SEMINOLE — An emboldened Plainview squad entered Friday's second round playoff contest against the top-ranked Seminole Chieftains looking for a chance at redemption, to show it was a squad ready to take on the top teams in the state.
Trenton Newson never gave the Indians a chance.
Seminole's senior running back had a career night, rushing for 293 yards and touchdowns of 55, 65, 65 and 64 yards as the Chieftains closed the doors on Plainview's season in a 52-14 win.
Afterwards, coach Chris Berus reflected on more than the score in an impassioned speech to his team that brought more than a few of the gathered Plainview supporters to tears.
"The game is bigger than what's on the field," Berus said. "It's about the relationships that you develop with these players ... you create unbelievable bonds with these young men, so when they hurt, you hurt."
Among those Berus expressed the greatest amount of pride in was his senior class. Berus gave each of them a special talk, in the grasp of an enormous bear hug.
"These are the guys who came in with me, four years ago," Berus said. "They've been a big part of us getting this foundation set here."
It was a sobering reality for the Indians (9-3) who entered the contest against Seminole on a seven-game winning streak and playing its best football heading into the showdown with a Seminole squad (11-0) that was No. 1 in the state.
The Chieftains certainly looked the part Friday, jumping out to a 14-0 lead on drives of three and four plays. Perhaps overconfident, Seminole elected to try and convert a short fourth down in its own territory on its next drive, only to be stuffed on the short run by the Indians' defense.
Two plays later, junior running back Austin Carrera squirted into the endzone on a 10-yard run that made the score 14-7 and promised hope of a competitive contest.
Those dreams were dashed, methodically, over the next two quarters, as Seminole scored the next 38 straight to put the game out of reach. Seminole's thunder and lightning duo of Newson and Papi White were the lynchpins of a dominant Chieftains running game, which rolled up 502 rushing yards for the contest.
Even in its dying grasps, Plainview refused to go down quietly. With just 10 seconds left in the game, junior quarterback Taber Jordan connected with senior wide receiver Chase Brooks on a 90-yard touchdown pass.
While largely symbolic, it was something Berus was very pleased to see out of his group.
"There was no quit in them, no lack of want in them," Berus said. "They fought to the very end."
For Brooks, it was the final play of a memorable career at Plainview. On a night when the senior picked up 117 yards and his final touchdown as a football player, he spoke about the future of the program, and the responsibility that now falls on Jordan, Carrera, and the rest of a talented group that returns for the Indians next season.
"They've just got to build on this," Brooks said. "These younger kids just have to step up and lead now."
But perhaps no one could express the sentiment better than Berus, who grasped one of his younger players, Jordan Ricketts, after the contest and told him a simple phrase.
"Don't forget how this feels," Berus said. "You're one of the guys who has to lead this team now.