the final time with two minutes left, bringing to a close a season in which the Tigers fully returned to their status as a perennial deep playoff team after two seasons of coming up short.
“I told the kids right before we went and shook hands that I’m more proud of them than I’ve been of any team I’ve coached,” Brad Davis said. “We’re 12-2 and played 14 games and only a handful of teams in the state can say that. A lot of teams would like to be where we are right now. I’m just proud of them.”
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CLASS 4A DIVISION II REGION I FINAL
at Memorial Stadium, Wichita Falls
WICHITA FALLS RIDER 33, FRENSHIP 7
Frenship 0 7 0 0 — 7
WF Rider 6 13 6 8 — 33
WFR — Domanic Thrasher 13 run (kick failed); :33
FRE — D’Maujeric Tucker 27 run (Josh Sparkman kick); 10:54
WFR — John Hatch 49 pass from Chase London (Luis Trejo kick); 8:43
WFR — Carlos Fleeks 6 run (pass failed); :50
WFR — Brylan McCoy 39 pass from London (kick blocked); 8:29
WFR — Fleeks 6 run (Fleeks run); 5:20
First downs 12 16
Rushes-yards 49-166 38-231
Passing yards 55 115
Comp.-att.-int. 3-8-2 4-10-2
Punts-avg. 4-24.7 2-22.0
Fumbles-lost 1-1 1-0
Penalties-yards 2-15 8-50
RUSHING: Frenship, D’Maujeric Tucker 33-156, Bryndan Arredondo 4-19, Dillon Stevens 1-5, Jared Mannon 1-5, Trevor Lloyd 10-(-20); Wichita Falls Rider, Carlos Fleeks 15-126, Domanic Thrasher 11-54, Chase London 4-13, Demarcus Tillery 2-11, Davon Allison 1-11, Brylan McCoy 1-10, D.J. Arnold 2-7, Chedy Joseph 1-0, Johnny Diaz 1-(-1).
PASSING: Frenship, Lloyd 3-8-2—55; Wichita Falls Rider, London 4-10-2—115
RECEIVING: Frenship, Tucker 1-30, Arredondo 2-25; Wichita Falls Rider, Hatch 1-49, McCoy 1-39, Allison 1-30, Josh Price 1-(-3).