Del Valle Looks Like Playoff Contender After Win Over Austin High
What was supposed to be a turning point in Austin High’s season just set them back farther. Coming off of two tough matchups against Westlake and Lake Travis the hardships continued as the Del Valle Cardinals triumphed over the Auston High Maroons in a 77-34 win. An important win for the Cardinals as they are now in a battle with Bowie High School for the 4th playoff spot.
Del Valle received the ball to start the game, looking to take over the trenches Del Valle ran the ball on its first two plays. After that did not work they took to the air picking up a pair of first downs. From there it gets harder as Austin's defense stiffened up and denied them a 3rd down conversion near midfield.
Looking to seize early momentum the Austin Maroons had a chance to go up one score and they did. The drive was highlighted by a 25-yard catch and run by senior captain Colby Kalbacher and a 13-yard rush by senior running back Grayson Davis. Capping off the drive quarterback Charles Wright threw a 25-yard touchdown to Jaxon Rush.
Del Valle down by a score came back with more vigor this time around. They would have scored on their first play if it was not for a shoestring tackle by defensive back Deigo Rosales saving a big-play touchdown. Del Valle came straight back to the wide receiver screen, this time Austin was not as lucky. Senior Darius Lewis turned on the jets burning the Austin secondary for a 62-yard touchdown to tie up the game.
Austin High's offense came right back on the field but did not take the momentum with them as they went 3 and out. After a well placed quick kick, Del Valle found themselves in tough field position inside their 10-yard line. Del Valle placed together a methodical drive that ended in a touchdown giving them a one score lead. Highlighted by a big 3rd down conversion, in which junior quarterback Jace Wilson fired a 75-yard dart to Cyronn Miller.
Both teams made plays before the half, including a 5-yard touchdown run by Cardinal running back Tavvierre Dunlap. A 6-yard touchdown run by Caleb Barton to solidify the Cardinal lead, as well as a 5-yard touchdown pass to Caleb Burton. The Cardinals also made a big defensive play forcing and recovering a fumble as well as returning it to the house. Austin had their fair share of big plays as Grayson Davis pushed the pile forward for a touchdown run. Both Xavier Otems and John Colunga added on a sack on the last drive, setting the Cardinals offense up for a failed 4th down conversion. At the end of the half, the score was 13-34 Cardinals were up.
Austin had lost their fundamentals as the game went on. In the 1st quarter, Austin's wide receiver blocking was on point, especially on the first drive. A lot of their offense relies on running back and wide receiver screens which relies on wide receiver blocking. When this fell through the floor it made it a lot harder for the offense to move the ball. On the defensive side of the ball, their tackling ability steadily decreased. On the first drive, the ball carrier was instantly wrapped up and very few tackles were missed. From then on tackles were both broken and missed. If Austin had kept these two fundamentals strong through the game it may have been a different turnout.
The second half continued the way the second quarter went. Head coach Charles Burton's Del Valle Cardinals offense would not be stopped as they broke big play after big play. Austin's offense did put up a couple of scores, though the game had already been decided. As it would stand, Austin's offense was not able to match the number of points Del Valle put up, however the offense did not have a bad day.
Charles Wright threw for 268 yards and two touchdowns, but what we should really be talking about is Grayson Davis. The bell-cow running back put up yet another stunning game as he rushed for 191 yards and three touchdowns adding on 37 yards and a touchdown through the air. Though he had been contained against Westlake and Lake Travis he is returning to his true self.
In the end, Del Valle separated itself from Austin ultimately taking home a victory as well as a hope at the playoffs. As of right now, Del Valle is in a competition with the injury-plagued Bowie for the 4th playoff spot behind Westlake, Lake Travis, and Hays.
Article by River Tompkins, written for Texas Sports Monthly