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Lions are district champs after beatdown of Corsicana

Lions take down Corsicana, 46-14

Mark Warde
mark@ennisdailynews.com

Senior quarterback Kademon Graff threw for two touchdowns and ran for another as Ennis thumped Corsicana 46-14 to successfully defend the Lions District 17-5A championship on Friday night at Lion Memorial Stadium. The game was televised across North Texas by Fox-Channel 4.

The win, the seventh straight by Ennis, lifted their overall record to 7-3 and capped their district season at 5-0. Corsicana is 6-4 and 4-1.

After taking a 17-7 lead at intermission, Ennis marched 76 yards in 12 plays to extended their lead. They converted two fourth downs in the process, a two-yard run by Tycen Thompson inside left tackle, and a 13-yard Thompson pass to Trevor Oakley on a fake punt at midfield. It was Thompson who put away the Tigers on a three-yard run in which he neared the right sideline, was surrounded by a host of defenders, then reversed his field and scored easily at the left pylon.

Tycen Thompson kisses the district trophy after a win over Corsicana at Lion Memorial Stadium Friday night. (Staff photo/Chris McGathey)

On the Lions next possession they marched quickly downfield, with Graff spotting tight end Jarius Jones open in the middle of the field. The 6’2, 225-pound sophomore then angled past two men at the 15 to score untouched. James Harris, who did not play in the first half, added a two-point conversion on a run between right guard and tackle for a 32-7 lead just seven seconds into the fourth quarter.

“I am proud of the defense tonight,” said head coach Jack Alvarez. “We knew we couldn’t give up big plays, and they (Corsicana) live on big plays on third and long, not just tonight, but all year long.

“Going into the playoffs these kids will be very determined to get a victory and get past the first round. That has been one of our main goals all season: to be district champs and get past the first round.”

Defensive coordinator Paul Willingham said the formation-oriented Tigers were studied all week by the defense. “The young men did what they had to do. They are very intelligent and athletic and as a group they are all over-achievers. We made some mistakes, but our expectations are high right now. It’s up to us to live up to them. Ennis kids have the heart of a lion.”

Lions host Waco, Nov. 17 in playoffs

The victory sets up a bi-district first round home game for Ennis next Friday, Nov. 17, against Waco (6-4), a 57-0 victor over University High School. Coach Alvarez won a coin toss to get the game in Ennis. Corsicana will meet a Temple (8-2) team that defeated Bryan, 42-7.
The Tigers, who lost last year’s showdown to the Lions, 52-21, struggled all night to sustain offensive drives. Early in the game it was illegal procedure and false-start penalties, then it was three costly turnovers.

QB Blake Hoffman had two TDs on short runs for the Tigers points. He rushed 17 times for 83 yards and hit 8-of-19 throws for 131.

Oakley had a career night at wide receiver. The senior reeled in five passes for 103 yards, including a 58-yard catch in the fourth to give the Lions a 39-14 margin.

Harris dashed 11 yards for the final points with 4:22 remaining. He led Ennis in rushing with 73 yards on eight carries. Thompson ran for 57 on 11 tries, though his six receptions for 85 yards gave him 158 yards, excluding his 13 yard pass to Oakley.

Kyre Holloway toted the rock nine times for 43 yards.

On defense, seniors Kevion Gabriel and Faybian Morris each picked off passes for the Lions. Chase Woods had an outstanding game at linebacker, while Jay Chapman and Hunter Garcia had solid efforts on the line. Perhaps the biggest hits were delivered by Matt Schanfish on a fourth down collision in the backfield and a savage pop by Morris on kickoff coverage.

First Half Review: Ennis 17, Corsicana 7

Ennis and Corsicana battled cool conditions in a playoff atmosphere throughout the first half. The Lions found the Tigers run defense difficult, forcing them to go to the air enough to build a 17-7 lead.

Senior quarterback Kademon Graff hit on 10-of-15 passes for 120 yards by intermission, effectively countering the team’s limited running success.

Corsicana held the Lions to 84 yards rushing, their lowest output in 10 games. Part of that was the absence of Harris and his 918 yards. The Tigers, however, were quick inside and they prevented Holloway and Thompson from getting to the edge.

The Lions got on the board first. Thompson took a pitch left from Graff and jetted inside blocks by Jordan McCray and kickout blocks from K.D. Davis and Jones.

Early in the second period Graff blasted across the goal on a keeper up the middle to end a 69-yard drive for a 14-0 margin.

Following a 10-play, 70-yard Tiger touchdown drive, the Lions were forced to punt. Gabriel made a leaping pick and returned it to the Corsicana 45 with 1:09 to go in the half. Graff led the team 20 yards to set up a 37-yard Oakley field goal at the buzzer.

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