After a strong start for Clear Falls, the Dickinson Gators erupted in the second quarter to put away the Knights in a 55-14 win Saturday afternoon at Veterans Memorial Stadium.

“Clear Falls came out taking it to us, just playing harder than us early, hitting us in the mouth, running the ball down our throat,” Dickinson head coach John Snelson said. “That was a danged learning experience right there. We’ve got to come ready every week.”

With the Knights leading 14-7 after a huge 68-yard touchdown run by Donte Proctor (17 carries, 110 yards), the Gators scored 42 unanswered points in the second quarter to take a commanding 49-7 lead into the halftime intermission.

A 69-yard scramble by Dickinson quarterback Mike Welch (4-for-8, 122 yards; nine carries 147 yards) set up Welch to finish the scoring drive with a 1-yard TD plunge to tie the score, 14-14, 54 seconds into the second quarter.

“I thought whenever Welch broke out the long run right after they scored there and we answered right back, I think that kind of let everybody know that, ‘Hey, they ain’t going away. They’re going to wake up here sooner or later.’”

After a three-and-out by Clear Falls highlighted by a sack shared by Derrick Martin and Dominic Chong, Dickinson’s offense needed just one play to take the lead — 61-yard TD pass from Welch to Darryl Harris (two receptions, 109 yards) — at 21-14.

Another three-and-out was followed by a six-play Dickinson TD drive. A 30-yard run by Jordan Green (18 carries, 163 yards) set up a 12-yard TD run by Welch on the designed QB keeper for a 28-14 lead midway through the second quarter.

Dickinson got its, by far, worst starting field position of the half at the 18-yard line, but it did little to slow down the Gators’ offense. The drive started with a 19-yard jet sweep run by Kai German, and six plays later, ended with a 48-yard TD hook-up from Welch to Harris to go up, 35-14, with 2:36 left in the first half.

After that, things really escalated quickly.

On third-and-10 for Clear Falls, Dickinson’s Savien Artett picked off Knights quarterback Gavin Esquivel and raced 40 yards to the end zone for the pick-6 and 42-14 lead. Then, following a Clear Falls three-and-out highlighted by a David Hall sack, the Gators’ ensuing drive saw Welch rip off a 54-yard rush before finishing off the drive on a 5-yard TD run for a 49-14 lead with 1:07 left before the break.

Clear Falls took it to the Gators to start the game, driving 75 yards on eight plays for a 7-0 lead at the 9:06 mark of the first quarter. A 33-yard run by Jude Ballew sparked the drive, and an 8-yard TD pass from Esquivel to Brandon Woodson.

“We’ve proved we can play with some really good football teams, and they are — I think they’re going to make a really long run,” Clear Falls head coach Zach Head said. “We just have to figure out how to make it 48 minutes and not have 16 minutes or 8 minutes off.”

The Knights couldn’t take advantage of a Dickinson muffed kickoff return, and Dickinson eventually got on the scoreboard with 33 seconds left in the first quarter on a 1-yard Green run to tie it, 7-7.

Dickinson tacked on one final TD on the opening drive of the second half, putting an exclamation point on the game with a 39-yard Welch TD run.

Both teams are back in action 7 p.m. Friday. Dickinson (7-0, 3-0 in District 24-6A) hosts Clear Springs (3-3, 2-0) in a 24-6A showdown. Clear Falls (3-4, 0-3) will take on Alvin (0-6, 0-2) at Alvin Memorial Stadium.

James LaCombe: 409-683-5242, james.lacombe@galvnews.com or on Twitter @JamesAtGalvNews

Sports Editor

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