Overtime thriller goes green
Taylor scatback Isaac Franco started left, then cut back and raced into the end zone for a 7-yard TD run in the third overtime, lifting the Ducks to a 34-28 victory that ranks among the most exciting in the series’ storied nine-decade history.
Each team had scored a TD and kicked a PAT in its second overtime possession—teams get the ball at the 25— to leave the game knotted 28-28. Neither team scored in its first “extra innings” chance, although Rockdale came close.
Duck senior Jeremy Snyder caught Austin Caffey from behind at the Tiger 3, foiling what would have been a game-winning 90-yard fumble recovery TD return.
(It wouldn’t have counted anyway. The Tigers drew a flag for excessive celebration. But Snyder’s desparation tackle made the flag a moot point.)
Taylor, which used its run-oriented “pistol” offense to outgain RHS 479-274, had already blown plenty of chances to do just that.
The Ducks, leading 21-14, appeared to be moving toward the clinching score midway through the fourth quarter. But Franco left the ball on the ground at the Blue 47, Rockdale’s Patrick Trejo scooped it up and scooted 48 yards to the Duck 5.
On the next snap, Tiger Elijah Brooks scored the second of his three TDs, Noe Zelaya kicked the PAT and it was, shockingly, tied, 21-21, with 7:37 left in the game.
Three times Taylor could have put the game away with what amounted to a PAT-length place kick. But twice the Ducks, missing regular kicker Miguel Morales to grades, shied away from the kicking game, as it turned out, with good reason.
The Ducks had second and goal from the Tiger 5 in the third quarter, didn’t kick and came away with nothing on big hits by Blue defenders David James, Ladontice Coats, Markus Hayes and Gabriel McQuinn.
With 11 seconds left in regulation, Taylor drove to the Rockdale 2. This time coach Rusty Purser elected to try and win the game with a 20-yard field goal by backup kicker Dylan Townsend. The ball faded right. Points in any of those situations would have given Taylor the win without overtime.
It started out like Baylor-West Virginia. The teams put 5 TD’s on the scoreboard in the first 13:25. But the only other score in regulation came in the fourth quarter and needed Trejo’s big fumble return to make it happen.
In between, Rockdale’s Brooks (21 carries for 124 yards) and Taylor’s Raymond Rodriguez (25 for 101) and Justin Deary (19 for 145) picked up plenty of real estate, much of it on second effort, but defenses made key stops to end drives short of goal lines.
Taylor struck at 9:03 of the first quarter when Snyder found Franco over the middle, the Duck speedster cut to the right sideline and was gone 54 yards to the game’s first score. Townsend’s PAT kick was true and Taylor led 7-0.
Rockdale came out throwing. Brinkley dialed Trejo for 11 yards, Caffey for gains of 7 and 19 and Brooks roared over the left side 12 yards for the TD. Zelaya added the PAT kick and it was tied 7-7 with 6:32 left in the first period.
Taylor stopped Brooks two inches short on a fourth-and-1 at the Blue 45. On the next snap, speedster Deary took a pitch left and showed the Tigers his heels down the left sideline. The 45-yard TD run, and Townsend’s PAT kick, put Taylor up 14-7 at the 3:19 mark.
Big Blue showed it could strike quickly, too. Devante Burgess returned the kickoff 29 yards to the Taylor 43. Brooks got the first down with runs of 8 and 6 yards, then Brinkley connected with Trejo, whose second and third efforts put the ball in the end zone on the 29-yard TD play. Zelaya’s PAT tied it 14-14 with 2:12 left in the first quarter.
Taylor reclaimed the lead on a 64-yard drive that slowed down the game’s pace, consuming the rest of the first quarter and almost two minutes of the second. Snyder hit David Ancira on a key 33-yard completion. Snyder got the 1-yard TD by three inches in a fourth-and-goal shoving match of big bodies. Townsend added the PAT kick and Taylor led 21-14 with 10:35 to go in the half.
Overtime is a game all by itself. RHS went for broke on the first play of its first possession but Fred Kerley intercepted Brinkley’s pass.
Rockdale returned the compliment seconds later when Caffey stripped the ball from Deary at the Tiger 10—as Taylor was apparently driving to the game-winner—and headed coastto coast. But Snyder tracked him down at the Duck 3.
Taylor drove to a 10-yard TD run by Franco on its second OT possession. Townsend’s PAT kick made it 28-21 Taylor.
Brinkley hit Caffey for a 21-yard pass to the 3 on Rockdale’s second OT possession. Brooks went over from there. Zelaya’s PAT knotted the game again, 28-28.
But it was not to be.
On its third OT possession Rockdale drew a procedure penalty, then was flagged for having a lineman downfield on a pass play. Blaine Johnson and Roland Espinosa sacked Brinkley on fourth down setting up Franco’s last TD, finally giving the Ducks the win in the longest game of the once-legendary rivalry.
The loss drops Rockdale to 0-1 in Disrtrict 18-3A, 3-4 overall, while Taylor, also 3-4, grabs an early share of the loop lead at 1-0.
|9 First downs||22|
|282 Rushing yards||324|
|129 Passing yards||155|
|274 Total offense||479|
|Score by quarters|
|TAYLOR—Isaac Franco, 54||pass||from Jeremy|
|Snyder (Dylan Townsend||kick)||9:03|
|Zelaya kick) 6:32|
|TAYLOR—Justin Deary 45 run||(||Townsend|
|ROCKDALE—Patrick Trejo, 48||pass||from|
|Ethan Brinkley (Zelaya kick)||9:||03|
|TAYLOR—Snyder 1 run (||Townsend||kick)|
|ROCKDALE—Brooks 5 run (||Zelaya||kick)|
|TAYLOR—Franco 10 run (||Townsend||kick)|
|ROCKDALE—Brooks 3 run (||Zelaya||kick)|
|TAYLOR—Franco 7 run (run||failed)|
RUSHING—ROCKDALE: Brooks 21-124;
3TD, Coats 1-0, Hayes 2-4, Brinkley 4-0,
Ramey 1-(-3). TAYLOR—Deary 19-145, 1
TD; Rodriguez 25-101, Franco 14-75, 2
TD; Snyder 7-(-18), 1 TD).
PASSING—ROCKDALE: Brinkley 11-22-
1, 129 yards. TAYLOR: Snyder 7-16-0,
RECEIVING—ROCKDALE: Caffey 4-61,
Trejo 2-41, Gibbs 1-19, Loth 1-8, Burgess
3-0. TAYLOR: Ancira 3-45, Franco, 1-54,
TIGER SEASON RESULTS (3-4)
Rockdale 35, Salado 21
Rockdale 24, Burnet 17
Cameron 34, Rockdale 0
Liberty Hill 76, Rockdale 35
Smithville 27, Rockdale 0
Rockdale 27, Hillsboro 15
Taylor 34, Rockdale 38 (3 OTs)
TIGER SEASON LEADERS
Rushing—Brooks 103-691 9 TD,
Ramey 32-100, Hayes 26-148 TD,
Coats 6-36, Dansby 6-20, David 1-5,
Burgess 2-6, Castilleja 2-3, Gibbs 8-(-
8), Brinkley 18-(-42) TD, Baldivia 1-20.
Passing—Brinkley 67-131-10, 993
yards, 7 TD; Gibbs 25-61-2, 337
Receiving— Loth 20-285 2TD,
Caffey 22-276 3TD, Gibbs 13-260
2TD, Burgess 10-90, Ramey 4-51,
Baldavia 4-114 TD, Walton 4-74 TD,
Ford 1-28, Trejo 3-58 TD, Dean 1-16,
Brooks 1-16, Gates 1-12, David 1-10,
Hayes 1-7, Burton 3-24.