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Left, Wimberley senior wide receiver Tru Couch out-wrestles a ball from a Carthage defender to make a catch during Friday’s UIL 6A Division II State Championship game at AT&T Stadium in Arlington. Photo courtesy of Julie Albini

Turnovers doom Wimberley in state title game

Saturday, December 17, 2022

ARLINGTON — Wimberley couldn’t overcome four turnovers in the UIL 4A Division II State Championship game as the Texans fell to the Carthage Bulldogs, 42-0, Friday at AT&T Stadium in Arlington.

Despite the gaggle of turnovers, head football coach Doug Warren was proud of his team for finishing their season in Arlington.

“You can’t come into a football game and commit four turnovers against a really good football team,” Warren said. “You have to play a clean game against a team like Carthage but I’m so proud of this group right here. To be one of the last two teams standing is a great accomplishment for any team.”

Wimberley forced a fumble on Carthage’s first possession on fourth down to have the ball at the Carthage 37 yard line.

The Bulldog defense, however, caused havoc on the Wimberley’s ensuing possession, forcing a fumble to take over at their own 23-yard line.

In what turned to be a common theme, the Carthage passing attack was prolific Friday. Following the fumble the Bulldogs connected for a 50-yard touchdown pass as senior quarterback Connor Cuff hit senior wide receiver Noah Paddie for the score.

It was a problem the Texans faced all day with the Bulldogs having a plethora of solid receivers.

“[Carthage has] dynamic players all over the field,” Warren said. “To combat that, we knew we had to get pressure on the quarterback. However, we had trouble getting to him but they still had to make the plays which they sure did.”

Following a Wimberley punt, Carthage connected deep again as Cuff hit Paddie for an 82-yard touchdown pass to go up 14-0.

The Texans struggled to get into a rhythm as Carthage’s defensive line kept Wimberley’s offense in flux the entire game.

“Up front, they controlled the line of scrimmage,” Warren said. “You watch the hours upon hours of film on [Carthage] to see if there are any cracks but there aren’t any. The small ones you do see, Carthage does a great job of sealing them up pretty quick. Coach Sruatt is a great coach and he has a great program. There is a reason they are here year after year.”

A second Wimberley punt led to another score for the Bulldogs as Cuff snuck in for the one yard score to go up 21-0.

After a Wimberley interception, the Code Red Defense forced a Carthage punt to give the Texans a little bit of life.

But another Texan turnover, a fumble on third down, ended the drive and led to another Carthage touchdown following a 12-yard pass from Cuff to junior running back Kydarious Matlock to extend the lead at 28-0.

Carthage added another score just before halftime as Cuff hit senior wide receiver/running back Viencint Cabada for the 2-yard touchdown pass to extend the lead at 35-0.

The Bulldogs scored for the final time as Larandion Dowden ran in for the two yard score to make it 42-0.

Warren was proud of his team for fighting the adversity surrounding the team, despite the final result, especially during the offseason with the high-profile move of former quarterback Cash McCollum to China Spring, who also made it to the State Championship.

“It tells you that football is a team sport,” Warren said. “It takes all 11 players to make a football team. It’s never been about one person, nor will it ever be about one person. Just because one person moves doesn’t define a season and it didn’t define these guys.”

Senior Lane Patek echoed Warren’s statements.

“Personally it’s just the love for each other,” Patek said “Our trust in each other brought closer together during those tough games especially in that Cuero game. That trust got us back up when we trail at halftime where we pulled through for the win.”

Wimberley finished the season with a 15-1 record.

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