ELKHART – Four games, four wins for the Sabine High School Cardinals, who head to their open date next weekend a perfect 4-0.
Sabine took it to Elkhart, 35-12, on Friday night, the Cardinals’ second straight win over a previously-unbeaten team (Harleton a week ago). Coach Rex Sharp’s Sabine squad take the week off on Sept. 27 to catch their breath, then begin District 8-3A, Division I play at Tatum on Friday, Oct. 4.
Neither Sabine nor Elkhart did much on opening possessions, and Sabine’s Brannigan Willige helped end the Elks’ drive with an interception. Sabine quarterback Landon McKinney jump-started the offense with a 39-yard completion into Elkhart territory as the first quarter expired.
It didn’t take Sabine long into the second quarter to score: McKinney did it on the first play, a 30-yard run. Fernando Jaimes tacked on the extra point and gave the Cards a 7-0 lead.
Elkhart punched right back – tailback R.J. Moore got free for a 33-yard score of his own, but a missed extra point left the Elks trailing, 7-6.
The Cardinals went back to the ground game, with McKinney and tailback B.J. Stidham. McKinney rattled off two 18-yard runs, and then Stidham scored on a 27-yarder. Again, Jaimes was good on the point after, and the Cardinals led, 14-6.
Elkhart did score on its next possession, a dynamic 45-yard pass from Cade Starr to Messiah Birdow, but the Elks missed the two-point conversion, and would not score again in the game.
The Sabine offense went back to work with just under two minutes left in the half, and in three plays – one of which was a 35-yard pass to Weston Pritchard – McKinney ran 6 yards for the half time score of 21-12.
Sabine’s defense forced a turnover on downs on Elkhart’s first possession of the second half, giving the offense the ball on the Elks’ side of the field.
McKinney passed to A.J. Gresham for a yard gain, then ran for 18. He took the final 2 yards for the touchdown and a 28 -12 lead.
In the fourth quarter, McKinney did throw a long interception to end a drive, but it was just as good as a punt. After taking over on a fourth-down fail by Elkhart, the Cardinal offense had a short field.
Kole Stripland, in for Stidham, took the handoff and bounced off tackles for a 29-yard touchdown and the final score of the night.
McKinney ended the night with 129 yards through the air and 114 on the ground with the three touchdowns. Stidham had 58 yards and a touchdown. Pritchard had 42 yards receiving and Gresham had 34.
Brent Warren, Carter Patterson, Asher Foster, and Kayden Manning led the defense in another great effort.