By Jim Irish
No opponent has stopped Bastrop Tribe running back Joshua McAlister this season.
The 5-foot-11, 165-pound junior powered through the Brazos Valley Christian Mustangs for 222 yards on 17 carries and scored all six touchdowns in a Texas Association of Independent Athletic Organizations (TAIAO) Division II six-man state semifinal victory 46-0 Saturday at Barry Field in Smithville.
The game was halted after the first drive in the third quarter — a 42-yard touchdown run by McAlister — because of the 45-point mercy rule.
Tribe in position to compete first unbeaten season in its history
Tribe (12-0) has an opportunity to complete its first undefeated season in the DII final against Gloria Deo at Allen Academy in Bryan at 6 p.m. on Saturday.
Tribe had its string of four TAIAO state titles stopped last year by St. Stephen of Austin.
All of McAlister’s runs were directed to the right side “because we never needed to counter left,” Tribe coach Brent Golemon said.
Brazos Valley (8-4) stuffed the box with all six players in an attempt to thwart McAlister.
“And they still couldn’t stop us,” Golemon said.
Brazos Valley coach Howard Tipton said his squad was partially successful in stopping McAlister, whose longest touchdown was 56 yards in the first quarter.
“The problem was we were successful for three plays, and one would get away from us,” Tipton said.
“(Tribe) is always a great team, a well-coached team, probably our greatest rivalry, probably the hardest game of the season,” he added.
Brazos Valley played without its primary offensive weapon, running back Seth Jackson, who fractured his tibia in the previous playoff contest. Jackson finished the season with 2,179 yards rushing and 35 touchdowns.
“Seth is a machine,” Tipton said. “He has a lot of heart. We built our offense kind of around him. With Seth, we relied on speed and getting outside.”
Tribe quarterback Chandler Golemon completed 1-of-2 passes for 18 yards to Chris Conner. The other was intercepted for Tribe’s only turnover of the game. Golemon also gained 25 yards rushing on three attempts.
Golemon led a dominating defense with nine tackles. Chuy Gonzales chipped in seven tackles. Brazos Valley finished with two first downs but was 0-for-12 on third- and fourth-down conversions.
Gloria Deo (8-3) of Bulverde relies on running back Davis Chandler with 1,486 yards rushing and 30 touchdowns. Quarterback Cameron Playford has completed 65% of his passes for 1,058 yards. He has 19 TD passes and only one interception.
"(Gloria Deo) will have its hands full."
-- Bastrop Tribe coach Brent Golemon
Gloria Deo edged Smoking for Jesus Ministry Christian School 34-32 in the other DII
semifinal. Golemon said he scouted that game.
“(Gloria Deo) will have its hands full,” said Golemon about the final.
Jim Irish is a freelance writer living in Bastrop, Texas