By ROB LUDWIG / Special To The Corsicana Sun —
Navarro’s football season ended on Saturday much in the same way it thrived in 2014.
The leading rushing team in the nation found itself victimized by Tyler’s ground game in the second half of the Southwest Junior College Football Conference semifinal, falling 70-52 at Tiger Stadium.
Navarro (7-3) was down 35-32 entering the fourth period, but the Apaches scored 35 points in the final stanza, taking advantage of great field position and a rushing attack that continually hammered the Bulldog defense.
Tyler started five of its eight second-half drives in Navarro territory, recording touchdowns on seven of those series and missing a field goal on the other.
The 8-2 Apaches, who will play at Trinity Valley next Saturday for the SWJCFC championship, passed the ball only five times in the final 30 minutes. Instead, Tyler pounded away with its running game, averaging 12.6 yards per carry while racking up 378 yards.
Running back Chaston Bennett, who had only two carries in the first half, rushing for 223 yards and four touchdowns on 14 totes in the second half. Two of those scores came in the fourth period when Tyler outscored Navarro 35-20 and prevented the Bulldogs from mounting a significant rally.
Navarro sophomore Ke’Aun Kinner concluded his stellar final season as a Bulldog by rushing for 267 yards on 30 carries, scoring on runs of 78, 9 and 22 yards. Kinner had 164 yards in the first half as Navarro built a 24-21 lead.
But with Tyler continually benefitting from a short field and its powerful running attack, the Bulldogs were forced to go to the air to keep pace. Quarterback Carson Earp who rushed for one score and passed for another in the first half, struggled at times throwing the ball as Tyler blanketed Navarro’s receivers. Earp managed a 26-yard TD pass to Josh Simmons and a 75-yarder to Zach Berryman in the fourth period, completed only four of his final 14 passes
Saturday’s semifinal featured a series single-game record with a combined 122 points, 153 offensive plays (91 rushing and 62 passing), 1,336 yards offense, 1,601 total yards, 11 scoring plays of 30 yards or more, and 13 of 20-plus yardage.
The Bulldogs’ season ended one game short of an eighth consecutive SWJCFC Championship appearance. Still, sophomores like Kinner, Earp and kicking specialist Carlos Macias made their places in Navarro football history.
Kinner finished his 10-game sophomore season with 253-1696-26, with single-season record rankings of second in carries and rushing yardage, and first in per-game average (169.6). His career totals stack up as 277-1918-26, where he ranks third in yardage, ninth in carries and tied for first with Tim Wright in rushing TDs.
Earp’s 10-game totals for 2014 end at 148-249-2011-19-7,and push his two-year career marks to 208-367-2825-26-7. Careerwise, Earp finishes third in completions, and fourth in attempts, yardage, TD passes and completion percentage (56.1).
Macias, the Daingerfield sophomore, had 8 points from a 34-yard field goal and 5-of-6 conversions Saturday, lifting his single-season kick-scoring mark to 87 points from 8-of-8 field goal tries and 63-of-66 conversions. In two seasons here, Macias totaled a kick-scoring record 186 points from 129-of-133 conversions and a perfect 19-of-19 on field-goal attempts.
Tyler 70, Navarro 52
SCORING BY QUARTERS:
Tyler 7 14 14 35 — 70
Navarro 3 21 8 20 — 52
N: Carlos Macias 34 FG
T: Ryan Parker 39 pass from Sedarian Copeland (Ljundrim Kaba kick)
N: Carson Earp 3 run (Macias kick)
T: Parker 13 pass from Copeland (Kaba kick)
N: Josh Simmons 45 pass from Earp (Macias kick)
N: Ke’Aun Kinner 78 run (Macias kick)
T: Parker 68 pass from Copeland (Kaba kick)
T: Chaston Bennett 36 run (Kaba kick)
T: Bennett 73 run (Kaba kick)
N: Kinner 9 run (Calvin Jones run)
T: Bennett 9 run (Kaba kick)
N: Kinner 22 run (Macias kick)
T: Muse 1 run (Kaba kick)
N: Simmons 26 pass from Earp (kick failed)
T: Ken Burks 45 run (Kaba kick)
T: Bennett 35 run (Kaba kick)
T: Muse 33 run (Kaba kick)
N: Zach Berryman 75 pass from Earp (Macias kick)
YARDSTICK T N
First Downs 24 29
Rush-yards 41-461 50-368
Passing yards 199 306
C-A-I 16-25-1 18-37-1
Fumbles-lost 1-0 0-0
Punts-avg. 3-33 3-34
Penalties 11-120 5-40
Rushing — T: Sedarian Copeland 5-40, Chaston Bennett 16-235, Tyler Taylor 2-21, Ken Burks 8-92, Tevin Muse 10-73; N: Ke’Aun Kinner 30-267, Carson Earp 10-50, Kijana Amous 10-51.
Passing — T: Copeland 14-20-0-286, Muse 2-5-0-13, Kaba 1-1-0-35; N: Earp 18-37-1-306.
Receiving — T: Willie Robinson 3-37, Ryan Parker 3-120, Hartsfield 5-16, Taylor 4-23, Bennett 1-3; N: Edwin Mims 3-30, Josh Simmons 4-85, JaBryce Taylor 3-66, Zach Berryman 5-105, Kinner 2-1, Amous 1-19.