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No. 8 Red Oak football continues torrid 4-0 start behind offensive showcase

By Travis M. Smith | Ellis County Sport

RED OAK — Fresh off a thrilling overtime win on national television, the Red Oak Hawks continued their undefeated start to the football season Friday night against Killeen Ellison. 

Red Oak (4-0, 2-0 in 4-5A DI) accounted for 425 total yards in the 49-18 victory at Billy Goodloe Stadium. The Hawk defense forced an astounding 7 (!!) turnovers and limited the Eagles to just 279 total yards.

The Hawks scored on four of their first five possessions to build a 28-0 lead with 10:30 to play in the second quarter. 

Last Friday’s two overtime heroes accounted for all four of those opening scores. Senior wideout Dylan Gayton rushed for a 15-yard touchdown to start the onslaught. Senior quarterback Reggie Moody Jr. then connected with junior Taz Williams Jr. (7 and 14 yards) and Chris Martinez (32 yards) on the following three Hawk drives.

Moody Jr. later connected with Gayton on the Hawks’ first drive of the second half to put quite the bow on his early-season production. The pitch and catch put Red Oak comfortably on top, 46-12, with 5:10 to play in the third quarter.

Moody Jr. has completed 73-of-his-115 passes (64%) for 1,076 yards and 12 touchdowns to 3 interceptions over the Hawks’ first four games. 

Williams Jr. has pulled in 5 touchdowns and 348 yards on 25 catches (all team-highs). Sophomore speedster Brayden Robinson has 14 catches for 261 yards and two scores in three contests, while Rodney Malone Jr. (12-191, TD) and Charles Taplin (9-124) have also crossed the 100-yard plateau. 

The Hawks have outscored their four opponents 134-68 on the season. More importantly, though, Red Oak has started the District 4-5A DI slate by scoring 11 touchdowns on 1,029 total yards in wins against Lake Belton and Killeen Ellison.

The Red Oak offense has just one turnover over those first two district games, too — a fourth-quarter interception with under 5 minutes to play Friday against Ellison. That lone turnover was returned 68 yards for an Eagle touchdown and “cut” the Red Oak lead to 49-18 with 5:04 to play in the game. 

LOOKING FORWARD

Killeen Shoemaker will pose as quite the road test at 7 p.m. Friday at Leo Buckley Stadium in Killeen. The Hawks defeated the Wolves 38-35 in 2022. 

Of course, the rivalry showdown against Midlothian could very well decide the district championship on Friday, Nov. 3 at Billy Goodloe Stadium. Those two opponents were selected by Dave Campbell’s Texas Football to finish second and third in 4-5A, respectively. 

With the offense rolling and defense gaining momentum weekly, games against Waco (Oct. 6), Cleburne (Oct. 13), Killeen (Oct. 20) and Granbury (Oct. 27) should be penciled in as wins — though the Hawks will most certainly have to show up and play to their potential. Trap games are real in football, and all four are more than capable of serving the role of spoiler.

As a reminder, DCTF predicted Red Oak to finish fourth in 4-5A DI. The unofficial gospel of Texas high school football noted that Red Oak would be “younger on the offensive front compared to other 5A teams” but “should be in the mix for the district title.”

The Lake Belton Broncos — who the Hawks defeated in spectacular overtime fashion to open district play — should’ve won the district title, according to DCTF. Thousands of folks saw that prediction take quite the hit on ESPN2

Moody Jr. accounted for over 420 total yards of offense and 6 touchdowns in that thrilling 38-34 overtime win. He was named the Methodist Midlothian Medical Center Player of the Week and also produced the Pearman Oil & LP Gas Play of the Week for the efforts. 

So here we are. Not only are the Hawks in the mix for the district title, but they hold the keys to their own destiny and seem to find new ways to click weekly. 

This ride is going to be fun. There’s no minimum height requirement. Hand the nice man at the turnstile your tickets, secure the safety harness once on board and enjoy this run into the 5A Division I postseason.

_____

Travis M. Smith, @Travis5mith

tsmith@elliscosports.com

About Travis M. Smith

Travis M. Smith is the owner and content director of Ellis County Sports and has over a decade of award-winning sports coverage. He most recently served as the digital sports director for KBEC 1390AM/99.1FM. He is the former managing editor of the Waxahachie Daily Light, Midlothian Mirror and Glen Rose Reporter.

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