MARBLE FALLS — The Wildcats proved to be unstoppable Saturday night during their 2019 playoff opener.
New Braunfels Christian Academy (10-1), which received a first-round bye as a district champion, rolled up 531 yards of offense during an 82-47 rout of Abilene Christian at Marble Falls Faith Academy. Head coach Josh Wood’s ballclub put the hammer down in the final stanza, shutting out the Panthers 22-0 to help secure a spot in the TAPPS Six-Man Division II state semifinals this week.
Senior running back Luke Bales had another monster outing, as he rushed for 330 yards and six touchdowns on 25 carries in addition to hauling in two passes for 60 yards and a score.
“Proud of the way we competed,” Wood said. “Our guys blocked so well for Luke Bales all night.”
Wood said that offensive linemen Drew Campbell, Cort Koehler and Jadon Grimsley, fullback Gavin Kelly and tight quarterback Mason Grimsley controlled Abilene Christian’s front and was able to open lanes for Bales, who took full advantage of the open spaces.
Spread quarterback Rett Elrod was 8 of 13 passing for 153 yards and four TDs. Mason Lemme had four catches for 57 yards and two scores, while Brady Hines compiled 33 yards and a TD on a pair of receptions.
Hampton McCollum posted a 26-yard TD grab as well that was thrown by Jackson Austin.
Defensively, NBCA saw Campbell and Hines each record eight total tackles. Lemme notched an interception and added six stops, while Kelly made five tackles.
New Braunfels Christian senior E.J. Easterly provided a momentum shift when he registered a tackle for loss on a fourth-and-goal play in the contest that resulted in an immediate turnover on downs. Baxter Peabody also made an impact by recovering an Abilene Christian fumble.
The Wildcats are set to travel to Temple this Friday for a noon showdown against Conroe Covenant Christian. The game is set to be played at Holy Trinity Catholic School.
The winner advances to face either Watauga Harvest Christian or Bryan Allen Academy in the state championship.