HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL: Andrews, Springtown to meet in delayed playoff game

The Andrews football team will play Springtown in a Class 4A Division I area playoff game at 2 p.m. Monday at the Mustang Bowl in Sweetwater.

The game, originally scheduled for Friday at the same venue, was postponed following the crash of a bus carrying the Andrews band that resulted in three people being killed, including Mustangs band director Darin K. Johns and Marc Boswell, the driver of the bus who also was a statistician for the football team.

The bus was traveling east on Interstate 20 when it was struck by a F-350 traveling west in the eastbound lanes.

“We were nearly to Sweetwater when we got a call that there had been an accident,” Andrews head coach Ralph Mason said. “At about 5:30 p.m. our superintendent and their (Springtown) superintendent starting talking and they assured us they work with us.

“The thing is, the game of football, at a time like this, is very small in the grand scheme of things. Our kids, even before we knew the game was going to be postponed, one of our captains told the team ‘this is bigger than us’ and it is.”

Sweetwater High School announced on social media that its band will step in for the Mustangs and play at the game, with several other bands ready to assist Andrews as well if needed.

Andrews, the District 2-4A DI champion, comes into the game with a 5-6 record after defeating Fabens 73-0 in the bi-district round on Nov. 12.

The Mustangs have won three games in a row and will face a team riding a four-game winning streak.

Springtown (8-3) was the third-place finisher in District 4-4A DI.

The teams most recently met in the regional quarterfinals in 2019, with Springtown earning a 63-20 victory.

The Mustangs are led by junior quarterback EJ Lopez, who has completed 212 of 357 passes for 2,655 yards and 25 touchdowns.

Senior running back Brock Tijerina leads the ground game with 509 yards on 110 yards, with seven touchdowns, while junior wide receivers Jaylon Jones (38 catches, 478 yards, 10 touchdowns) and Gehrig Morris (31-455-4) have been Lopez’s top targets.

Defensively, linebacker Luis Cervantes paces the Mustangs with 89 tackles, including 16 tackles for loss, with Jaxon Lawdermilk chipping in seven sacks.

“The game of football teaches us many lessons that we carry on in life,” Mason said. “Even unexpected things like what is happening now.

“You need family and we have a family in our football team, our families, our school, friends and community. It’s important for family to come together and provide some sort of healing and this game might provide a bit of healing.”

The Porcupines, who reached the regional final last season, are led by sophomore quarterback Hudson Hulett, who is 113-of-251 passing for 1,756 yards and 18 touchdowns.

Senior running back Matthew Lockard is the main offense threat, with 95 carries for 872 yards and 12 touchdowns. Hulett has added 603 yards on 110 carries, with eight touchdowns.

Speck Behle is the top receiver with 34 catches for 536 yards and five touchdowns.

Defensively, Dawson Jones and Lockard led the way with 99 and 95 tackles, respectively.

>> Follow Lee Scheide on Twitter at @OALeeScheide