SEYMOUR â€” Itâ€™s hard to catch Garden City head coach Vance Jones without a smile on his face after the Bearkatsâ€™ games.
It was no different after his team thwarted Follett 59-14 by halftime in the UIL Six-Man Division I semifinal in Seymour Saturday night.
Then again, it hasnâ€™t been different for the last 28 games.
â€śIâ€™m still soaking it in,â€ť Jones said, clinching his sixth trip to a state title game and ensuring the Bearkats a chance to win a second consecutive title next week. â€śThis is outstanding. Iâ€™m still on Cloud 9.â€ť
That same feeling surrounded the Bearkats as their 28th consecutive victory clinched a berth in the state championship game against Throckmorton at 7 p.m. Saturday at Shotwell Stadium in Abilene.
Far from what last yearâ€™s playoff matchup was like between Garden City and Follett, the Bearkats were overbearing on the offensive side of the ball with Josh Colungaâ€™s 10 carries for 170 yards and one touchdown and Blayne Batlaâ€™s five touchdown passes.
An injured Cole Freeman, a fumble recovery by Garden Cityâ€™s Frankie Zuniga at the 3:03 mark in the second quarter and an onside kick recovery by the Bearkats after a Reggie Halfmann touchdown with 2:05 left in the second was Follettâ€™s undoing.
The final score may be a bit surprising to some though. Last year when these two teams met, it was a back-and-forth affair. This year, Follett couldnâ€™t keep up on offense and Garden City forced the Panthers to punt four times in the first and only half.
â€śI thought it was going to be a little closer than it was,â€ť Colunga said. â€śWe didnâ€™t expect to 45 them at the half. But thatâ€™s how we play. We just try to get it one play at a time, score every drive and our defense stepped up this week.â€ť
Garden City was already up 44-14 when Zuniga recovered a fumble that dropped into his hands, leading to the Halfmann score. After the onside kick was successful, Batlaâ€™s 33-yard touchdown pass to Brett Chudej and Colungaâ€™s run on the point after try put the Bearkats up by 45, enacting the mercy rule if it got to halftime.View more articles in: