Collecting the only points that were posted in the second half, Columbus edged Rockdale 20-19 at Merrill Green Stadium Friday night in a Class 3A, Division II bi-district affair.
Rockdale—which finishes 5-6 on the season—was making a school record fourth straight playoff appearance.
The 8-3 Cardinals press on to face 10-1 Coldspring in the area round. Coldspring knocked the Tigers out of the playoffs last season in area.
On a cold and rainy evening, Rockdale was shutout in the second half for the first time this season, despite numerous opportunities to take the lead.
“It’s really difficult to swallow,” said Rockdale Coach Jeff Miller, “when you are in a game where you felt like you should have won.
Trailing 20-19 heading into the fourth quarter, neither team put any points on the scoreboard and the Tiger offense could get no closer than the Columbus 28- yard line, while the defense held the Cardinals at bay.
After Ethan Brinkley’s punt pinned Columbus down at the nine-yard line and the defense forced a four-and-out punt, the Tigers had the ball at the 32-yard line.
“That all worked out perfectly,” Miller said. “We had two time outs and the wind’s at our back.”
In one last-gasp attempt with 2 minutes, 3 seconds remaining to be played, Terral Dixon picked up four yards on first down before Brinkley threw incomplete for J.J. Lewis.
On third down, Cardinal linebacker Phillip Leyendecker burst through the line and sacked Brinkley and he fumbled as he tried to throw.
Tiger lineman Dillan Schnerr pounced on the ball, which was now resting on the 46-yard line.
Facing fourth-and-24, Brinkley looked one last time for Brooks, but the desperation pass was batted down by Columbus defensive back Laird Tolliver and the Tigers’ season was over with 1:05 left.
“We just didn’t establish enough good drives,” Miller said. “It was either big play or bust. We had some big plays, but you’ve got to sustain the football and control the clock. Columbus was very physical and aggressive and they can chew up the clock. We didn’t do that.”
The second ha lf was in direct contrast of the first half when both teams combined for 26 points in the first 8:29 of the contest and three touchdowns were scored on the first six plays of the game.
After Brooks was corralled for a loss on the first play of the game, Dixon sprinted through the line on a counter and went untouched for 64 yards with only 49 seconds ticked off the clock.
Noe Zelaya missed the extra point, but had a second chance after a Columbus penalty, but missed again, leav ing a 6 - 0 lead.
Columbus countered on the first play of its next possession 19 seconds later as Cordrick Carter took a reverse handoff and scampered 61 yards to give the Cardinals a 7-6 lead after the successful extra point.
After Brooks gained six yards on the first two plays on the Tigers’ next possession, he broke free on the left side for a 78-yard touchdown and after Brooks was stopped short on a failed twopoint conversion, Rockdale held a 12-7 lead.
After the Tigers failed to take advantage of a four th dow n hold by the defense, Columbus used a 46-yard pass completion from Stephen Glueck to Dari’yon Shorter that moved the ball to the Tiger 20-yard line.
Five plays later, Glueck snuck in from the one for a 14-12 advantage.
After forcing another punt, Rockdale took the lead and the momentum into the locker room at halftime when the Tigers went 87 yards on seven plays in 1:50 to grab a 19-14 lead.
Di xon scooted for r uns of 39 and 11 yards and a 15-yard unsportsmanlike penalty against the Cardinals moved the ball to the 22.
Five plays later, Brinkley drilled a seven-yard pass to J.J. Lewis on a slant in the end zone for the lead.
“On that drive, we really did dominate,” said Miller. “The backs made some good cuts and we had some good throws.
“I felt like if we could start the second half like that, we’d be in good shape, but we didn’t get it done.”
Columbus took the lead for good on its second possession of the half on a short field when Plante culminated a 41-yard drive by bulling over from the six to make the score 20-19 with 6:25 left in the third quarter.
Neit her team would score again.
Plante led the Cardinals with 99 yards on 24 carries.
Dixon saved his best for last, running for a career-high 176 yards, including the 63-yard score on the second play of the game.
Brooks, who set a new school record for single season rushing, ran for 105 yards, with 78 of that coming on one touchdown run on the Tigers’ fifth play of the game.
Rockdale outgained Columbus 316 to 259 and the two teams combined for just 82 yards passing.
Of the Tigers’ 278 yards rushing, 220 came in the first half.
“We played harder in the second half, but we just didn’t get any thing going,” Miller said. “They just outplayed us.”
|• Junior Daniel Brooks||set two new|
|school||rushing||marks||in 2010. He|
|established a||new mark||by running|
|for 324||yards in a game||and a singles|
|eason r||ecord w||ith 1 ,696 y ards.|
|• Here are the top||career rushers|
|• Here are||the top||single-season|
• Brooks needs four touchdowns to tie Blade Bassler’s record for touchdowns in a career (35).
• Brooks also led the Tigers in receptions with 18 for 126 yards and interceptions with four, which was also tops in Disytrict 23-3A. Twelve different receivers caught passes this season.
• Terral Dixon finished his career with 1,664 yards rushing and 22 touchdowns.
• This Tiger senior class went 26-19 in four years.
• The Tigers are 1-4 in playoff games under Miller, who is 28-27 in five years at Rockdale and 63-48 overall in 12 years.
• And then there was one. Navasota was the lone District 23-3A team to live another day in the playoffs after defeating No. 6 Sealy 33-17. The Rattlers take on Huffman Hargrave in the area round. Giddings’ season was ended again by Brookshire-Royal, 20-13, to finish 5-5.
• Thanks to a big contribution from former Tiger Tyler Wright, Granbury earned a playoff position for the first time since 1977 with a 6-4 record. Wright led the Pirates in receiving with 45 catches for 1,078 yards and nine touchdowns. He averaged 27 yards per catch. He played sparingly on defense with 18 tackles and a pick. Wright followed his step father and former Tiger coach Earl Gandy to Class 4A Granbury. The jubilation was shortlived as the Pirates fell to 11-0 and No. 7 ranked Waco Midway 51-14 on Friday in Corsicana. Wright had a huge night however, snaring nine passes for 141 yards and the Pirates only two touchdowns
• Here is a list of the Tiger seniors—1-Terral Dixon RB/DB; 2- Casey Burrough WR/DB; 7-J.J. Lewis WR/DB; 9-Austin Morrow WR/DB; 10- Jared Carpenter TE/LB; 11-Anthony Montoya FB/LB; 12-Richard Vasquez FB/DB; 25-Anthony Fisher TE/LB; 55-Steven Blythe OL/DL; 57-David Monroe OL/DL; 62-LeRaven Clark OL/DL; 71-Sal Bishop OL/DL; 72-Jeremiah Hal OL/DL; 76-Dillan Schnerr OL; 90-Cassius Moore K.
TIGER SEASON LEADERS
Rushing—Brooks 215-1,696 20 TD; Dixon 117-836 11 TD; Palmo 39-222 2 TD, Nelson 7-3, Burrough 2-1, Carpenter 3-(-7), Moore 2-(-17), Moore 2- (-17), Brinkley 42- (-70).
Passing—Brinkley 71-167-9, 825 yards, 9 TD; Dixon 0-1-0; Carpenter 0-2-0.
Receiving—Brooks 18-126, Dixon 11-151 3 TD, Lewis 16-243 3 TD, Goodman 12-125 TD, Palmo 2-8, Garza 7-129, Hayes 1-16, Carpenter 2-11 TD, Morrow 1-16, Alonzo 1-7 TD, Palmo 1-3, White 1- (-2).
Tackles—David, D. 76, David, J. 64, Burrough 58, Hayes 58, Montoya 46, Clark 51, Morrow 48, Vasquez 39, Bishop 33, Schneider 27, Kirk 23, Garcia 18, Brooks 17, Carpenter 16, David, P. 23, Dixon 19, Estrada 10, Fisher 7, Moore 6, Hall 6, Blythe 5, Lewis 5, Alonzo 3, Macias 2, Nelson 2, Garza 1, McQuinn 1.
|19; Navasota 33,||Sealy||17;||Brookshire-|
|This week—Navasota||vs. Huffman-|
|12 First downs||12|
|44 Passing yards||38|
|259 Total offense||316|
|Score by quarters|
|Columbus 14 0||6 0—20|
|Rockdale 12 7||7 0—19|
|ROCKDALE—Terral Dixon 64 run (kick|
|COLUMBUS—Cordrick Car ter||61 run|
|(Jacob Christen kick) 10:52|
|ROCKDALE—Daniel Brooks 78 run (run|
|COLUMBUS—Stephen Glueck||1 run|
|(Christen kick) 3:31|
|ROCKDALE—J.J. Lewis 7 pass from Ethan|
|Brinkley (Noe Zelaya kick) :41|
|COLUMBUS—Hunter Plante 6 run (pass|
|TD, Brooks 15-105 TD, Brinkley 5-(-3).|
|COLUMBUS: Plante 24-99 TD.|
|PASSING—ROCKDALE: Brinkley 5-15-0,|
|38 yards TD. CALDWELL: Glueck 4-10-0,|
|TD, Hayes 1-16, Goodman 1-11, Brooks|
|1-(-5). COLUMBUS—Shorter 1-46.|
|TACKLES—David, D. 16, David, J. 11,|
|Burrough 11, Morrow 7.|