Heath Hawks

The 11-2 Rockwall-Heath Hawks will try to continue their remarkable climb up the playoff ladder as they take on the No. 8 Cedar Hill Longhorns at 3:15 p.m. on Saturday in the state quarterfinals at Globe Life Park in Arlington.

They upset No. 7-ranked Cypress Bridgeland 48-24 last week in the third round of the Class 6A-II football playoffs.

Now the 11-2 Rockwall-Heath Hawks will try to continue their remarkable climb up the playoff ladder as they take on the No. 8 Cedar Hill Longhorns at 3:15 p.m. on Saturday in the state quarterfinals at Globe Life Park in Arlington.

That game is to follow an 11 a.m. Class 6A-I contest between 10-1 Euless Trinity and 10-1 Southlake Carroll.

The Hawks capitalized on four Bridgeland turnovers, converting them into 28 points as they advanced to the Region II football finals for the first time since 2008. Peyton Williams, Layne Horak and Jaylin Nwigwe recovered Bridgeland fumbles for Heath and the Hawks also intercepted a pass.

Junior quarterback Josh Hoover led the Hawk offense, going 17-of-28 passing for 229 yards and three touchdowns.

Hoover fired touchdown passes to Jay Fair, Jordan Nabors and Corban Cleveland. Fair caught five passes for 37 yards, Nabors caught three for 70 yards, Cleveland caught five for 49 yards and Lance Mason caught three for 60 yards.

Fair also helped the Hawks with a 90-yard kickoff return for a touchdown.

Preston Landis picked up the rushing load for the Hawks in the absence of the injured Zach Evans with a game-high 217 yards and two touchdowns on 38 carries. Brittan Snider also ran for 37 yards and a TD on seven carries.

Heath is averaging 50 points and nearly 500 yards of offense per game, while giving up an average of 27 points per game.

Hoover has completed 224 of 346 attempts (64.7%) for 3,393 yards, 35 touchdowns and 12 interceptions.

Landis leads the Hawk rushers with 1,445 yards and 23 TDs on 226 carries and Evans has rushed for 1,223 and 14 TDs.

Fair leads the Heath receivers with 71 catches for 1,273 yards and 12 TDs while Cleveland’s caught 70 for 805 yards and 12 scores. Nabors has also caught 37 for 705 yards and five TDs.

The Hawks have also beaten Garland 42-14 in the bi-district round and Temple 56-28 at the area round.

Bridgeland, which ended at 12-1 in its third varsity season, finished with 553 total yards as quarterback Conner Weigman threw for 272 yards and three TDs and ran for 92 yards on 11 carries. Christian Phillips rushed for a team-high 117 yards on 12 carries and caught three passes for 83 yards.

Cedar Hill has won its playoff games 27-0 over Bryan, 45-0 over Tyler Legacy and 38-21 over Tomball Memorial.

Cedar Hill quarterback Kaidon Salter was 10-of-16 passing for 159 yards and one TD in the third-round win over Tomball Memorial and ran for 228 yards and three TDs on 20 carries. Salter threw to eight different receivers.

Jaiden Calahan also rushed for 120 yards and one TD on just eight carries for the Longhorns.

The Longhorns have won three state titles in 2006, 2013 and 2014.

Cedar Hill’s only loss in 2020 was 28-14 to 9-1 Duncanville, which plays 10-1 DeSoto in a 6A-I quarterfinal game that follows the Cedar Hill-Heath contest.

Heath last reached the fourth round of the playoffs in 2008, falling 52-47 to eventual 5A state champion Sulphur Springs. The two teams combined for 1,045 yards in that game as Hawk quarterback Drew Hollingshead threw for 256 yards and four TDs and Heath running back Everett Gilbert rushed for 193 yards and three TDs. Hollingshead is now an assistant coach at Mississippi State while Gilbert became one of Montana State’s all-time leaders in career all-purpose yards with 3,902.

The Cedar Hill-Heath winner advances to the semifinals to play either 10-2 Denton Guyer or 8-3 Prosper in the state semifinals. Those two teams are scheduled to play at 1 p.m. on Saturday at the McKinney ISD Stadium.

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