DIBOLL, Tx - The phrase 'headed to State' and the Carthage Bulldog football team have often gone hand-in-hand in the past five years. After claiming the state title during 'fall ball' in three of the past four years, the 2012 edition of the Dawgs is already making a name for itself.
After falling in its first pool game here at Lumberjack Stadium Saturday afternoon, the Bulldogs overcame 94-degree temperatures and its next three opponents to claim one of the automatic state qualifying spots at the Diboll 7-on-7 Tournament.
Carthage blanked former District 16-3A rival Gilmer, 18-0, in one championship game as Sammy Chhor made a key 'pick 6' to open the second half after CHS had built a 6-0 lead at the half.
Diboll, who like Carthage finished second in its pool with a 2-1 record, overcame a 14-12 deficit at the half and trailed 30-28 to San Augustine late before scoring a touchdown to claim the other automatic bid with a 34-30 victory.
Carthage dropped a tough 41-34 decision to eventual Pool 'B' champion San Augustine, but then roared back to claim one of the two Pool 'B' spots in the championship round by blowing past Crockett, 47-6, and Shelbyville, 41-13.
"The kids did a great job today and showed a tremendous amount of resilience by coming back after losing that first pool game," said Bulldog head coach Scott Surratt after watching the competition. "It was great to watch us play such great defense in the championship game, shutting out Gilmer.
"San Augustine is a talented ballclub and played a great game against us early. But I was proud at the way we turned up our play on defense by only allowing six and 13 points in our final two pool games and then getting the shutout in the championship."
San Augustine rolled to a perfect Pool 'B' record of 3-0, knocking off Shelbyville, 30-20, and Crockett, 46-14, in addition to Carthage.
Gilmer was a perfect 3-0 in Pool 'A' heading into the title game, topping Trinity, 35-20, Diboll, 27-13, and Huntington, 47-21.
But Diboll, who recorded wins over Huntington, 39-13, and Trinity, 26-13, to take the runner-up spot in Pool 'A', joined Carthage as the two teams that proved that it's not how a team begins play, but how they finish.
Gilmer was a team the Bulldogs have been wanting since the Buckeyes handed the Dawgs a 39-36 loss during District 16-3A last fall for Carthage's only league loss.
After falling to San Augustine in the opener, Carthage players continued to talk about getting another chance at Gilmer and used that incentive to get to the title round.
In the contest against the Bucs, Neither team was able to generate much offense in the first half. Carthage junior-to-be quarterback Blake Bogenschutz connected with Okeeron Rutherford for a long pass n the first half, but on the next play Major Harris couldn't haul in a pass in traffic and it was batted around before being picked off in the endzone.
After a strong defensive series by the Bulldog defense shortly before the half, Tee Goree caught a 22-yard scoring toss from Bogenschutz on the final play of the half to put Carthage up 6-0 at the break.
Then on the third play of the second half, Chhor stepped in front of an intended receiver to grab the interception for CHS and he returned it 13 yards for a score. The point after failed, but the Bulldogs led 12-0.
Carthage linebacker Trent Jackson nearly intercepted two passes in the second half to help the Dawgs' defensive charge.
Then with the clock running down in the game, Chhor caught a 5-yard pass from Bogenschutz to put the final nail in the coffin.
Carthage and Diboll will participate at Texas A&M University in College Station at the Texas Division II State Tournament on July 19-20.
Diboll State Qualifying Tournament
Diboll 39, Huntington 13
Gilmer 35, Trinity 20
Gilmer 27, Diboll 13
Trinity 45, Huntington 20
Diboll 26, Trinity 13
Gilmer 47, Huntington 21
San Augustine 41, Carthage 34
Crockett 33, Shelbyville 21
Carthage 47, Crockett 6
San Augustine 30, Shelbyville 20
Carthage 41, Shelbyville 13
San Augustine 46, Crockett 14
Carthage (3-1) 18, Gilmer (3-1) 0
Diboll (3-1) 34, San Augustine (3-1) 30
(Carthage & Diboll Qualify for State)
|Diboll SQT Pool Standings|
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