In a game that was a contrast of offensive styles, the running game of Lubbock Estacado and the big-play ability of running back Jermiah Dobbins led the Matadors to a 21-10 win over host Pampa in a key District 1-4A game at Harvester Stadium.
The win gives the Matadors the outright District title with one week left in the regular season, while Pampa falls to 5-3 on the year, and 1-1 in District play.
Estacado rushed for 403 yards in the win, making up for a passing attack that was just 5 of 20 for 39 yards. The Matadors out-gained Pampa 442 to 277.
“We played them down the wire and then they popped one late on us,” Pampa coach Greg Poyner said. “They had two big plays on us and we had trouble big playing them. They’re a really good defensive team. I was proud of our kids, we battled them the whole way.”
The visiting Matadors didn’t take long to get on the scoreboard, finding the end zone on the game’s first play when Dobbins raced 74 yards, untouched up the middle for a quick 7-0 lead. Dobbins finished as the game’s leading rusher, racking up 205 yards. Fellow backfield mate Kamadrick Williams rushed for 160 on 20 carries.
After a pair of punts, Pampa’s passing game found its groove to help tie the game. The key plays were a trio of completions, starting with a third-and-18 dump-off for 10 yards from Brandon Steward to running back Kaleb Caldwell to set up a fourth down at the 38. The next play, Steward hit a leaping Darrell Fields for a 22-yard gain to keep the drive alive. The Harvesters took advantage of the conversion, with Steward and Caldwell hooking up on the next play for a 14-yard score to make it 7-7 halfway through the opening quarter.
Steward passed for 274 yards in the loss, but needed 57 attempts to get there. He was intercepted three times and sacked six times by a fierce Estacado front.
“Their front is big, strong and quick,” Poyner said. “Their secondary is really good, they have great cover guys on the back end.”
From there, both defenses stiffened until late in the half when Pampa put together a drive that allowed kicker Brenden Baker to knock home a 40-yard field goal into the wind for a 10-7 lead with 1:47 left in the half.
But that lead was short-lived, as the Matadors finally connected on their first two passes of the half. After a 22-yard completion to the Pampa 21, quarterback Bo Sims evaded the Harvester defense and scrambled the distance for the go-ahead score with 23 seconds left, as Estacado took a 14-10 lead into halftime.
“Really, we didn’t give them anything until right before the half,” Poyner said. “They scored right after we had taken the lead and I think that gave them a little second half momentum.”
Pampa passed for 168 yards in the first half and was held to 20 rushing yards, while Estacado passed for 22 yards and rushed for 208 yards.
Both defenses shined in the second half, keeping both offenses not only out of the end zone, but the red zone until just under five minutes remained. That’s when Dobbins took his sixteenth carry of the game and raced 71 yards through the Pampa defense to give Estacado a 21-10 lead.
Pampa looked to answer on the ensuing drive, getting down to the Estacado 26, but a penalty and a sacked backed them up to their own 48 on fourth down, which the Matadors stopped to force a turnover on downs.
The Matadors then ran out the clock to seal the victory.
Pampa will look to rebound with a road game next week at Levelland, while Estacado wraps up the regular season at home against Borger.
“I felt like our kids played really hard,” Poyner said. “There’s a lot of stuff we have to fix. We have to get better offensively. We’ve been good offensively for a long time, and we weren’t tonight, which was a little disappointing. We will get better, this team comes to work every day.”
Lubbock Estacado 21, Pampa 10
Estacado7707 — 21
Pampa7300 — 10
E — Jermiah Dobbins 74 run (kick good)
P — Kaleb Caldwell 14 pass from Brandon Steward (Brenden Baker kick)
P — Baker 40 FG
E —#3 21 run
E — Jermiah Dobbins (kick good)