#COVER1 Mix: Why Wall Should Be Considered The State's Biggest Title Contender

WALL, TX — The Wall Hawks showed that they are the team to be feared the most in Class 3A with another dominant performance.  This time against the previously unbeaten Eastland Mavericks.

Eastland’s explosive offense, which was averaging 52 points per game, could not get anything going and were held to a season low 14 points.  

The Mavericks felt the power of Wall’s defense early and often.  On the first play of the game, highly touted junior quarterback Behren Morton threw a quick screen to wide out Anthony Bonilla who worked his way to the the 40.  That would be as far they would go, though, as the Wall defense hounded Morton and forced three straight incompletions. 

Wall's Chase Rios returned the ensuing punt to the 39, and the Hawk's offense got to work.  A false start on first down made it 1st and 15 right off the bat.  Two handoffs to Rios picked up just four yards, and Wall was looking at third and long.  Quarterback Mason Fuchs rolled to his right and found his go-to target Connor Dierschke on a comeback route right at the sticks for the first down.

Fuchs picked up six on 2nd and 9, and an offside penalty by Eastland moved the chains again.  On 2nd and 12, however, Wall mishandled a handoff and Eastland pounced on the ball for the turnover. 

Eastland's second possession started inside Wall territory.  Bonilla ran for 11 on first down after a screen pass, and powerful running back Brandon Fielding tumbled his way for two.  On the next play, Morton took a shot deep, but the pass missed.  On 3rd and 8, the Hawks' defensive front got after Morton and forced an errant throw. 

Wall started at their 20 after a touchback on the punt.  A barrage of runs moved the ball to the Eastland 33 when Fuchs immediately found Dierschke at the goal line on a post.  Dierschke leapt over two Maverick defenders for the touchdown.  7-0 Wall with 2:24 to play in the first. 

Wall's defense kept the momentum rolling by intercepting a pass on second down.  Defensive lineman Zackary Lane tipped the ball at the line of scrimmage and linebacker Drew Morrison snagged it and carried it to the Eastland 31.

Fuchs missed a streaking Kye Herbert on a wheel route on first down, but running back Cinch Dickey ran for seven on second.  Fuchs then worked his way for the first on a keeper.  Eastland cornerback Bryan Fielding wrapped up Rios in the backfield for a loss of five on the next play.  The next three plays combined for only one yard and Wall gave the ball back on a turnover on downs. 

The teams traded punts until Eastland earned its first points of the night.  The Mavericks started at their own 45 with 5:46 to play in the second quarter.  Two quick passes to Brandon Fielding gave them 13 yards.  A few plays later on 3rd and 1 from the Wall 33, Bonilla took a handoff and bolted through the middle of the Wall defense and into the end zone.  Wall kept the lead, though, after getting great pressure and blocking the extra point attempt.  7-6 Wall with 4:30 in the second.

It took Wall less than two minutes to respond thanks in large part to a Chase Rios 70 yard run to the Eastland 15.  Rios limped back to the bench after the play and would not return to the game.  Defensive lineman Joe Walker took his place and picked up seven yards on the next two carries.  Fuchs moved the ball to the four, and Dickey walked into the end zone untouched on a pitch.  14-6 Wall at halftime.

Both teams opened up the second half with a pair of punts before Wall asserted themselves offensively.  Due to the injury to Rios, Head Coach Houston Guy started pulling from the offensive side of the ball.  Defensive standouts Colton Diebitsch, Joe Walker, and Bryson Ballard each saw some of their most extensive offensive action to date.

Junior linebacker Bryson Ballard carried the load and ran for 37 yards on the drive.  Wall did stall when it reached the goal line, however.  On 4th and 9 from the Eastland 10, Fuchs tried to find Dierschke in the end zone, but Morton broke the pass up.  Unfortunately for Eastland, the four star QB was called for pass interference and gave Wall 1st and goal from the 2.  Fuchs punctuated the near eight minute drive on a keeper to go up 21-6 with 2:30 to go in the third.

Similar to how Wall answered Eastland's score in the first half, Eastland got them right back.  On 2nd and 8 from the 32, Morton rolled out to his right and found Bonilla crossing the field.  The 6'0" 190 pound wide receiver took it the rest of the 68 yards.  Eastland converted the two point conversion to cut the lead to 7 just 34 seconds after Fuchs' touchdown.

On the next drive, Wall entered Eastland territory on a 37 yard run by Fuchs to the Eastland 38.  A couple plays later, Wall avoided one disaster but suffered another.  On 2nd and 17 following a sack, Fuchs rolled to his right and threw a pass directly to Eastland linebacker Dylan Carlton.  Carlton intercepted it, but the play was wiped away due to a vicious late hit on Fuchs along the sideline.  The senior QB would leave the game with a concussion.

Once again, Guy pulled from the defense and grabbed Drew Morrison to replace him.  Morrison kept things rolling and bullied his way on consecutive carries to the end zone.  28-14 halfway through the fourth.

Eastland's final possession started at its own 10 with 6:48 to play.  A double reverse to Bonilla on first down lost three yards, and Morton followed it up with an errant throw across the middle.  They converted the 3rd and 13 on a bullet to Bonilla who ran to the 38.  Fielding picked up five before another incompletion.  This time, on 3rd and 5, Morton was surrounded by the entire Wall defensive line for a loss of five.  Junior defensive back Jake Andrews ended the drive with a beautiful pass breakup on 4th down.

Eastland could not get Wall off the field after that, and the Hawks drained the remaining five minutes off the clock.  Morrison took a couple knees inside of two minutes to officially end things.

Final Score Wall 28, Eastland 14.

Wall is now 8-0 and will head to 1-7 Breckenridge next week to try and wrap up the district title. 

Eastland is 7-1 and will return home to face 6-2 Clyde who is fresh off an upset of Jim Ned. 

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