Palo Duro literally ran its way into the playoffs Friday night.
Propelled by the 271-yard running effort of pounding back Antaun Turner, Palo Duro rolled up 417 yards rushing on its way to a 40-25 District 3-4A victory over Caprock and its near record-setting quarterback Michael Guerrero.
The 2,500 fans in Dick Bivins Stadium saw Caprock cut the Palo Duro lead to 20-18 early in the second half on one of Guerrero’s three touchdown passes. But the playoff-hungry Dons pounced for 20 unanswered points — one of the three TDs a 53-yard run by Turner — to punch its ticket to the playoffs.
Palo Duro moved to 2-2 in 3-4A and with one game remaining in district is guaranteed a spot in the Division I Class 4A playoffs.
This was the sixth “Parr Bowl” pitting father and PD head coach Steve Parr against son and Caprock head coach Seth Parr.
“We weren’t able to quite ever put them away, but we did run the ball well all game,” said PD’s Steve Parr, who evened the Parr Bowl record to 3-3. “We are in the playoffs and it feels good to do that again.”
PD’s gifted senior wide receiver =Charleston White jump tarted the game for the Dons by returning the opening kickoff 85 yards for a quick touchdown. But it was Turner and the PD offensive line which kept the Dons offense churning.
Turner carried 31 times for 271 yards and scored once, while reserve PD back sophomore Anthony McLain added 70 yards on six carries and scored on a 15-yard sweep in he first half.
PD senior left tackle Jose Burciaga said while the Dons play out of a spread offense, the running game is what makes the lineman smile.
“We had a plan,” Burciaga said. “And you can see we are a spread offense. But whatever works is what we do. We did our thing and just ran for it. We have a lot more fun when we run it. And by clinching (a playoff berth) that means we get to play more games.”
Palo Duro never trailed with the running game going and then quarterback Malik Sims throwing to Joseph Taylor for a touchdown and running in from five yards for a score. Also, a halfback-back pass from speedy Montrel Meander to Taylor for 19 yards after Caprock cut the lead to 20-18, was a huge boost.
“The second half Caprock did exactly what they had to do,” Steve Parr said of the Horns scoring on their first possession in the third quarter. “I thought we did a good job of coming back and making some plays like good pass Meander made.”
Caprock did show a lot of spunk and hustle despite entering the game 0-3 in district and knowing their playoff chances were slim.
The Longhorns’ Guerrero to Isaiah Betterton combination clicked for 15-yard TD pass with 54 seconds remaining in the first half, then added a 21-yard score less than three minutes into the second half.
But Caprock fell behind 40-18 and could muster but one TD in the final quarter, a Guerrero to Addison Bustos 38-yard score on a shuffle pass.
“We gave ourselves an opportunity there,” said Caprock coach Seth Parr. “They are learning how to fight out there and didn’t give up breaking plays to Palo Duro. We knew we had our work cut out for us. Palo Duro is a good football team.”
Guerrero completed 19-of-33 passes for 262 yards, moving from No. 5 to No. 2 on the Texas Panhandle all-time career yards passing list. Guerrero has thrown for 6,535 yards and is 192 yards shy of breaking the record with one game remaining.
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Palo Duro 40, Caprock 25
Palo Duro 13 7 13 7 — 40
Caprock 5 6 7 7 — 25
PD — Charleston White 85 kickoff return (Tito Estrada kick)
C — Caleb Hollabaugh 30 FG
PD — Joseph Taylor 13 pass from Malik Sims (kick blocked)
C — Gustavo Mendoza extra point retrun
PD — Anthony McLain 15 run (Estrada kick)
C — Isaiah Betterton 15 pass from Michael Guerrero (run failed)
C — Betterton 21 pas from Guerrero (Hollabaugh kick)
PD — Taylor 19 pass from Montrel Meander (Estrada kick)
PD — Antaun Turner 53 run (kick failed)
PD — Malik Sims 5 run (Estrada kick)
C — Addison Bustos 38 pass fron Guerrero (Hollabaugh kick)
Caprock Palo Duro
First Downs 19 21
Rushing Yards 153 417
Passing Yards 262 40
Total Yards 415 457
C-A-I 19-33-1 3-10-1
Punts-Avg. 3-37.5 1-24.0
Fumbles-Lost 2-1 3-1
Penalties-yards 6-40 6-60
RUSHING: Palo Duro - Antaun Turner 31-271, Dee Taylor 5-10, Malik Sims 2-13, Joseph Taylor /-//, Montrel Meander 3-53, Anthony McLain 6-70, Rashaud Ashley 1-(-)4, Mario Bustos 1-4.
Caprock — Addison Bustos 9-40, Caleb Estrada 12-80, Michael Guerrero 5-32, Team 1-(-)5.
PASSING: Palo Duro - Malik Sims 2-9-1—21, Meander 1-1-0—19. Caprock - Michael Guerrero 19-33-1—262.
RECEIVING: Palo Duro - Joseph Taylor 3-46. Caprock - Addison Bustos 9-115, Caleb Estrada 2-44, Isaiah Betterton 2-36, Adonus Chatman 2-10, TJ Leadbetter 1-29, Caleb Hollabaugh 2-7.