Kinkaid defeats Episcopal for repeat SPC crown
Make it 30 conference championships for the Kinkaid football team.
Started by special teams, rallied by a junior receiver and a senior quarterback, sustained by a solid defense and finished by a freshman phenom, the Falcons defeated rival Episcopal, 41-21 to repeat as Southwest Preparatory Conference champions Nov. 10 at Delmar Stadium.
It was a championship rematch, as the Falcons won 38-21 last year at TDECU Stadium. Kinkaid (9-1-1) won for the sixth time this decade, defeating a Knights (7-2-1) squad making its fifth consecutive championship appearance.
The teams tied 7-7 in their regular season meeting, a game not completed due to weather conditions.
“I’m still kind of in awe,” Kinkaid coach Nathan Larned said. “We had a lot of guys out coming into the game and then a couple more went down on defense, which we thought was our strength tonight. Then we put the ball in the hands of really talented people and they went and made plays.”
Zach Daniel completed 13 of 22 passes for 254 yards and five touchdowns, the first three to Victor Garza, who finished with 129 yards on eight receptions.
Needing a play or two to put the game away, freshman Jordan Williams responded. The younger brother of injured star running back Josh Williams carried 12 times for 200 yards and added a touchdown catch, the bulk of it coming in the final 15 minutes.
“Jordan Williams is a special talent,” Larned said. “His brother got hurt in week six and he was averaging like 250 yards a game. He was tearing it up. Best back in the city, I thought. Jordan comes in there. He was motivated to pick his brother up and make sure his senior year ended the right way.”
Kinkaid’s offense started the night in optimal field position after James House blocked an Episcopal punt and Chris Stallings recovered at the Knights’ 10. Garza put the Falcons on the board at the 7:33 mark with a diving, five-yard catch.
Kinkaid appeared ready to extend its lead after Jordan Ricks and Ameer Mustafa combined to stop the Knights on fourth down. The Falcons drove to the Episcopal 2 but Jordan Wells followed his sack with an interception in the end zone.
The Knights used the momentum, driving 80 yards with the help of a 37-yard catch by C.J. Williams and a fourth-down catch by Williams. Jaylen Davis tied the game in the second quarter with an 11-yard run.
The Knights took a 14-7 lead with 4:53 remaining in the half, the big play a 40-yard catch by Patrick Bayouth on third down. Nick Mayberry scored on a keeper for the lead.
Kinkaid finished the half with a 92-yard drive, kept alive by a pass interference call and later a fourth-down catch by Carlos Abello.
With time winding down, Daniel tried to escape pressure and appeared intent on throwing the ball away. But Garza was there in the front corner of the end zone, fighting off two defenders for a 22-yard, game-tying touchdown with seven seconds remaining.
“Victor made a heck of a catch at the end of the first half,” Larned said. “I told the guys we got lucky on one, let’s go earn a few. He actually went out there and earned another one.”
Daniel and Garza connected again to start the second-half scoring, this time from 18 yards with 6:36 left in the third to even another red-zone pick by Wells on the previous possession.
The Knights had a strong drive going until a seven-yard tackle for loss by Johnny House set up fourth down at the Kinkaid 34. Williams made the stop after a short pass, then took a third-down screen pass 63 yards for a thrilling 28-14 lead.
Williams was not finished. He ended Episcopal’s next drive with an interception at the goal line, then raced 95 yards for the game-sealing score.