Written by SportsDayDFW.com
Navasota runs away with 3A Div. II crown, caps 16-0 season
ARLINGTON — Senior wide receiver Austin Collins scored three touchdowns to lead unbeaten Navasota to a 39-3 win over Gilmer in the Class 3A Division II championship game at Cowboys Stadium.
Collins, selected the offensive MVP after carrying four times for 96 yards and catching three passes for 64 yards, said injured teammate Xavier Creeks inspired him Friday.
“Every yard I gained, every yard we gained was for him,” Collins said of Creeks, Navasota’s leading rusher who suffered a broken leg in an auto accident early Thursday morning near College Station.
Collins caught two touchdown passes from Kadarius Baker in the first half for Navasota (16-0). But it was his 82-yard touchdown run at 4:01 of the third quarter that took the wind out of Gilmer’s sails.
“Everybody knew No. 2 was going to run that counter,” said Gilmer coach Jeff Traylor of Collins, who took a shotgun snap from his own 18-yard line, faked two handoffs and raced up the middle untouched, outrunning the Gilmer secondary to the end zone.
“We told our kids we had a chance if we could hold them at 26, maybe even 33,” Traylor said. “But that play was the turning point.”
Three plays earlier, defensive lineman Jake Bauer stopped Gilmer quarterback Tanner Barr inches short of the end zone on fourth-and-goal from the 2, forcing a fumble that squirted through the end zone for a touchback.
It was a frustrating end to a 16-play, 44-yard drive that took 6:42 off the third-quarter clock and included three fourth-down conversions.
From that point on, Navasota’s front seven re-established control. Most valuable defensive player Jordan Wells led the way with 10 tackles, including six for losses, as Navasota held Gilmer to 162 yards in total offense.