EMORY — The Whitesboro rushing attack propelled the Bearcats into the third round for just the second time in school history as it averaged nearly eight yards per carry in a 64-39 victory against Jefferson in a Class 3A Division I Region II area round game at Emory Rains on Friday afternoon.
Scout Sanders scored four times and threw a touchdown pass and Brooks Barker ran for 134 yards and two touchdowns on 14 carries as Whitesboro (9-3), which ran 53 times for 418 yards, had a school record for playoff points and produced the most points overall since a 64-14 victory against Frisco Lone Star in the second week of the 2011 season.
The Bearcats are in the region semifinals for the only other time since 2014 and will face Grandview (11-1) at 7 p.m. on Friday at Justin Northwest ISD Stadium. It is also the third time Whitesboro has won nine games in a season, matching 1948 and one behind the school record 10 in 2013.
Jefferson (10-2) couldn’t keep pace in the shootout despite Trey Hodge throwing for 275 yards and four touchdowns.
Whitesboro forced a punt and then opened the scoring with a 66-yard run by Weston Hickman on the second play from scrimmage.
Sanders had a one-yard touchdown run three minutes later and Whitesboro held a 14-0 lead.
Hodge put the Bulldogs on the board with a 25-yard touchdown pass to T.Q. Jackson.
Sanders restored the two-touchdown lead with a four-yard TD run.
Whitesboro took a 28-7 advantage when Barker blocked a punt and Brent Riddle returned it 15 yards for the score.
Jefferson responded as Dee Black scored a 25-yard run as the high-scoring first quarter ended.
The Bulldogs then forced the only Whitesboro punt of the day and Jefferson started near midfield. The drive quickly made it to the red zone and Hodge found Jackson from the 13 to make it a one-possession game.
The margin ballooned to 42-20 when Whitesboro got a 45-yard TD run from Barker followed by an 11-yard touchdown run from Sanders.
But Black closed out the scoring in the first half by returning the kickoff 55 yards and the Bearcats carries the 42-27 advantage to the third quarter.
Whitesboro pushed its lead to 30 points when Hickman caught a 71-yard touchdown pass and then the quarterback finished off another drive with a one-yard TD run. Hickman finished with 141 yards from scrimmage.
Jefferson tried to get back in the game with another Hodge-to-Jackson touchdown pass, this time from 49 yards, but Whitesboro continued to pile up points. Jackson totaled 127 yards on eight catches.
Nolan Frith, who finished with 14 carries for 114 yards, and Barker keyed the final Whitesboro scoring drive that Barker capped with a five-yard run with 9:24 remaining.
Hodge had his final TD throw with a 56-yarder to Kepha Luster.