Bull­dogs use rout to sew up play­off spot

Houston Chronicle Sunday - - HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL - By Ja­son McDaniel COR­RE­SPON­DENT

Tor­rin Polk sur­veyed the scene from the side­line, con­tent to spec­tate on one knee as the fi­nal min­utes of the first half played out.

He’d al­ready put in a full game’s work by then.

The ju­nior run­ning back notched four touch­downs on his first six car­ries Satur­day, and the Heights Bull­dogs found the end zone on their first six pos­ses­sions en route to a 46-14 blowout of Bel­laire at Del­mar Sta­dium.

The vic­tory clinched a spot in the Divi­sion II play­offs for Heights (3-6, 3-2), which started the sea­son 0-4.

“We started off the sea­son rough,” said Heights coach Stephon Dixon, whose team is in the play­offs for the eighth straight year. “We played a tough sched­ule. (But) we started get­ting our guys healthy and back right now, and we look the part.”

Bel­laire fell to 4-6, 3-3 in Dis­trict 18-6A in its reg­u­lar-sea­son fi­nale.

The Car­di­nals can only watch as West­side (4-5, 2-3) takes on Sam Hous­ton (1-8, 0-5) next Thurs­day, know­ing the Wolves hold the tiebreaker by virtue of their piv­otal 27-21 win over Bel­laire in Week 9.

Heights didn’t look like a team with only two wins en­ter­ing Satur­day.

The Bull­dogs scored on their first two of­fen­sive snaps, with Ken­dric Rhymes’ 68-yard re­turn of the open­ing kick­off set­ting up Polk’s 5-yard scor­ing run, and Dale Dick­er­son break­ing an 81yard touch­down run on the first play of their sec­ond se­ries for a 14-0 ad­van­tage with 9:25 left in the first quar­ter.

And Heights was only get­ting started en route to a 28-7 lead be­fore the sec­ond quar­ter.

“We’re not a two-win team,” Dixon said. “We’re just young, in­ex­pe­ri­enced, and we’ve made some dumb mis­takes. But the one thing I’ve no­ticed about this team is we’ve been im­prov­ing week af­ter week.

“They played (Satur­day) like I know they’re ca­pa­ble of play­ing.”

Bel­laire an­swered Polk’s sec­ond short TD run with an im­pres­sive drive quar­ter­back Dar­ius Reed capped with a 2-yard touch­down on a keeper..

But Polk came right back with a 55-yard touch­down sprint. Then the 5-9, 210-pound back broke a 54-yard TD run on Heights next se­ries.

He watched the fi­nal two firsthalf pos­ses­sions, al­ready boast­ing 160 yards and four touch­downs on six car­ries, and the Bull­dogs kept on rolling with­out him, with Rhymes sup­ply­ing a 46-yard TD run.

That score gave the Bull­dogs a 43-7 lead at half­time.

Heights had 342 yards on 19 rushes in the first two quar­ters, av­er­ag­ing 18 yards per run.

“We’ve got some guys back who’ve haven’t played the last cou­ple of weeks … and we’ve got some con­sis­tency go­ing of­fen­sively,” Dixon said.

Polk picked up three more car­ries in the third quar­ter to fin­ish the night with 185 yards and four touch­downs on nine rushes.

“He’s been phe­nom­e­nal,” Dixon said. “And he’s one of those guys who was in­jured early, and missed about four games this year, but he’s round­ing back into shape.”

Heights kicker Marco Toledo added a 32-yard field goal for a 46-7 lead in the fourth quar­ter.

Bel­laire re­ceiver Wil­lie Branch had nine re­cep­tions for 101 yards and a 15-yard scor­ing grab with 6:20 left in the game.

Bel­laire man­aged only 148 yards of of­fense and nine first downs.

Heights fin­ished with 501 yards with 19 first downs, with 455 yards com­ing on 39 rushes (11.7 yards per carry).

“We’re in the play­offs,” Dixon said.

Eric Chris­tian Smith / Con­trib­u­tor

Heights run­ning back Tor­rin Polk, left, slips by Bel­laire de­fen­sive back Wal­ter Truitt en route to a first-half touch­down Satur­day at Del­mar Sta­dium.

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