O.J. touchdown run

O.J. Johnson dashes for one of his three touchdown runs during the Greenville Lions' 47-27 homecoming victory over Sulphur Springs on Friday night. The Lions will play at Royse City in a game that will determine the third and fourth playoff seeds from District 8-5A-II.

  The Greenville Lions and Royse City Bulldogs are headed back to the football playoffs after claiming zone victories on Friday.

  After crowning queen Maci Williams and king Caleb Johnson in pre-game homecoming ceremonies, the 4-2 Lions celebrated homecoming with a 47-27 victory over Sulphur Springs. The Lions completed District 8-5A-II zone play with a 2-1 record to finish second in their zone behind 3-0 North Forney, which blanked Corsicana 42-0 on Friday night.

  Sulphur Springs dropped to 1-4 for the season and at 1-2 in zone play is out of playoff contention.

  District 8-5A-II went to the zone concept after three district teams, including Greenville, Sulphur Springs and Crandall were sidelined by COVID-19.

  The Lions are to play at 4-2 Royse City at 7:30 p.m. on Friday to determine playoff seeding though the Greenville ISD announced on Sunday that all GISD campuses and facilities are closed for the week.

  “Greenville ISD will be shutting all campuses and district facilities all week (Monday, Nov. 16-Friday, Nov. 20) due to a rise in the number of COVID-19 cases and exposures across the district,” according to a post on the GISD homepage. “We realize the stress this causes for everyone, but COVID exposures have put more than 10% of our staff and students in quarantine. With so many people out, on campus classes cannot be covered, even using all available staff and substitute teachers.

  “Coaches will be in touch about practice and game schedules,” according to the post.

  Royse City finished at 2-1 in zone play after whipping Crandall 45-22 on Friday night.

  Ennis and North Forney will battle for the top two 8-5A-II playoff berths after the two state-ranked teams finished at 3-0 in zone play. Ennis clobbered Forney 63-10 on Friday night and North Forney blanked Corsicana 42-0.

  Greenville and Royse City were scheduled to play in Greenville earlier this season but the game was called off because the Lions had missed two weeks of practice due to COVID-19. Since that game was called off the zone playoff was scheduled for Royse City.

  Sulphur Springs used strong ground game to lead the Lions 7-0, 14-7 and 21-20 in the first half before the Lions pulled away, capitalizing on their superior speed.

  The Lions rushed for 329 yards, including 149 yards on 18 carries by Miles Denson and a career-high 137 yards on 15 carries by O.J. Johnson. Denson scored on runs of 11 and 19 yards and Johnson scored on bursts of 55, 24 and 25 yards.

  Lions coach Darren Duke said Johnson’s “been kind of coming along. Him and Hue (Pitts) are both good backs. OJ’s had a couple more opportunities lately and has taken advantage of them.”

  Denson’s 11-yard touchdown run was a work of art. He was hemmed in by the Wildcat defense for an apparent loss but reversed his field and then jetted through the Wildcat defense, using his 4.3 speed in the 40-yard dash.

  Quarterback Brandon Stephens also ran for 48 yards on eight carries, including a 5-yard touchdown, and was 6-of-12 passing for 155 yards. Wide receiver Shawn Brown caught two passes for 117 yards, including a   58-yard TD connection and a 59-yarder that featured some tough running after the catch.

  Royse City quarterback Joe Veracruz was 22-of-29 passing for 301 yards and five touchdowns during the Bulldogs’ rout of Crandall.

  Champ Petty-Dozier ran for 120 yards and one TD on five carries. Tyson Neighbors ran for 68 yards on seven carries and Sam Mitchum rushed for 54 yards on 15 carries.

  Ketron Jackson led the Royse City receivers with seven catches for 144 yards and three TDs.


  The Godley Wildcats got some big plays from Caden Burke, Kolby Bartlett and Parker Priddy to beat Quinlan Ford 41-12 in a Class 4A-II bi-district football game on Friday.

Ford, which finished third in District 6-4A-II, finished the season with a 6-3 record.

  Godley, now 7-4, advances to the area round to play No. 3 Gilmer, a 54-21 bi-district winner over Canton.

  Burke was 12-of-22 passing for 261 yards and a touchdown and ran for a touchdown.

  Bartlett rushed for 241 yards and four TDs on 19 carries.

  Priddy caught nine passes for 219 yards.

  Ford, which was averaging 381.8 yards rushing per game, ran for 295 yards. Ja’Donavan Williams ran for a team-high 113 yards on 19 carries to pass the 1,000-yard rushing mark for the season.

  Rowdy Rowan ran for 86 yards and a touchdown on 16 carries.

  Marquizs Graham rushed for 38 yards on three carries.

  Eli Chambers also ran for a 3-yard touchdown and was 4-of-10 passing for 43 yards.


  Caddo Mills’ Class 4A-II area playoff game against 7-4 Van is set for 7 p.m. Friday at Mesquite Memorial Stadium.

  Caddo Mills, now 10-0 for the season, opened the playoffs with a 60-0 win over Hillsboro.

  Van won its bi-district playoff 34-0 over Liberty-Eylau.


The 10-0 Fannindel Falcons will face 8-3 Gordon in the second round of the Class A-II six-man playoffs at 6:30 p.m. Friday in Bowie. Fannindel beat Lueders-Avoca 62-12 and Gordon outscored Morgan, 30-28.

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