FORT WORTH – Mac Harper took a shot down field, and Jake Hermes caught the ball for a big play.
The connection between junior quarterback and senior receiver was revisited several times Friday night as Whitesboro raced past Breckenridge 56-14 in the bi-district round at Fort Worth Castleberry.
Whitesboro (7-4) never trailed as the Bearcats raced out quickly to a 22-0 lead.
Breckenridge (4-7) responded with back-to-back touchdowns to make it 22-14, but it was all Whitesboro the rest of the way.
Whitesboro coach Cody Fagan said the Bearcats prepared well throughout the week.
“We’re getting hot at the right time,” Fagan said. “We’re getting healthy at the right time. They’re going to be a fun bunch to keep watching.”
Harper and Hermes hooked up for three touchdowns, all in the first half. They also connected on a two-point conversion. Harper added a fourth touchdown pass to senior Torran Naglestad and rushed for another score.
Hermes said he and Harper have been working on their connection for years, going back to when they were kids in the back yard. Fagan said he has known all year Harper and Hermes could have this kind of performance.
“I’ve been seeing it in practice,” Fagan said. “It’s just they’re putting it on show for (everyone) on Friday nights here lately.”
All the Buckaroos’ points were set up by special teams plays. After Whitesboro took the 22-0 lead, Breckenridge junior Anson Rodgers returned the resulting kickoff for a touchdown. On the Bearcats’ next drive, the Buckaroos held Whitesboro without a first down before blocking the punt.
Breckenridge took over at the Whitesboro 26-yard line and capped off a short drive with a two-yard touchdown run from junior Jerry Lawson.
The Bearcats didn’t panic after giving up two quick scores. Hermes said Whitesboro just had to respond.
“We knew they’re a playoff team,” Hermes said. “They made the playoffs, second seed. We knew they wouldn’t just lay down for us, but we knew we couldn’t just lay down for them when they scored a couple touchdowns. We just got it back going.”
Breckenridge did not score again. The only other time the Buckaroos threatened was right before halftime. They moved the ball to the Whitesboro 1-yard line, but the Bearcats stuffed back-to-back goal line runs. Breckenridge didn’t have any timeouts, and time expired.
Fagan said the defense played phenomenal.
“(They) flew around and made a lot of great plays,” Fagan said. “Made them go sideways. Any time you make a team go sideways, you got a good shot. Really proud of those guys.”
With the Bearcats up big, Fagan put sophomore Clay Hermes, Jake Hermes’ brother, at quarterback in the fourth quarter. He ended up throwing the final touchdown pass of the night but not before completing a 32-yard pass to his brother.
“It was special,” Hermes said. “Brother to brother. I loved it.”
Whitesboro advances to the area round to face Bushland.