The North Central Texas Pioneers overcame a halftime deficit to turn the game into a rout, winning 68-38 at Brownwood Victory Life Friday.
The Pioneers finished the regular season 9-1 under first-year coach Kirby Rasco. He coached at Victory Life last season.
The Pioneers now advance to the TAPPS Six-Man Division II playoffs. They will face Lubbock Kingdom Prep (6-5) Saturday at 2 p.m. in Blackwell.
“They have a new turf six-man field, and we are excited to be playing there,” said Rasco.
The Pioneers trailed 18-16 at the half. But NCTA took a 30-18 lead into the final quarter, when combined for 50 points in that period, with the Pioneers outscoring Victory Life 30-20.
“Our kids came out flat the first half and Brownwood had a good plan,” said Rasco. “We thought they would come out ready to play because if they won, they would be in the playoffs.
“We played well the second half. They were having a hard time covering our receivers, and especially our guys out of the backfield.
“Angel (Tercero) started a little slow the first half. We talked at halftime and he came out and played lights out. All the kids played well the second half, everyone got to play some and we got out of there with a win.”
Tercero overcame throwing his first two interceptions of the season and finished with 430 yards of offense and seven touchdowns (one rushing, six passing).
Last season the Pioneers advanced to the TAPPS Six-Man Division II state championship game, losing to Fredericksburg Heritage. NCTA’s only loss this season was to top-ranked Notre Dame in Wichita Falls.
“Kingdom Prep was in our district last year and are a good team,” said Rasco of the upcoming playoff. “They only have eight kids but they get after you. Their quarterback is young but is very talented, and stoppiing him will be the key.
“We are now 100 percent healthy and ready for the playoffs to begin.”
Pioneers 68, Victory Life 38
NCTA 8 8 14 30 — 68
BWD VLA 10 8 0 20 – 38
Rushing – Angel Tercero 2-50, 1 TD; Josh Torres 10-34.
Passing – Tercero 18-30-2, 380 yards, 6 TDs.
Receiving – Torres 5-103, 1 TD; Elias Fekadu 4-138, 2 TDs; Caleb Finley 8-103, 2 TDs; Cole Rasco 1-38, 1 TD.
Tackles – Fekadu 13, Daniel Nzeakor 11, Tercero 9, Rasco 9, Torres 9, Cale Dodson 5.
Sacks – Nzeakor 2.
Interception – Fekadu 1.
Torres – 2 kick returns for 116 yards, 2 TDs.