No. 2 Garden City Puts Clamps on No. 6 Balmorhea, Advances to Semifinals
RANKIN, TX-- If you told Garden City head coach Jeff Jones this week his Bearkats would beat six-man legend Vance Jones and his Balmorhea Bears by 34 points in the Class 1A Division I Region II championship, he would’ve called you crazy.
They did just that with a 48-14 win at Rankin’s Red Devil Stadium Saturday evening for their first state semifinal berth since Vance took Garden City to State in 2010.
“I knew we had a chance to win by a couple of touchdown here and there if we took care of business,” Jeff Jones said. “I didn’t expect our defense to hold them to 14 points either. They keep blowing me away. Those guys don’t cease to surprise me.”
WATCH Garden City head coach Jeff Jones after his team’s 48-14 win over Balmorhea:
For the Bearkats, the win was a statement to the rest of Texas that they’re not backing down from anyone.
LISTEN: Sports Journalist Sam Fowler (the author) talks about the Garden City and Balmorhea rivalry and Texas 6-man football:
“It’s a big statement because Balmorhea has had great teams in the past. They’ve been to the state finals the last couple of years,” Hunter McMillan said. “We just love hitting people. We love being on defense.”
The Bearkats quickly jumped out to an 18-0 lead with three touchdowns on two offensive possessions in the first quarter. One of those touchdowns was a 56-yard interception return for a touchdown by senior Cesar Chavez. He finished with two interceptions and a fumble recovery on defense.
“He’s special,” Jones said of the three year starter. “He’s been our starting middle linebacker since he was a sophomore. He’s been waiting for this opportunity. When he makes plays, he makes plays that you’re gonna remember.”
Balmorhea couldn’t find the end zone until the second quarter when Marcos Mendoza flipped into the end zone for a 5-yard score to cut Garden City’s lead to 10.
Chavez then got in on the action offensively by recovering a fumble in the end zone at the end of a 14-yard run. That was the start of 22 unanswered points scored by Garden City to put the game well out of reach behind their stout defense at 40-8 in the third quarter.
WATCH Senior LB Cesar Chavez after the game where he had 3 takeaways:
Mendoza found the end zone on a 14-yard run to make it 40-14 in the fourth quarter. McMillan would take the ensuing kickoff 64 yards to Balmorhea’s 5-yard line.
He then carried the ball four times, finding the end zone on a 1-yard dive to give the Bearkats the winning margin.
Garden City posted 308 yards of total offense, led by Amando Alegria who had 164 yards rushing and a pair of touchdowns to his name. McMillan finished with 39 yards rushing and a pair of touchdowns.
Defensively, Garden City held Balmorhea to just 279 yards of total offense.
WATCH: Garden City's Huner McMillan talks about the Bearkat defense:
Garden City (13-0) will play no. 1-ranked McLean (13-0) next Saturday at 2 p.m. in Levelland for the state semifinal. The winner goes to AT&T Stadium for the state championships.