December 04, 2013 Edition

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Hoxie closes outstanding
season with quarterfinal loss

Hoxie's Gunner Cook (front) blocks an Earle defender as Mustang quarterback Cole Sears cuts around him to pick up some yardage during Friday night's quarterfinal state playoff game. Also in on the play were Conner Roberts and Jacob Henson. The Mustangs, who defeated Earle earlier in the season, came up short 8-6 to end their season.

Nathan Hibbard
Staff Writer

An old sports adage states that it is difficult to defeat a good team twice in the same season. The Earle Bulldogs gave Hoxie one of its toughest regular-season games, falling to the Mustangs 21-12 in October. The 3A-3 Conference rivals met again Friday night, this time in the quarterfinals of the state playoffs, with the Bulldogs escaping with an 8-6 victory at Crider Field.

Earle took the early lead when quarterback Corey Garrett hit Tevin Scott with an eight-yard scoring pass with 6:12 remaining in the first quarter. Garrett kept for the two-point conversion and an 8-0 lead.

Hoxie drove deep into Earle territory on their ensuing possession, but was stopped on a fourth-down play at the Bulldogs' two-yard line.

The Mustangs got another opportunity when Robert Vaughn intercepted an Earle pass at the 25-yard line. Hoxie lost the ball on a fumble, but would get it back when Derek Woodard recovered a Bulldog fumble at the 25.

Hoxie took advantage of the turnover. On a second-down play from the 12-yard line, quarterback Cole Sears found Slade Sullens with a touchdown pass with less than a minute to play in the first half. The two-point conversion was unsuccessful, leaving Earle with an 8-6 lead at halftime.

Defense and turnovers dominated the second half, as neither team could put any more points on the board.

Hoxie appeared to take the lead on their final possession of the game when Gunner Cook raced 19 yards for a touchdown. However, the play was wiped out because of a holding penalty and the drive eventually ended when the Bulldogs sacked Sears on fourth down to seal the win.

Cook led the Mustangs in rushing with 80 yards on 18 carries, while Sears added 58 yards on 18 carries. Jacob Henson carried three times for 18 yards. Robert Vaughn had a six-yard carry, and Kyle Wilson gained one yard on one carry.

Sears completed five-of-12 passes, for 42 yards and a touchdown. James Johnson was one-of-one, for 31 yards.

Sullens had three receptions for 27 yards and a touchdown. Hunter Wilson caught two passes for 46 yards, and Cook caught one pass.

Hoxie ended the season with a 12-1 record, which included the first undefeated regular season and outright conference championship in school history.

"I'm extremely proud of our 2013 season," said Mustang head coach Tom Sears. "Obviously, this game did not end as we had hoped, but that is not going to diminish the fantastic run our kids and coaches were able to put together."

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