It was a near-perfect ending to a perfect District 3-4A season for the Amarillo High Sandies on Friday night at Dick Bivins Stadium.
Having already clinched a playoff spot and no worse than a share of the 3-4A championship, only Dumas stood in the way of the Sandies and an unbeaten district season.
The Demons took the opening kickoff and marched for a touchdown, but Amarillo High exorcised them after that, as the Sandies used their trademark grinding running game and strong defense to rout Dumas, 55-14, and complete the 3-4A season 5-0.
The Sandies (8-2) will host Lubbock High at 7 p.m. Thursday in a Class 4A Division I bidistrict playoff game.
Amarillo High looked like a team tuning some things up against Dumas (4-6, 1-4), but the Sandies appear to have most of their parts running in top order heading into the postseason. They sputtered a bit early, but quickly got on track and looked like a team unbeaten in district.
“We knew that Dumas was going to come out and compete hard, but I have to give a lot of credit to our guys for not panicking, sticking to our game plan and starting to execute,” Amarillo High coach Mel Maxfield said.
It was Dumas that struck first offensively, taking the opening kickoff and driving 75 yards on 11 plays for a touchdown. Rylan Gerber completed all four of his passes on the drive for 69 yards, the last one an 8-yard scoring pass to Nathan Thomas that gave the Demons a 7-0 lead.
But it was all Amarillo High the rest of the way. The Sandies scored on their next four possessions and never punted in the first half.
Cole Sanchez ended the first two drives on scoring runs of 1 and 2 yards for a 14-7 lead. Then Josh Woods scored from a yard out to make it 21-7. Woods had another big first half for the Sandies, picking up 111 yards on 11 carries.
In addition, Amarillo High recovered two fumbles, which thwarted Dumas drives in the first half. Junior safety Braden Marusak was involved in all four takeaways, forcing three fumbles and recovering two of them while also recording his second interception of the season in the first half, killing a Dumas drive deep into Amarillo High territory.
“It gets some stress off the offense when we take the ball away for them,” Marusak said. “I’m not really looking (to force turnovers). If I have an opportunity, I’ll try to make that kind of a play.”
Those giveaways were a big reason Dumas trailed 27-7 at halftime. It was a script all too familiar to Dumas coach Mike Burt.
“When you have turnovers and you give teams short fields, you’re going to give up points,” Burt said. “Amarillo High is 5-0 in district for a reason. It’s kind of been the bane of our existence the past four weeks.”
Two plays into the second half, Woods ran 72 yards for a touchdown to give the Sandies a 34-7 lead and end the competitive phase of the game. Woods, who finished with 183 yards on 12 carries, spent the rest of the night on the bench, along with several other Amarillo High starters.
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Dumas 7 0 0 7 — 14
Amarillo High 7 20 14 14 — 55
D—Nathan Thomas 8 pass from Rylan Gerber (Alexis Arzola kick)
AHS—Cole Sanchez 1 run (Mason Edmondson kick)
AHS—Sanchez 2 run (Edmondson kick)
AHS—Josh Woods 1 run (Edmondson kick)
AHS—Blaine Prescott 40 pass from Gabriel Rodriguez (kick failed)
AHS—Woods 72 run (Edmdonson kick)
AHS—Austin Thurman 26 pass from Rodriguez (Edmondson kick)
AHS—Drake Reid 2 run (Edmdonson kick)
D—Trace Sheldon 18 pass from Gerber (Arzola kick)
AHS—Chris Buchanan 45 run (Edmondson kick)
Dumas Amarillo High
First Downs 19 20
Rushing 74 382
Passing 260 142
Total yards 334 524
C-A-I 18-32-1 6-11-1
Punts 3-28-7 1-34.0
Fumbles-lost `3-3 0-0
Penalties-yards 3-39 4-45
Rushing—Dumas: Nathan Blackwell 9-71, Thomas 8-27, Gerber 12-(-24), Josh Diaz 3-6, Matt Clemens 1-(-6). Amarillo High: Sanchez 6-29, Woods 12-183, Colten Castleberry 2-10, Rogriguez 1-(-6), Reid 7-29, Brent Burdett 1-6, Buchanan 6-73, Chase Ferrell 3-22, Deon Lynch 5-38, Phillip Brunson 1-(-2).
Passing—Dumas: Gerber 18-32-1-260. Amarillo High: Rodriguez 5-9-1-116, Issac Garcia 1-2-0-26.
Receiving—Dumas: Sheldon 4-62, Thomas 5-81, Benton Bilbrey 3-35, Ryan Bybee 3-36, Jordan Hutcherson 1-13, Diaz 2-33. Amarillo High: Thurman 2-54, Woods 1-6, Prescott 2-56, Shy Burney 1-26.