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Model of efficiency: Fine-tuned Poteet too much for Lincoln
Poteet has one of those offenses that if they are firing on all cylinders, they are tough to stop.
Lincoln found that out the hard way on Friday.
The Pirates scored early and often in opening a 35-6 halftime lead and they cruised from there on their way to a 48-14 victory in a Class 4A Division II area championship game at Mesquite Memorial Stadium.
Poteet (10-2) advances to the regional semifinals where it will face the winner of the Whitehouse/Wylie East game next week at a time and place to be determined.
The Tigers (10-2) brought plenty of momentum into the game and had hoped to give the Pirates trouble with an athletic defense that was giving up less than 10 points per contest and had not allowed more than 22 in any game all season long.
But Lincoln could simply not keep pace with Poteet, which finished the game with 484 yards of total offense.
"I knew they (Lincoln) were going to be fast, but we didn't really do anything different because of them, we focus more on ourselves than we do anybody else," Poteet head coach Randy Jackson said. "As fast as we play during the game, we play even faster in practice. We may get 150 plays in during a practice and with as many reps as we have gotten there, by this point in the year, you ought to be pretty good at it and we feel like we are executing pretty well."
The Pirates have been the model of balance this season, with 31 passing touchdowns and 30 on the ground entering the game. They followed that same formula, with three rushing scores and four more through the air.
Quarterback Tanner Ramsey bounced back quickly from an interception on the first offensive play. Ramsey completed his next 12 passes and finished 15-of-18 for 313 yards and four touchdowns.
His first six completions went to six different receivers, keeping the Tigers from focusing on any one target. That allowed the Pirates to spread the field and the result was a number of big plays, as Ramsey's scoring passes went for 58, 28, 42 and 53 yards.
There was a brisk wind blowing across the field, but it did not impact an efficient Poteet offense, which scored with and against the breeze, with five of its seven scoring drives taking five plays or fewer.
"It's awesome," Jackson said. "We've always tried to spread the ball around and a lot of times we'll have eight different guys catch a pass and I love it. We're never going to have an all-state receiver at Poteet but we're going to have depth and we have a lot of guys that we feel we need to get the ball to."
The Pirates had the wind at their backs to start and they tried to strike immediately but Lincoln's Derrick Neal intercepted a pass to end the threat.
That would be the last hiccup by Ramsey, whose next pass went for a 58-yard touchdown to Rodney Douglas. On the next possession, Ramsey used his 6-2, 220-pound frame to barrel over defenders on a 29-yard gain before bulling in from the 1 for a 14-0 lead.
James Swindle pushed the advantage to three touchdowns with a 17-yard scoring run late in the first quarter.
The Tigers tried to make a push with the wind at their backs, moving 57 yards in 11 plays. Erick Neal, who carried the ball 26 times for 118 yards and also threw for 219 yards, scored on a 3-yard run on fourth down to make it 21-6.
But Poteet quickly reestablished control, with Ramsey finding Kody Edwards on a 28-yard touchdown.
The Pirates added a backbreaking score late in the first half, moving 98 yards in 72 seconds, capped by a 42-yard scoring strike from Ramsey to a wide-open Douglas that made it 35-6 at halftime.
This was the second consecutive week that Poteet had jumped on its opponent in the first half. Last week, they cruised to a 50-14 win over Little Elm, and while they were on their way to another similar outcome, Jackson wanted to make sure the team maintained its focus.
"I told them at halftime, there aren't going to be many more of these in the playoffs," he said. "We needed to finish strong and we needed to go out with the mindset that it is 0-0 because it is only going to get tougher from here. But I am proud of how we played the first two quarters and how we finished."
The Pirates punted for the only two times in the game on their first two drives of the second half, but got back on track with a big play when Ramsey threw a quick screen to Edwards and thanks to some good blocking on the outside, he raced 63 yards untouched for a touchdown that made it 41-6.
Lincoln added a score midway through the fourth quarter on a 47-yard touchdown pass from Erick Neal to Derrick Neal, but Poteet tacked on one more score for good measure when Jaylon Smith scored from a yard out to provide the final margin