When it comes to the playoffs, sometimes anything goes. For the run-heavy Holland Hornets, no strangers to the postseason or adapting to their circumstances, that meant going airborne last week.

Holland, which entered its Class 2A Division I bi-district contest against Jewett Leon with two passing touchdowns, got three such scores from Desi Cantu in a 40-7 rout that boosted the Hornets (9-2) into an area-round matchup at 7 tonight in Athens against Shelbyville (7-4).

Holland is one of four small schools still afloat after Round 1, including Granger, Holy Trinity Catholic and Academy, which played Winnie East Chambers late Thursday night in a game that did not end before press time.

“They had too many people in the box and it was just running into a brick wall,” said Holland head coach Brad Talbert, whose team still churned out 327 yards rushing against Leon. “And (the receivers) were wide open because there were just too many people up (front). They were all off of play-action passes.”

Cantu found Klay Pursche for scores of 48 and 49 yards, and also connected with Christian Michalek on a 51-yard TD. Pursche also had a 34-yard score on an interception return and a TD on a 64-yard run as part of his huge game.

“It’s in the kids being able to execute those plays,” Talbert said. “We’ve been practicing those plays for weeks now. Desi did a good job of throwing and the other kids did a good job of catching and taking them to the house.”

Much like most of the fall, though, the Hornets relied on a dominant defense and a deep stable of ball-carriers to keep Leon at bay. Holland surrendered just 132 yards to lower its average 207.9 yards per game, second-best in the area.

Tonight, the Hornets will try to slow down the Dragons’ rushing threats of quarterback Jakory Standley (1,037 yards rushing, 11 TDs) and Zay Cartwright (1,506 yards rushing, 18 TDs).

“They’re about a 60-40 run team, but they do throw the deep ball and will throw some quick screens,” Talbert said. “We hope to stay physical and be disciplined and do our assignments and get after it.”

Granger pushes forward after win

Being in the area round is not a new thing for the Lions, who have made the postseason each year since 2015 and won six playoff games in that span.

But making a push past Thanksgiving is something that hasn’t happened as often in Granger, the last time being a 2007 trip to the state semifinals.

Should the Lions (10-0) have their way this year, that drought will end.

“So the goal and the mission, obviously, all year long is to make a deep run,” head coach Stephen Brosch said. “That’s one thing that hasn’t happened in Granger in a while, is making a deep push, and by that, I’m talking regional finalist or more. And we all know this happens one game at a time. We have a great opportunity in front of us and a chance for us to attain those goals that we set out to.”

In order to get there, the Lions next must get past Yorktown (8-3), which averages 42 points per game and clobbered Sabinal, 62-20, in the opening round.

Granger will kick off vs. Yorktown at 7 tonight at San Antonio Davenport.

Brosch said Yorktown is a balanced team with a playmaker at quarterback in senior Drew Alexander (2,536 yards passing 26 TDs), as well as a few weapons at skill spots such as wide receivers Kalen Barefield (60 catches, 1,197 yards, 15 TDs) and De’Quan Clay (905 total yards, 11 TDs).

“The quarterback, he makes plays,” Brosch said. “The relationships and chemistry he has with his two go-to guys, it’s something you can’t teach as a coach. What makes them special is the quarterback’s ability to improvise when things go off-script.”

Granger’s defense has been a strength all year and ranks as the area’s best, limiting opponents to 205.1 yards per game after holding Miles to just 114 yards in last week’s 41-10 bi-district win.

Offensively, run-oriented Granger got a boost last week by the return of leading rusher Donnie Cantwell (717 yards rushing, 10 TDs), a senior who missed the previous few weeks to injury.

Brosch said having the two-way starter Cantwell — also a linebacker — return had a trickle-down effect, allowing the Lions to better fit their personnel into the most optimal spots.

“At our level specifically, getting a piece back like that is huge,” Brosch said.

While Granger likes to establish the run early and will try to do so tonight, it is more than willing to adapt to what its opponent is showing.

“We’re very multi-dimensional,” Brosch said. “We’re going to go with what’s working and, if we need to adjust, I have confidence in our staff that we’ll make those adjustments when the situation arises.”

Holy Trinity making playoff noise again

After posting the first postseason win in program history last year, the Celtics are back at it again this year following last week’s 64-52 victory over San Antonio Castle Hills.

“The boys are on cloud nine,” head coach James Shelton said. “It’s something we tried to get started last year. This year, expectations were there, but we lost so many starters (from last year’s team), and with the injuries and that adversity we had to go through, we overcame so much more and we’ve upset a lot of people as underdogs.”

Holy Trinity (6-5) got five touchdowns from Zaylin Blackwood last week as it eased to a 36-8 halftime lead and held on from there.

“Offensively, we had one of the best games we’ve had in a long time,” said Shelton, whose team got TD passes to five receivers from quarterback Jace Martin. “Everything kind of clicked and the boys ran the game plan, and it turned out really well for us.”

Holy Trinity draws Conroe Covenant Christian (9-1), which averages 48 points per game and has posted three shutouts this year, at 5 p.m. Saturday at Bryan Brazos.

Shelton said most of the Cougars’ success relies on Kade Houston, a running back and linebacker who stars on both sides of the ball.

“As a whole, they don’t have many weaknesses,” Shelton said. “They’re very well-coached, very disciplined. I have nothing but respect for their team and I think it’s going to be a heck of a showdown. It’s going to come down to their defense or our defense. Who’s going to step up and make that play or get that turnover?”