GRAND PRAIRIE, Texas -- Amid the Mansfield Timberview celebration after its 44-19 Class 5A Division II bi-district victory over Colleyville Heritage, there was a moment of sadness, too.
After receiving the bi-district championship trophy Friday night, coach Mark Walker and the Timberview players huddled and took a moment to look up and point to the sky.
It was their way of remembering Cody McCarty, the Timberview offensive coordinator who coached his last game in this very same Gopher-Warrior Bowl before dying a couple of days later in a Burleson hospital. That happened just five weeks ago.
“We think about Coach McCarty all the time,’’ said Timberview running back Josh Smith, who rushed for 230 yards and three touchdowns and also caught a 52-yard touchdown pass. “He’s always with us, giving the team strength.’’
Said Walker: “Because this is the place where Cody called his last game, it is emotional and bittersweet. He’d be all happy and yelling right now. It’s his offense.’’
Smith, a junior, is among the smallest Timberview players at 5-foot-5 and 170 pounds but came up big.
“I don’t want to sound arrogant, but when I’m running, I don’t care how big the other guys are, I don’t think they can stop me," he said. "But I couldn’t do it without my line. The holes were there and all I had to do was run through them.’’
Walker said Smith runs on heart. “When we lost Talo Pascal to injury, Josh stepped in and hasn’t let up.’’
Smith scored the first two touchdowns on runs of 1 and 23 yards to open a 14-0 Timberview lead. He added a 79-yarder to go with a 52-yard pass reception in the second half.
Timberview (9-2) quarterback Chuck Taylor threw for 126 yards and added 106 rushing.
Colleyville Heritage (9-2) had trouble getting its passing game going against an aggressive Timberview defensive backfield. Junior quarterback Cody Thomas completed 17-of-43 passes for 207 yards and two touchdowns, but was intercepted four times.
Heritage also lost a costly fumble near the Timberview goal line when it trailed only 14-0.
“Timberview is the best team we’ve faced,’’ Heritage coach Mike Fuller said. “They’re the most athletic by a mile and the most physical. They outplayed us in every facet. It looked like they wanted it more than we did. Their defensive backs did a good job keeping our receivers from getting downfield. We had too many penalties, too, especially on their first drive.’’
Timberview’s Smith returned the compliment.
“That’s a good team we played tonight," he said. "We knew we could never afford to let up.’’
The Wolves (9-2) will play an area playoff game at 5 p.m. next Saturday at Cowboys Stadium against the winner of the Flower Mound Marcus-Keller Fossil Ridge bi-district game.