ARLINGTON, Texas (KETK) – The Carthage machine took some time to warm up, but once activated, there was no stopping them on Friday in the 4A-Division II title game.
The Bulldogs dominated the Gilmer Buckeyes 70-14 to capture their second straight state title and their eighth in 13 years. The game was also the program’s 30th consecutive victory.
The overwhelming offensive performance from Carthage set multiple records. It was the most points by Carthage in a championship game and the most yards in a 4A state title game ever, with more than 600.
Head Coach Scott Surratt also now has the most state championships at one school in UIL 11-man football history.
Right out of the gate, Gilmer attempted an onside kick to start the game. While they didn’t recover they stuffed the Bulldog offense and went on the attack.
Buckeye quarterback Brandon Tennison connected with Rohan Fluellen on a screen pass that went 52 yards for the touchdown to make it 7-0.
Gilmer then tried another onside kick, but this time recovered. Just moments, Tennison found Fluellen a second time for a 14-0 lead in the first five minutes.
Then the Carthage avalanche began.
The Bulldogs held steady their next drive and was able to put together a methodical drive to answer the Buckeyes. A double pass in Gilmer territory put Carthage on the board to make it 14-7.
Carthage then began to reel off points at will after an interception. They took advantage on their next possession and Mason Courtney went untouched for 27 yards to tie the game at 14 with nine minutes remaining in the first half.
Fast forward two minutes and quarterback Kai Horton found a wide-open Braeden Wade to make it 21-14. Then just 18 seconds later, Brandon King picked off a deflected pass from Tennison and took it back for a touchdown.
Then as if Déjà vu hit, King picked off his third pass of the game and returned it for another touchdown, the third Carthage score in less than a minute to put the score at 35-14. King would finish with four interceptions in the game, on his birthday no less.
He would be named Defensive MVP for his efforts and his two pick-sixes allowed the Bulldogs to pull away.
After Gilmer was forced to punt, the Bulldogs struck again with a 69-yard touchdown pass to Kavonte Brown-Haskins.
By the time the game reached halftime, the Bulldogs had scored six touchdowns in 11 minutes and entered the break with a 42-14 lead.
The scoring did not stop in the second half. The Bulldogs put up four more touchdowns without an answer from Gilmer to cruise to a 70-14 victory.