ABILENE, Texas — The Muleshoe express continued to roll Saturday — right into the Texas Class 2A Division I state championship game.
Senior quarterback Wes Wood completed an efficient 19-of-23 passes for 174 yards and a touchdown, and he and cousin Lane Wood each ran for two scores as the Mules pulled away in the second half for a 35-10 semifinal win over Pilot Point.
The Mules (14-0) face Kirbyville (13-0), a 61-42 winner over Altair Rice on Friday night, in Saturday’s 6 p.m. (CST) championship game at the Gopher Bowl in Grand Prairie, Texas.
Trailing 10-6 after a safety midway through the second quarter, the Mules got the go-ahead score on Lane Wood’s 8-yard TD run with just over a minute left in the half and pulled away from there.
“They kept us in check the first half,” Mules coach David Wood said. “It seemed like every time we got something going, a penalty would push us back.”
The late-half score, though, turned the tide.
“We felt good (at halftime) because we felt like we were in control,” David Wood said. “We came in at halftime and said, ‘We’ve got to just play our game.’
“We came out in the second half and did a great job.”
Wes Wood threw a 7-yard scoring pass to Nathaniel Chavez and then added a 1-yard sneak for a score in the third quarter. Lane Wood’s 7-yard run early in the fourth finished it off.
With 60 touchdown passes coming into the game, Wes Wood was limited to one TD toss by the Bearcats (11-2). Muleshoe’s normally pass-happy offense was balanced in this game — 168 yards rushing, 174 passing.
Meantime, the Mules’ defense limited Pilot Point to 245 total yards.
“They played outstanding,” David Wood said. “We’ve played great defense since the start of district. I don’t think they’re afraid of anything.”
Lane Wood finished with 123 rushing yards on 14 carries, and also caught five passes for 57 yards.
The Mules will be playing in their first state championship game. They reached the semifinals while competing in Class 3A in 2001.
David Wood said he expected this season would be a good one, but didn’t know how far the Mules could go.
“Reality sets in after you play two or three games,” he said. “We felt about midway through the season that, hey, we’ve got something special here.”