Uncharted territory

Farmers rout Indians, prepare to play Eagles for Region 1 title


Ruben Plascencia

Senior Xavier Lewis (11) sprints past an Arlington Martin defender during the game on Friday, Nov. 18. The Farmers won 10-0.

For the first time since its 1996 state championship run, the varsity football team (12-1) is advancing past the third round of the playoffs. A blowout victory over the Keller Indians (10-3) sets the team up to play against Prosper (12-1), who is coming off of a 35-21 victory over previously undefeated North Crowley (12-1). The winner will become the 6A Division 1 Region 1 Champion and will play the winner of Duncanville-Westfield in the semifinals.

Prosper’s offense is headlined by a potent passing attack thanks to senior quarterback Harrison Rosar who threw for 299 passing yards and five touchdowns against North Crowley. His top target has been senior wide receiver Hunter Summers, who has 63 catches for 1,080 yards on the season. Summers, who spent most of his time on offense, has also recorded two tackles and an interception while playing cornerback. 

“What they’ve shown is the ability to pass the ball quickly and get it in their playmakers hands,” defensive coordinator Stu Johnson said. “Our goal is to slow the run game down, but also to be able to have tight coverage against the pass.”

The Eagles defense is loaded with talent as a result of added depth from an undefeated 2021 JV team. Senior outside linebacker Adam Due leads the team in total tackles and tackles for loss, and his late game interception last Saturday sealed the victory against North Crowley. Senior defensive back Carson McClendon’s four interceptions lead the team while junior linebacker Jonah McClendon is one of three Eagles to record over 10 tackles for loss so far this season. 

“They like to blitz a lot on that defense,” senior center Scotty Parker said. We’re gonna pick up their backers fast and quickly.”

Senior defensive end Dylan Hinshaw further bolsters a strong front seven, as his eight sacks lead the team this season. While lined up as a tight end, Hinshaw has reeled in seven touchdowns over the course of the season.

“They’re not as big as us, but they’re pretty quick and they’re physical with their hands,” junior guard Devin Love said.

The 43-3 rout of Keller was the team’s largest margin of victory all season. Junior quarterback Ethan Terrell led the team in rushing with 141 yards on 11 carries and two scores. Junior running back Viron Ellison scored the same on 22 carries for 94 yards. The success on the ground aided the offense, as scattered showers reached Choctaw Stadium in the second half.

“When the pass game’s not working, especially in the rain or the cold, the best thing you can do is run the ball,” Love said.

The team’s defense was the true catalyst for the blowout win, suffocating any scoring opportunity the Indians had after senior kicker Garrett Martin’s 41-yard field goal on Keller’s opening drive. Senior quarterback Tre Guerra only completed six of his 25 pass attempts, and junior cornerback Tony-Louis Nkuba intercepted a pass by Guerra early in the fourth quarter, returning it 100 yards to extend the Farmers lead. 

“When you take his skills and the work that he’s put in these last few years [and] combine that with his mindset on the field, that’s exactly what you look for in a cornerback,” Johnson said about Nkuba.

Earlier in the game, senior cornerback Caden Jenkins blocked a 46-yard field goal attempt which would be recovered by his brother, senior cornerback Cameren Jenkins, and returned to the Keller 36-yard line. 

“[Cameren] opened up the whole for me to get past and block the field goal,” Jenkins said. “We practice that almost every day.”

One of the biggest edges for the team is its depth. Late in the game against Keller, the team’s backup offense found its way into the endzone as freshman running back Tenel Hill recorded his first touchdown on varsity. The defense then slowed down Kellers’s starting offense, ultimately forcing a turnover on downs to end the drive. 

“We’ve focused on making sure that our No. 2’s get meaningful reps, whether that’s in game or in practice,” Johnson said. “They’ve shown that with their resiliency.”

While Prosper has reached the Region 1 finals in four consecutive years, the Farmers hadn’t seen this level of success since current head football coach Michael Odle donned the maroon and white himself during the team’s 1996 state championship season. Should the team defeat Prosper, the players will have to prove themselves against one or two of the nations top teams in No. 8 North Shore, No. 9 Austin Westlake, and No. 11 Duncanville. With a “we want Westlake” chant breaking out on the sideline last week, it’s clear that a consensus state championship projection has been decided by the team.