A week after having to fight back against Madill, Plainview made sure it was the first to strike on Friday.
James Bowker ran for 152 yards and two touchdowns to pace Plainview's running game in a 36-18 victory over Sulphur at Indian Field. In the battle of ground games, Plainview came out winner with an explosive brand of offense that contrasted Sulphur's clock-control run game.
Taber Jordan rushed for 106 yards, including a 9-yard TD run, and Stephen Roberts turned a short pass from Jordan into a 56-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter for Plainview (3-2, 1-1 District 3A-4).
The Indians averaged more than 9 yards a carry. More importantly to Plainview coach Chris Berus, the Indians became a better defense in the second half against Sulphur, after giving up 59 points to Madill in a loss last week.
"What I'm very proud of is the adjustments we made at halftime with our kids," Berus said. "Early on, they moved the ball well on us. We gave up the two scores in the first half and gave up one in the second; that shows improvement from one to the next."
The Bulldogs took an early 6-0 lead on an 8-yard TD pass from Ty Crenshaw to Haydn Rogers on their first drive. Sulphur's Nate Johnson had 119 yards on 31 carries, including a 1-yard TD run in the second quarter to give Sulphur its final lead of the game at 12-7, but turnovers kept the Bulldogs (1-4, 0-2) from more points in the first half.
With first-and-goal at the Plainview 10 in the first quarter, Ryan Rackley was stripped of the ball by Plainview's Chris Hamilton. In the second quarter, the Bulldogs put together another long drive, but with the chance to go ahead, Brandon Nowell came up with another fumble at the Plainview 37 at the 1:42 mark.
On the ensuing drive, Carrera scored from 20 yards out 40 seconds before halftime. Plainview led 21-12 at the break, and was able to capitalize even more in the second half when Sulphur quarterback/defensive back Ty Crenshaw left the game with a knee sprain.
It was yet another blow to a Sulphur squad fighting on without several key starters such as fullback Orlando Johnson and tailback Tanner Watson.
"That's the only one we've got hurt tonight," Sulphur coach Jim Dixon said of Crenshaw. "We've just got to hang in there.
"Plainview's got a good ball club. They've got a lot of speed on offense, and that gives them something that makes them real good."
The Indians broke off chunks of yardage at a time, paced by Bowker, who Berus said had his breakout game in the backfield.
Bowker scored on runs of 54 and 33 yards, with his second touchdown, a weaving effort through the Sulphur defense, putting the Indians ahead 29-18 after Sulphur pulled to within four points in the third quarter.
Page 2 of 2 - His damage came on just eight carries, good for a 19-yard average.
"I couldn't have done it without my line," Bowker said. "They blocked their butts off tonight, picking up extra guys that were shooting gaps."
Nursing an 11-point lead in the fourth, Plainview got its longest score of the night on Roberts' first varsity touchdown. The sophomore caught a short rollout pass from Jordan near the Plainview sideline, cut across the field multiple times and sprinted to the opposite pylon for the score.
Roberts' long catch and run capped a night of big plays for Plainview, which had three touchdowns go for 30 yards or more. It could have been four, as Jordan broke off an 89-yard touchdown run in the first quarter, only to have it called back by one of Plainview's 10 penalties on the night.
"We still have a lot of things to work on," Bowker said. "If we can eliminate those, we'll be better off in ball games."
Rackley added a 7-yard TD run in the third quarter and Gage Thomison finished with 98 yards rushing on 14 carries for Sulphur. On defense, Rogers added an interception for the Bulldogs.
Erik K. Horne