North Shore used its speed and size up front to outmuscle Clear Springs, 52-21 in Friday’s Class 6A-I, Region III quarterfinal playoff contest at Pasadena Memorial Stadium.
The Mustangs (8-3) advance to play Houston Lamar at Rice Stadium, 7 p.m. Friday.
Two turnovers and a couple of big plays allowed Clear Springs (8-3) to remain close in the first half despite North Shore’s offensive dominance.
The Mustangs lost two fumbles, including a botched punt attempt at its own 20 in the first quarter.
Clear Springs used the opportunity to set up a pair of touchdown passes by quarterback Garrett Rooker.
Rooker connected with Michael Gillaspia for 15 yards, then hit Christian Waller for a 62-yard catch and run.
Peyton Sawyer added an 80-yard kickoff return as the Chargers went into the second half down 28-21 despite giving up 331 offensive yards while gaining just 95.
Clear Springs got the ball to open the third quarter and promptly moved from its own 25 to the Mustangs’ 37 in seven plays.
Facing a fourth-and-1 situation, the Chargers were stopped when Isaiah Bibb was hit by Mustangs linebacker Prince Monroe for a 2-yard loss.
North Shore was never threatened after that, scoring 24 unanswered points in its next five possessions.
Running behind an offensive line led by DaMarcus Thomas (6-2, 285) and Dameon George (6-5, 295), sophomore Zach Evans ran for 238 yards and all seven Mustangs touchdowns.
Eight of Evans’ 19 carries exceeded 10 yards, with the highlight being a 79-yard sprint in the third period.
Freshman quarterback Dematrius Davis completed 18 of 27 passes for 253 yards.
Facing a quick North Shore defensive front, Clear Springs was unable to get its running game going and managed just 19 yards on 28 carries.
Rooker was able to throw for 140 yards, with Gillaspia collecting 71 of those with seven receptions.