VERNON — Glen Rose senior running back Westen Halcom rushed for a school-record 326 yards and five touchdowns Friday night in leading the Tigers (10-1) to a 64-40 victory over Dalhart in the Area Round of the Class 4A Div. II football playoffs.
“Every time he touched the ball early on he scored, and it all goes back to the offensive line,” Glen Rose football coach Cliff Watkins said. “He’s such a strong runner, and there aren’t going to be many times when one guy brings him down.”
Halcom, who broke his previous school record of 282 set Oct. 26 against Godley, had touchdown runs of 47, 75, 63, 10 and 1 yards), while senior quarterback Cameron Griffin completed 12 of 23 passes for 267 yards and three touchdowns. He also rushed for 90 yards on 17 carries and a touchdown.
“Our O-line does a great job of getting Westen to the second level, but once he gets there he does a lot of things to make it a bigger play than it originally is,” said Watkins.
With the win, the Tigers will face Lubbock Estacado at 8 p.m. Friday night at Abilene Christian University in Abilene.
The Matadors (9-3), the District 2-4A runner-up, earned their meeting with the District 4-4A champion Tigers with a 46-30 win over Graham last Friday. Cameron Rollison and Jeremiah recorded 224 rushing yards apiece. Estacada, which has won seven of their last eight games, is averaging 260.8 yards per game on the ground and 121.9 through the air.
In the win over Dalhart, Davis Shackelford, who has 882 receiving yards on the season, had four catches for 126 yards and two scores, while Harrison Hawkins had four receptions for 98 yards and a score.
Behind the offensive line of Zach Powell, Hayden Shaw, Ty Smith, Isaac Navarrete, Saul Delgado and Max Matheny, the Tigers racked up a season-high 686 yards total offense (419 rushing, 267 passing).
For Shackelford, it was his fourth game of the season with 100 or more yards receiving.
“We had guys who made plays when their numbers were called,” Watkins said.
The two teams traded scores in the opening minutes. The Tigers led 22-18 thanks to a 47-yard run from Halcom, a 59-yard pass from Griffin to Shackelford and a 75-yard Halcom run.
The Tigers got a stop with an interception by Coby Riley, and four plays later, Griffin hit Hawkins with a 74-yard strike for the first of four consecutive Glen Rose touchdowns.
Griffin later added a 13-yard run to push the score to 36-18, and following a Dalhart punt, the Tigers put together their longest drive of the night (13 plays) and Shackelford scored on a 12-yard pass from Griffin to increase the lead to 43-18.
Glen Rose sophomore Austin Worthen intercepted the first of two passes on the night late in the second quarter, and on the first play after the turnover, Halcom busted off his 63-yard touchdown run. The Wolves scored right before the half to cut the lead to 50-26.
Halcom added runs of 10 and 1 yards in the second half.
“When we can get a fast start and get people back on their heels, Westen does an incredible job of finding the crease and then hitting it and being hard to bring down,” Watkins said.
Defensively, Braylen Meador led the Tigers, who created three turnovers, with 23 tackles while Ricky Douglas, Shackelford and Bryan Pounds had 12 each and River Costello and Worthen had 11 and nine stops, respectively. Keegan Bunt, Cory Aper and Pounds recorded sacks.
“On defense, we had some guys step up and make some plays when we had to have it,” Watkins said. “We created turnovers and that’s huge. If we can score like we’ve been able to and then get turnovers then that gives us extra possessions and then we can separate.”