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2A-DII Region 1 features Gruver vs. Wellington and Stratford vs. Wink this Friday

Published: Nov. 24, 2021 at 11:55 PM CST
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AMARILLO, Texas (KFDA) - The Regional Semifinal round of high school football kicks off this Friday after Thanksgiving. Eight teams remain and are thankful to be in the gold ball chase including three of the four left in the 2A-DII Region 1: Gruver, Wellington and Stratford.

The Gruver Greyhounds (10-1) and Wellington Skyrockets (8-3) meet again in playoffs. Last year, Wellington won 30-0, knocking Gruver out after the first round.

“Means a lot because they kicked us out last year and we want to do what they did to us last year,” said Edgar Lopez, Gruver senior fullback and inside linebacker.

This season, the Greyhounds have already been denied a chance at revenge.

“Excited because we didn’t get a chance at them the first time,” said Mason Gibson, Gruver senior quarterback. “It got rained out, so looking forward to the rematch.”

Gruver’s second-year head coach Lee Brandon is very familiar with Wellington’s offense and defense.

“It’s kind of funny,” said Brandon. “I coached in Wellington for seven years before I came up here, so there’s a lot of things we do that are very similar to what they do and vice versa.”

The Greyhounds and Skyrockets run a wing-T offense. The main difference is that Gruver will throw a few passes.

“They have a lot of backs and they have a lot of kids that carry the ball,” said Greg Proffitt, Wellington football head coach. “We know that we’ve got to stop the run game. At the same time, they’re going to take some shots in the passing game.”

“Oh I got a bunch of talent around me,” said Gibson. “Colton, number 7, he’s a go-to. We got height at our tight end, 6′4″. Our running backs are talented as well. They can go out there and catch the ball anytime.”

Wellington’s offense focuses on the linemen opening up gaps for mostly running back Marc Ramirez.

“I mean run hard, find holes, break tackles and that’s about it,” said Ramirez. “Hold on to the ball too.”

“They’re going to be more foot-to-foot splits, a little bit tighter, they’re going to stay in wing-T and they’re really going to try to run right at you. You can know what’s coming,” said Brandon. “It’s just a matter of can you stop it.”

Wellington and Gruver kickoff on Friday at 4 p.m. in Happy State Bank Stadium. Tickets can be purchased online or card only at the gate.

Also in 2A-DII Region 1, The Stratford Elks face a tough challenge against the Wink Wildcats. Stratford’s explosive offense is led by senior quarterback Cody Rinne and wide receiver Dru Jones. Last week, they accounted for three touchdowns together helping the Elks defeat Seagraves 48-3.

In 12 games played this season, the Elks have allowed two teams to surpass 14 points. This Friday’s game will be a battle between the Elks’ dominant defense and Wink’s balanced offense led by dual-threat quarterback Kanon Gibson. Stratford’s defensive dominance starts in the trenches, and they’ll look to slow down Gibson and his favorite aerial target Brayden Dunlap.

”Kanon Gibson is the Wink quarterback, and it’s Coach Gibson’s son. Man he runs that offense really, really well,” said Lovorn. “Like I said he’s a dual-threat quarterback. I tell you he’s got a really good arm. We just put a huge emphasis on being able to cover the field and at the same time be ready for any kind of pass that he’s going to throw. You know one of the best parts about our defense right now is just up front with our defensive line and our linebackers.”

Stratford and Wink face off on Friday at 3 p.m. at Lowery Field in Lubbock. Back in 2019, the Elks defeated Wink 42-13 in the Regional Final.

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