Navasota wins first-ever state championship
ARLINGTON, Texas – Even with a big piece of the Navasota offense missing, the Rattlers were overpowering, steamrolling Gilmer with a flurry of first half points to capture the 3A Division II State Championship 39-3. It is Navasota's first state title and its first trip to the championship game in 24 years.
Missing running back Xavier Creeks, who broke his leg in a car accident Thursday, the Rattlers offense had trouble with the pressure of Gilmer's defense and went three and out on their first two drives. On Navasota's third drive, it turned to the screen pass to dull the rush, first to Howard Horn for 24 yards and then two plays later to Austin Collins, who turned it into a 51 yard touchdown.
Those two plays seemed to sap the life out of Gilmer's defense and the Buckeyes were helpless to stop the Rattlers the rest of the first half.
Navasota scored on its next three possessions, first it was quarterback Kadarius Baker on a two-yard run, then Derrion Randall broke free for a 52-yard touchdown scamper. Collins snared his second touchdown catch to end the scoring in the first half on a diving four yard reception to put the Rattlers up 26-3 at the break.
In Creek's absence, Navasota used a host of runners to make up for the lost production. Four backs carried the ball for the Rattlers in the first half, rushing for 142 yards and a pair of scores while averaging 8.9 yards per carry.
Gilmer's tried to rally in the second half, recovering a surprise onside kick at the start of the third quarter. The Buckeyes then went on a 16-play drive, eating up more than six minutes and faced a 4th-and-goal at the Navasota two-yard line. Quarterback Tanner Barr tried to run it in but fumbled inside the one yard line. The ball bounced out of the back of the end zone for a touchback.
Three plays later, Collins kept the ball out of the wildcat formation and sprinted 81 yards for a touchdown, sealing the win for Navasota.