China Spring claims second state championship in route of Gilmer
Friday, 17th December 2021 - 4:23PM

Garrett Ross

Behind three touchdowns from Lamar commit Major Bowden, #5 China Spring (16-0) clinched the UIL 4A DII State Championship in a 31-7 route of #2 Gilmer (14-2) at AT&T Stadium on Friday. The Cougars didn’t commit one penalty throughout the game, while their defense held a Gilmer offense averaging 46.5PPG to just one score.

Bowden would seal the deal on his 31st carry of the game, as he plunged through the Gilmer defense for a 1-yard touchdown run. The Mr. Texas Football finalist finished the day with 191-yards and 3TDs, which earned him the Offensive MVP.

Facing 3rd-and-goal, with just over two minutes before halftime, Bowden ran straight up the gut to cap off a 10-play, 61-yard drive from 3-yards out. Following the PAT, China Spring was able to tie the game at 7 all.

Gilmer attempted to make the most of the remainder of the first half, as they marched the length of the field against the Cougars, but China Spring had other plans. Jacob Mott blocked a field goal attempt and Gabe Watkins caught the bouncing ball on the first hop. Watkins returned it 80-yards for a touchdown that gave the Cougars a 14-7 lead heading into halftime.

The Buckeyes opened the game up with an 18-play drive that lasted over seven minutes, but Gilmer would come away empty handed as a field goal attempt bounced off the upright. China Spring would use the remainder of the first quarter marching into Buckeye territory.

Back-to-back sacks by Joseph Clark, forced China Spring to attempt a 48-yard field goal that was well short. The Buckeyes would get a fresh set of downs at their own 28-yard line early in the second quarter.

Gilmer would get the first score of the game halfway through the second quarter, as running back Ashton Haynes found the end zone with a 2-yard touchdown run that put the Buckeyes up 7-0. The score capped off a six play drive for 61-yards that took 1:34 off the clock.

Coming out of halftime, Bowden got loose on a 32-yard run up the middle to keep the momentum on China Spring’s side. A great defensive stand by Gilmer in the red zone resulted in a 22-yard field goal from Thomas Barr that extended the China Spring lead to 17-7.

After stopping the Buckeye offense on two possessions, China Spring’s offense would go to work once more early in the fourth quarter.

The Cougars marched the length of the field, regularly gashing Gilmer’s defense with chunk plays. Bowden was looking to call game with 8:25 remaining, as he darted 14-yards to the house to put China Spring up 24-7.

Friday marked the second UIL State Championship in program history for China Spring. The other title came in 1978 in a 42-3 win over Lexington.
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