The North Crowley Panthers showcased why they’re the No. 2 Class 6A team in the Fort Worth-area.
In a ranked matchup, head coach Ray Gates and Co. took down No. 8 Euless Trinity 52-31 under the Friday night lights at Crowley ISD Multi-Purpose Stadium. The Panther’s first half offensive onslaught was too much for the Trojans to overcome.
North Crowley put up a whopping 40 points in the first half to Trinity’s 24. Both teams slowed down as the game continued, and the Panthers took a step forward in District 3-6A.
“Offensively, we were on all P’s and Q’s in the first half,” Gates said. “We weren’t as sharp as we needed to be in the third quarter. We’ve got to watch tape and make corrections, but a win is a win. We’re 2-0 in district and we’re on the right pace.”
Gates said his team needs to limit penalties moving forward in order to get to a championship level. He added the defense isn’t as crisp as it needs to be.
“Defensively, we didn’t play well in the first half,” Gates said. “We gave up 24 points.”
Gates said slowing down the game in the second half allowed his team to make more plays and get more stops. He credited Trinity for a strong offense showing but mentioned there’s room for his team to improve.
“We’ve got to get better at run defense,” Gates said. “We were playing a good team. They run the ball well every week.”
Trinity had 240 rushing yards to North Crowley’s 109. The Panthers lost the ground battle but dominated in the air.
Quarterback Chris Jimerson Jr. had 216 passing yards and two touchdowns, and he added 74 yards on his legs. Jimerson averaged an impressive 24-yards per completion.
Throughout the game, the entire team had it’s moments. Now, the Panthers need to put everything together to maximize their potential. Defensive tackle and TCU commit Sterlin Brooks said he expects North Crowley to compete for a state championship.
“We’ve got the most talent,” Brooks said. “No one can mess with us.”
A whole lot of offense
Wide receiver LaMarcus Davis started the Panther’s scoring spree on the first play of the game, taking the opening kick 96-yards into the end zone. The play set the tone and sparked a fire.
Crowley’s kicker was sidelined with an injury, so the Panthers were forced to go for two. Quarterback Chris Jimerson Jr. connected with Dekoryian West-Davis to complete the 2-point conversion.
“We practice it,” Gates said, referring to the conversion plays. “Every week. Those plays are plays that we grind every week. Our kids know what to do in the moment. Who knows? We may get to an overtime game, and that’s going to be valuable down the road.”
The Trinity Trojans couldn’t respond, but a North Crowley penalty extended their drive. The Trojans settled for a 34-yard field goal from kicker Andrew Gutierrez.
After, Trinity kicked the ball deep, preventing a kick return. Still, the North Crowley offense only needed two offensive plays; Jimerson connected with Mason Ferguson for a 77-yard touchdown. North Crowley added another two points with another Jimerson to West-Davis completion.
With his team desperately needing a response, Trinity running back Josh Bell went to work. He opened the series with a 47-yard run and capped off the two play drive with a 6-yard rushing touchdown.
The North Crowley offense, however, didn’t take its foot off the gas. After a 56-yard kick return from Davis, Jimerson gained 24 yards, passing to West-Davis again. Running back Ashton Searl then took over, gaining 26 total yards in four plays and capping the drive with a 3-yard rushing touchdown.
Chaos ensued in the following drive. Trinity fumbled, and North Crowley took over and fumbled on the next play. Trinity gave the ball right back, fumbling the ball again; there were three fumbles in less than a minute of play.
“It was a huge swing,” Gates said, reflecting on the recovery. “We were able to go down and score. That was big. Their run game is crucial and important. If we can continue to score and put them behind then they have to make some decisions in what they want to do.”
The fans were getting their money’s worth with North Crowley’s efficient offense scoring with lightning speed. Searl, on the first play following the recovery, rushed 37 yards for the touchdown. The Panthers continued their trend of 2-point conversions, and Jimerson successfully passed to Jayden Shaw.
Trinity’s offense had their backs against the wall, but they continued to fight. They regained possession and marched down the field, completing a five play, 38 yard touchdown drive that was ended by an Ethan Right 25-yard rush.
North Crowley took it’s time to respond, putting together a 14 play touchdown drive that was finished by an 11-yard run by Searl, who also took in a 2-point conversion.
Trinity responded yet again, putting together another touchdown drive highlighted by runs from Bell and JT Harris.
To end the first half, North Crowley couldn’t complete a fourth down conversion at midfield. Trinity had a solid opportunity to cut the lead before the break, but couldn’t capitalize with the solid field position.
Slowing down the game
Both teams had an outstanding offensive showing in the first half. In the second, it was the defenses’ time to shine.
The third quarter only had one score, a Jimerson 36-yard touchdown pass to Davis. For the first time in the contest, the Panthers elected not to go for two and the kick was blocked. It was the only offensive touchdown in the second half by North Crowley.
Both teams struggled to score moving forward. Trinity managed to find the end zone one last time with the game out of reach. Quarterback TJ Tupou rammed himself into the end zone with a 1-yard QB sneak.
The Trojans’ time to get back into the game had long passed. North Crowley, in the final moments, increased their massive lead with a 61-yard pick six from Thomas Cook Jr. and the Panthers stayed undefeated.