Everywhere you looked over the weekend, there was exciting high school football.
Well, almost everywhere. Graham’s 42-point explosion in the first half against Estacado left me and the other Shotwell Stadium press people bored in the second half. It had lots of runs into the middle of the line by the Steers’ reserves.
But other than that, the area produced plenty of memorable moments.
You had O.J. Clark stripping a Canutillo defender at the 1-yard line and blocking a field goal that was returned for a touchdown. Oh, and he also caught an 84-yard TD pass in Old High’s 19-10 win.
You also had Vernon, without its starting quarterback, rallying from 28-12 down against Shallowater to pull within two points before the Mustangs closed out the Lions with one final drive.
You had Crowell, without its top running back in Lex Bond (who was injured), get three second-half touchdowns from Daniel Clark to punch its ticket to the state semis. In my opinion, the Wildcats are a big favorite to take the Div. I title now.
And our only game Friday – Newcastle’s 64-62 win over Strawn, also was pretty fun to cover. The Bobcats were down 24-6 early but had a huge touchdown right before half and won in the last two minutes with a TD and a defensive stop.
However, none of those games could quite match the absolute craziness of these three games I’m about to link. There were a couple other high-profile thrillers: Euless Trinity 42, Southlake Carroll 38 and Argyle 45, Gilmer 38.
But I’d have to say these three take the cake:
1) So you’re telling me perennial power Denton Ryan falls behind 31-0 before even getting a first down against Keller Fossil Ridge. And then the Raiders score 42 consecutive points in the second half to pull off a wild 42-37 comeback?
2) Or how about Refugio’s 73-72 overtime win over Rogers. Refugio quarterback Travis Quintanilla broke Garrett Gilbert’s all-time career passing yards mark with 712 yards and Rogers rushed for 602 yards.
Rogers blew a fourth-quarter lead by scored with two seconds left in regulation to tie the game at 66-66. Then the Rogers kicker missed his fourth PAT, sending the game into overtime.
3) And then there was almost the biggest upset of the weekend Friday in Abilene. Big Spring played keepaway perfectly and took a 36-34 lead over defending champ Stephenville with 36 seconds left.
But Stephenville drove down the field and Division I-caliber QB Jarrett Stidham threw a 21-yard TD pass with four seconds left. The Yellow Jackets added a defensive TD on the last play of the game for a 47-36 win.
* I feel like I write this every week, but if you play pretty good defense and your special teams are pretty solid, you’re going to have a chance to win every week. That’s the Coyotes’ formula this season, and it has been rewarded with an improbable run to the state quarterfinals.
* I’m excited for Graham to finally get tested into the fourth quarter. It’s been a while – since early October against Vernon. Covering Ben Davis is fun, but I usually only see him play a half or a little bit into the third quarter.
* How cool would it be if Crowell and Newcastle made their state title debuts in two weeks at AT&T Stadium?
* Vernon was the only area team to lose this weekend. Kudos to the Lions for another stellar season. Mark Bateman has that proud program back on track, and I’m excited for the upcoming years.
* Check out the extended forecast for this weekend. Could be another dicey ice/snow problem like we had two weeks ago.
* I know it’s no consolation to Seymour, but New Deal topping No. 1 Stratford certainly makes the Panthers’ 41-17 loss on Monday look better.
* We’re up to 1,112 miles driven the past two weeks covering area high school playoff football. No complaints – I absolutely love this time of year.
But if I have to hear Miley Cyrus’ “Wrecking Ball” one more time on the radio, I might be tempted to go out and get satellite radio.
* One more travel note – I’ve got a pretty good streak of 10 years covering area footbal without hitting a deer. I hope that stretch continues, but I have a feeling it’s going to run out sometime. Saw about 15 on the side of the road coming back from Mineral Wells on Friday night. Glad they didn’t like bright lights.