Jonathan Hull, Times Record News
Published June 11, 2017
As cousins, Xavier Waggoner and Stephen Gaines have played plenty of football games on the same team. On Saturday, they played against each other for the first time ever.
It was Gaines earning the lifetime bragging rights at Memorial Stadium, leading East Texas to a 20-14 overtime victory over West Texas in the 80th annual Oil Bowl.
“When we got down into the prayer huddle together, I got next to him and said, ‘Lord, please protect him from this loss,'” Gaines said. “We’re cousins, but we’re more like brothers. We grew up doing everything together. It’s a rivalry between us. I’ve got the bragging rights.”
Both players had big games with each finding the end zone once.
Waggoner scored the game’s first touchdown with 9:30 left in the second quarter, scooping up a fumble and taking it 25 yards for a touchdown and a 7-0 West lead. The Electra grad also had 1 1/2 sacks and nearly recorded an interception. More importantly, he got to tackle his cousin a few times.
“He laughed in my face every time he tackled me,” Gaines said.
“I sure did,” Waggoner said confirming Gaines’ report. “He was talking trash all week leading up to the game. He gets the bragging rights, but that’s alright. I got the stick him a few times and that’s what matters.”
Gaines scored the game’s next touchdown, breaking off a 30-yard run with 8:20 left in the third quarter, tying it at 7-7. The former Old High standout finished with 187 total yards of offense, including 126 rushing and 61 receiving. It was a familiar feeling for Gaines, racking up big yardage totals on Joe Golding Field.
“I haven’t been on this field in a fat minute,” Gaines said. “This was a great experience. It let me play with a bunch of great players I’d never played with before. It means a lot to win and to just play in this game. I’ll never forget it.”
City View defenders stand out
City View coach Rudy Hawkins thought he had coached Tyrese Smith, Danny Ho and Abbas Muhammad for the final time in November.
Then he found out he would be coaching East Texas in the Oil Bowl and an opportunity to coach three of his top players from the 2016 season arose. All three made sure it was a memorable experience for their former head coach.
Muhammad had an interception early in the third quarter. Ho recovered a fumble shortly after the West had gone up 14-7 and recovered a pooch kick, shifting the momentum of the game late. Smith made several tackles, including one on special teams that broke up what looked like a strong return in the making for the West.
“It’s so awesome to see those guys come out in a big game and big setting and play well all night long,” Hawkins said. “Abbas had to match up with (Burkburnett receiver Darion Chafin), which was going to be a tough matchup all night. He battled him all night and had a huge interception. Danny was all over the place. He recovered the fumble and forced another one. He made a lot of plays. And Tyrese made some big tackles on special teams. It was so special to see these guys play like this one final time.”
West ground game shut down
West Texas struggled to move the ball throughout the game, which was somewhat surprising given their talent in the backfield.
Iowa Park running back Bowie Franks ended up with just one yard on five carries. Munday running back Dayveon Dockins didn’t see much time on offense, but racked up 49 of the West’s 69 total rushing yards on one carry.
Burkburnett quarterback Mitchell Jennings finished 12 of 25 passing for 108 yards and a touchdown that went to former Bulldog teammate Darion Chafin. Chafin led the team with a 45 yards on four catches.
East explodes offensively
While West Texas struggled to move the ball, East Texas got it up and down the field all night, finishing with 427 total yards.
Penalties and bad snaps eliminated several drives. They had nine penalties for 60 yards.
“We were our own worst enemy in the first half,” Gaines said. “Once we got that cleaned up, we started doing what we knew we could.”
The East was balanced with 213 rushing yards and 214 passing. Krum’s Brandon Reeves completed 13 of 19 passes for 203 yards and a 67-yard touchdown to Nocona’s Marcus Carter. Reeves also rushed for 48 yards on 18 carries, including the game-winning 3-yard touchdown in overtime.
Decatur’s Payton McAlister thrived in the slot, rushing for 57 yards on 10 carries that mostly consisted of jet sweeps and reverses. He also caught a game-high six passes for 44 yards.
WEST – Xavier Waggoner 25 fumble return (Donnell Kendricks kick), 9:30
EAST – Stephen Gaines 30 run (Tanner DeBord kick), 8:20
WEST – Darion Chafin 4 pass from Mitchell Jennings (Kendricks kick), 8:16
EAST – Marcus Carter 67 pass from Brandon Reeves (DeBord kick), 1:11
EAST – Reeves 3 run
RUSHING — (West) Dayveon Dockins 2-50, Deven Smith 3-8, Mitchel Jennings 3-5, Jacoby Thomas 1-5, Kolby Youngblood 2-3, Darion Chafin 2-(-3); (East) Stephen Gaines 22-126, Payton McAlister 10-57, Brandon Reeves 18-48, Colson Stovall 2-6, Team 2-(-24).
PASSING — (West) Jennings 12-25-1—108, Smith 0-1-0—0; (East) Reeves 13-19-0—203, Hunter Turbeville 1-4-0—11, Team 0-1-0—0.
RECEIVING — (West) Chafin 4-45, Kolby Donnell 2-19, Franks 3-16, Smith 1-16, Dockins 2-12; (East) Marcus Carter 1-67, Gaines 2-61, McAlister 6-44, Dane Williams 3-32, Brandon Huto 1-11, Ben McCreary 1-(-1).