Photo by Ace Acosta/El Paso Herald Post
MIDLAND, Texas – Wichita Falls forced five Parkland turnovers, and put up 28 unanswered points in the second half, turning a 14-14 game at halftime into a 42-14 blowout in the Class 5A DII area round at Grande Communications Stadium.
The win puts the Coyotes in the 5A DII regional semifinal against their arch-rival Rider and gives them their first area round title since 2013 when they beat Canutillo. The Coyotes improve to 5-7 on the season with the big upset win over previously undefeated Parkland.
The Coyotes jumped out to a 14-0 lead after junior quarterback Zy Gravitt threw a pair of touchdown passes in the first quarter, the second went to Tre McKenzie from 41-yards out giving Old High a 14-0 lead with 2:44 left in the opening quarter.
Jonathan Barton would run in a short touchdown run to cap a 5-play 75-yard drive for Parkland, the Mats cut the lead in half trailing 14-7 with 1:39 left in the first quarter. Barton would cap off another drive with another short run for a score, and the game went into the halftime break tied at 14.
Parkland would fumble on their first second half possession while driving into Coyote territory, and from there the Wichita Falls offensive line took over and Parkland never showed any signs of life.
The Coyotes pounded away at Parkland in the second half, as Cameron Gould would finish a 13-play 70-yard drive with a 12-yard score on the ground making it 21-14 Wichita Falls with 6:09 left in the third quarter.
Gould found the end zone again on the Coyotes next drive after a Parkland turnover on downs and Old High led 28-14 with 1:52 left in the third.
Gravitt threw for 197 yards and three touchdowns, his third of the night went to McKinney with 10:32 left in the fourth quarter to extend the lead to 35-14.
Parkland just could not find any rhythm on offense, and Gabe Herrera was pressured all night. Herrera would be sacked on the Matadors third possession of the second half, as he was sacked, he fumbled, and Tyson Whiteside picked up and went 14-yards for a score putting this one out reach.
The Matadors could not stop the running duo of Brycen Vialpando, and Cameron Gould. Vialpando ran for 95 yards on 20 carries, Gould carried 14 times for 67 yards and two touchdowns.
Wichita Falls ran for 193 yards and averaged 4.1 yards per carry in the game.
McKenzie caught five passes for 109 yards and two touchdowns, Wichita Falls out gained Parkland 390-357. Parkland also had a costly special team miscue as they could secure a squib quick, leading to a scoring drive from Wichita Falls High.
Parkland’s season ends at 11-1.