ARLINGTON, TX — Carthage fell behind early against La Vega, but the Bulldogs pulled away thanks to 28 unanswered points between the halfway marks in the second and third quarter.
Carthage's offense was clinical the entire game. Running back Mason Courtney followed his gigantic offensive line for 229 yards and three touchdowns on the day. He averaged 7.6 yards per carry.
Senior left tackle Ty'kieast Crawford was an intimidating figure for the Bulldogs all season. The 6'5 and 335 pound 4-star recruit has offers from every blue chip program in the country, and he is just one of five offensive linemen that could play at the next level.
Courtney fumbled the ball on the opening possession of the game after Carthage marched 46 yards to the La Vega 19. They stopped La Vega, and then gave it back with a punt of their own.
Starting at their 45 following a 22 yard return by DeMicco Chambliss, the Pirates took 2:52 off the clock and scored on a 19 yard run by junior Elisha Cummings.
That would be the last time La Vega had the lead. Carthage went on to score a touchdown on each of their next six possessions. Their biggest two came on their last play of the first half and their first play of the second.
Tied at 14 following touchdowns from Courtney (Carthage), Cummings (La Vega), and Kelvontay Dixon (Carthage), the Bulldogs got the ball back with 2:00 to play in the second quarter after a Pirate turnover on downs.
Quarterback Kai Horton calmly marched them 69 yards down the field and capped it with a pass to 4-star wide receiver Kelvontay Dixon. Horton rolled to his right and threw it past a Pirate defender that had his back to him.
Dixon caught the ball at the 2 and was slung down into the end zone with 3 seconds to play in the half.
Now up 21-14, Carthage forced a La Vega three and out to start the third quarter. On 1st and 10 from their 37, Horton dropped back and fired a bomb to a wide open Dixon down the left numbers. He jogged into the end zone to make it 28-14 with 10:40 in the third.
Those two touchdowns were demoralizing for La Vega. Carthage's defense was playing well, and the Pirates struggled to narrow the lead.
They finished the game with 372 yards on 48 offensive plays, an average of 7.8. Big plays were the reason for those solid stats. Cummings had a 58 yard run and Jar'Que Walton had a 50 yard run. They had four punts, a turnover on downs, and a fumble that ended drives short.
Cummings ended the game with 136 yards and 2 TD's on just 15 carries. Walton had 75 and a TD on 8 touches. Kinne had 71 and a score on 9 rushes.
Through the air, Kinne was efficient but did not have a big day compared to Horton. He finished 8-14 for 92 yards.
Horton was 16-22 for 231 and 3 scores.
Kelvontay Dixon was named the Offensive MVP with 7 catches for 120 yards and all three receiving touchdowns.
Safety Cole Whitlock gets Defensive MVP with 9.5 tackles (8 solo) and 1.5 tackles for loss.
This is Carthage's 7th State Championship since 2008. They won in '08, '09, '10, '13, '16 and '17. La Vega was the defending 4A DI Champion.
You can read a full play by play recap from during the game here.