Ah, sweet victory. Whenever it comes, it always goes down smooth.
Waco High showed some fourth-quarter fortitude, as Jerome Ratliff scored the go-ahead touchdown on the first play of the final quarter, and the Lions topped the Belton Tigers, 24-21, for their first win of 2019.
Waco High (1-8, 1-6 in 12-6A) held a 14-13 lead at the half, but the Tigers moved ahead 19-14 on Wriley Madden’s 2-yard quarterback keeper to paydirt early in the third quarter.
The Lions weren’t dead yet. On the opening play of the fourth quarter, Nate Reyna connected with Ratliff on a swing pass and the receiver did the rest, going 36 yards to the house to push Waco High to a 21-19 advantage.
Sammy Bacerra’s 34-yard field goal with 8:29 to go gave Waco High a little more breathing room. Belton (3-6, 3-4) had a couple of chances to try to answer, including getting to fourth-and-goal, but Waco High’s defense came through in the clutch, including Jamarcus Carprew’s sack of Madden on the Tigers’ final offensive play.
Jaydon Ridge rushed for 169 yards in the win for Waco High, while Ratliff made five catches for 125 yards and two TDs.
No. 3 San Saba 48, Crawford 28
SAN SABA — Garrett Pearson’s 1-yard touchdown plunge with 6:43 to play brought Crawford within a touchdown, but the third-ranked Armadillos tacked on two more touchdowns to wrap up the district title and top seed in District 7-2A Div. I.
On the next possession after Pearson gave Crawford (6-3, 3-1) some life, San Saba (9-0, 4-0) took the momentum back. Eli Salinas squirted loose on a 48-yard touchdown run that made it 41-28 in favor of the Armadillos with 6:02 to go.
Then San Saba’s Logan Glover iced the win for the home team when he intercepted the Pirates and raced 29 yards to the end zone for the final TD.
San Saba quarterback Sean O’Keefe had a monster effort, with four touchdown runs and more than 350 yards rushing.
Still, Crawford gave San Saba all it wanted, including scoring on a blocked punt in the first quarter that gave the Armadillos their first deficit of the season. Tate Abel had a 61-yard TD pass to Tanner Merenda for the Pirates, and Abel also ran for a 29-yard score late in the third quarter.
Everman 65, University 7
EVERMAN — The Bulldogs racked up 37 second-quarter points in eliminating the Trojans from playoff contention in District 5-5A Div. II.
University (4-5, 2-5) trailed only 14-7 after one quarter, very much in the thick of it. Jeremiah Stroupe capped off the Trojans’ 62-yard scoring drive in the opening quarter with a 12-yard touchdown run.
But Everman (3-6, 3-4) was just getting started. Quarterback Juan Davis, a Texas pledge, and running back Errick Mills fueled a Bulldog rushing attack that University struggled to slow down. For the game, Everman finished with more than 250 rushing yards.
University still has a chance to get to 3-5 in district next week, but the other three district teams currently sitting with three wins — Everman, Cleburne and Burleson — all defeated the Trojans, thus holding the tiebreaker.
Fairfield 26, Robinson 20 (OT)
FAIRFIELD — Justin Abram crushed Robinson’s playoff dreams.
The Fairfield quarterback provided both the game-tying score and the game-winner on keepers, and the Eagles rallied for an overtime win that eliminated the Rockets from postseason contention in District 8-4A Div. II.
For much of the game, the Rockets (5-4, 1-4) looked as though they would keep themselves in the mix, thanks in large part to a rugged defensive performance.
Robinson trailed early after a 21-yard Tyler Haynes field goal for Fairfield (6-3, 3-2) in the opening quarter, but after Malik Ford took off on a 52-yard touchdown run with roughly two minutes left in the first, the Rockets were off and running. It was Ford’s sixth rushing TD of the year.
The Rockets made it 13-3 on Joseph’s McHenry 55-yard strike to Mathew Armes in the waning moments of the first quarter. The Eagles did manage to block the ensuing extra-point try and return it all the way the other direction for two points, but the Rockets were clearly settling into a groove.
In the third quarter, Robinson’s defense even got in on the scoring fun when Jordan Rogers intercepted the Eagles and returned the ball 22 yards for a pick-six.
But Fairfield scored the final 21 points — JarMychael Hudson scored on a third-down carry with nine minutes to go, and then Abram’s 1-yard keeper with 38 seconds to play tied things up and sent the proceedings to overtime.
In the OT period, Robinson went first, but the Rockets couldn’t put any pressure on Fairfield, as the Eagles’ Angel Limones came up with a big interception. Shortly thereafter on their possession, the Eagles marched down to the doorstep, and Abram punched it in for the winning score.
Lorena 41, Madisonville 16
MADISONVILLE — Bradley Lina showed off his big-play arm and his legs in lifting Lorena to a District 8-4A win over the Mustangs.
Lina had 346 total yards of offense and had a hand in four touchdowns. He rushed for 150 yards, including a 95-yard highlight-reel jaunt midway through the second quarter. Lina also hit 9 of 19 passes for 196 yards and three TDs, all to the always elusive Ty Moore.
Moore finished with five grabs for 153 yards and those three end-zone excursions.
Cole George and A.J. Brem also scored touchdowns for Lorena (5-4, 2-3), which will host Mexia in a Week 11 clash next week.
Moody 35, Axtell 21
AXTELL — Ryder Hohhertz and Evan Norward supplied the gas for Moody’s running game, as the Bearcats topped the Longhorns for their first District 8-2A Div. I triumph.
Hohhertz had two drive-capping TD runs for Moody (2-7, 1-4), both in the first half as the Bearcats took a 21-7 halftime edge. Meanwhile, Norward showed off his dynamic big-play ability, as he got loose on TD scampers of 88 and 45 yards.
Laderius Sanders made a scoring catch and Koby Hollingsworth had a TD run for Axtell (1-8, 0-5), which was forced to play chase much of the night.
Aquilla 51, Gholson 6
AQUILLA — Connor McCurdy turned in a full night’s work in lifting the Cougars over the Wildcats in District 10-1A Div. I competition.
McCurdy scored on five of his eight carries on the night, totaling 149 rushing yards. He also was a beast defensively for Aquilla (3-6, 2-1), putting up 15 tackles and two tackles for losses.
The Cougars’ win, coupled with Abbott’s loss to Blum, means that longtime rivals Aquilla and Abbott will play next week for the district’s second playoff spot behind Blum.
Blum 48, Abbott 0
BLUM — Koby Clinkscales, Trey Bullard and Coltin Gonzales combined for four touchdown runs for the Bobcats, which clinched the outright District 10-1A Div. I championship and that league’s No. 1 playoff seed.
Blum (8-2, 4-0) averaged 14.9 yards per play. Clinkscales hit Blain Garza on a 23-yard pass with 29 seconds to go before halftime to clinch the 45-point mercy rule advantage. The Bobcats also came to work defensively, holding Abbott’s top rusher Kadyn Johnson to minus-eight yards.
Abbott (3-6, 1-2) isn’t out of the playoff hunt, as it will play rival Aquilla for the No. 2 seed next week.