26 since 1990: Waxahachie football continues storied playoff run with rout of Waco

Photo Credit: Sherry Milliken | KBEC Sports

By Travis M. Smith | KBEC Sports

WACO — Waxahachie and postseason football are synonymous again, following a 41-12 rout of Waco High on Friday.

Under first-year head coach Shane Tolleson, (6-3, 4-2) Waxahachie will appear in the Class 6A playoffs in back-to-back seasons for the first time in program history. The Indians will finish no worse than fourth in District 11-6A, which has long been tabbed the “District of Doom.”

The Tribe ended the COVID-19-altered 2020 season 5-5 overall following a bi-district loss to Temple under then-head coach Todd Alexander.

Prior to that season, the Indians last qualified for the playoffs (5A) in 2017 under Jon Kitna, which was his lone appearance in three tries.

In fact, the last time the Indians qualified for the postseason in back-to-back seasons was 2011-12. But what we need you, the reader, to recall is the 2012 campaign capped a 23-year run of playoff berths for the Indians. The Tribe was very much a storied staple then — and all signs are, once again, pointing upward.

Waxahachie has missed the football postseason just six times since 1990 (2013, 14, 15, 16, 18, 19).

And that’s…impressive.

The suffocating Indian defense stole the show Friday at Waco ISD Stadium, forcing three second-half turnovers and holding the Lions to just 130 total yards of offense.

Waco (0-9, 0-6 in 11-6A) gained just 1 yard over its first four drives and finished the first half with 22 total yards of offense.

Senior quarterback Lamarcus McDonald accounted for 99 of those Lion yards. He rushed 14 times for 79 yards and completed 2-of-his-13 passes for 20 yards with one touchdown and one interception.

Waxahachie, meanwhile, gained 412 total yards on 69 plays from scrimmage.

Jayden Becks led the Indian offense for a second-consecutive week, rushing 27 times for 147 yards and three touchdowns.

The scoring total set a new career-high, which comes one week after Becks rushed for a career-best 162 yards on 25 carries in a 43-25 win against Mansfield.

Junior quarterback Roderick Hartsfield completed 14-of-his-19 passes for 189 yards and two touchdowns.

Joseph Lanford pulled in two catches for 56 yards and an impressive touchdown grab, while Keith Abney Jr. led all receivers with seven catches for 76 yards.

Calvin Simpson returned the opening kickoff 66 yards to the Lions’ 23-yard line.

Jayden Becks scored four plays later. His 1-yard touchdown run came with 9:33 to play and put the Indians on top, 7-0.

Jaelynn Davis-Robinson recorded a sack on third-and-9 to cap the ensuing Waco drive after just three plays and the rout was on.

A couple of plays later, Becks scored his second rushing touchdown on the evening — again from 1-yard out. The plunge across the goal line was his seventh on the season and put Waxahachie up 14-0 with 7:07 to play in the first quarter.

The seven-play, 53-yard drive took all of two-minutes-and-change.

Another Waco three-and-out put the ball back into the hands of Hartsfield and the Indian offense. The group quickly faced a fourth-and-3 situation but elected to run a fake punt with Lamarkus “Speedbump” Reed for a moderate gain to the Lion 23-yard line.

The new set of downs came as the clock ticked toward two minutes to play in the first quarter.

Waxahachie again faced fourth-and-3, thanks to a penalty for an illegal lineman downfield that negated a Lankford catch that moved the Tribe inside the Lion 10-yard line.

The ensuing inside rush by Brendan Wright came on the first play of the second quarter. It also came up a few feet short, turning the football over to the Lions on downs at their own 34-yard line.

The decision to go for the first down ultimately played no factor in the outcome.

Waxahachie eventually converted a second fourth-down situation on its next offensive drive. The Indians then faced a third down deep in Waco territory.

Lankford proceeded to leap and take the football away from a Lion defender for a 31-yard touchdown and 21-0 Indian lead with just over three minutes to play in the first half.

The receiving score was Lankford’s third of the season and second in two weeks. It capped a 12-play, 85-yard drive that took 4:08 off the clock.

Waco had gained just 1 yard on its first four possessions to that point in the ball game. That total included five yards of offense in the first quarter.

McDonald proceeded to gain 24 yards on a scramble to his right on the Lions’ fifth possession. Waco ended up losing two yards after the first down and punted the ball back to the Indians three plays later.

Waxahachie took back over at its 12-yard line with 1:24 to play in the first half.

Hartsfield and Lankford connected again for a big gain (32 yards) to move the Indian offense close to midfield. The effort was for not, though, as the Indians eventually faced fourth-and-3 and elected to carry their 21-0 lead into the halftime locker room.

Waxahachie had outgained Waco 269 total yards to 22 in the opening half, with 132 of those yards coming on the ground.

The Indians also picked up 13 first downs and possessed the football for over 17 minutes.

Waco mustered just one first down on the McDonald rush late in the second quarter.

Waco took the second half’s opening drive inside the Indian 25-yard line, only to fumble on a wild backward pitch by running back O’Marion Delao back to McDonald.

Reed scooped up the loose ball and was finally downed at the Lion 35-yard line.

Hartsfield flipped the ensuing snap forward to Fabien Becks for a 12-yard gain and the Tribe was back in business near the Waco red zone.

Two plays later, the Waxahachie quarterback connected with Jermaine Jones Jr. for a 23-yard touchdown. The wide-open Jones pulled in his first touchdown catch of the season near the back left pylon for a 27-0 Waxahachie lead with 6:26 to play in the third quarter.

Becks added a third rushing touchdown on the night when he busted through a gaping hole for a 47-yard scamper. His run put the Indians comfortably on top, 34-0, with 2:57 to play in the third quarter.

Waxahachie defensive tackle Ja’Qwon Roberts promptly recovered a Waco fumble at the Lions’ 5-yard line on the first snap of the ensuing possession.

Reed, better known as “Speedbump,” scored his first rushing touchdown of the season two plays later. The 5-yard score put Waxahachie on top, 41-0, with 2:40 to play in the third quarter.

Waco eventually added its first touchdown of the game when McDonald scored from 4 yards out. The touchdown came with eight minutes and change to play in the fourth quarter and with Waxahachie comfortably ahead, 41-6.

Waco added a second fourth-quarter touchdown to bring the game to the 41-12 final.

The Indians close out the regular season at home Thursday against (7-2, 5-1) DeSoto. The Eagles survived against Mansfield Lake Ridge on Friday for a 54-35 win.

Kickoff at Stuart B. Lumpkins Stadium is at 7 p.m.


Travis M. Smith, @Travis5mith