AP NEWS

Elkins clinches playoff spot with second-half rally

November 12, 2018

For all intents and purposes, the Nov. 10 football showdown at Mercer Stadium between Elkins and Austin was a playoff game. The winner advanced to the postseason, the loser finished fifth in District 20-6A.

A contest worthy of postseason play featured Elkins rallying from a two-touchdown deficit in the second half for a 35-21 victory. The Knights will face District 19-6A runner-up Tompkins in the Region III-6A Division II bi-district round.

“We put in a lot of hard work in August, offseason and spring,” Elkins coach Dennis Brantley said. “We told them, in the second half, if it meant anything, all the work we did was going to pay off.”

The Knights trailed 21-7 at halftime but were unstoppable after an early second-half interception. They scored on four consecutive drives to close the game, while the defense forced three straight punts and a fourth-down stop.

Elkins (7-3, 4-3) rebounded from consecutive losses to eventual district champion Ridge Point and Dulles, the latter the Knights led until late in the game and could have clinched a playoff spot.

It was Elkins making the clutch plays this time.

“We just made up our mind that we’re not going to go home,” senior defensive lineman Daelon Mitchell said. “We’re not going to lose. We just knew if we stick together, we’re going to pull through like we always do.”

Junior Cameron George accounted for four touchdowns, including two on the ground to go with 204 yards on 21 carries. He completed 14 of 26 passes for 259 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions. His 42-yard touchdown run in the final minute punched Elkins’ playoff ticket.

The Knights turned to George running the zone read in the second half. He responded, including one 17-yard run on a busted play to set up Kolby White’s 11-yard touchdown.

The Knights tied the score at 21 on their next drive, as a 29-yard catch by Cameron Wilmington helped set up George’s first touchdown rush with 4:35 left in the quarter.

“Nobody can touch us when we’re running the ball down their throat,” George said. “We mixed in some throws, but we’re a running team.”

Mitchell ended Austin’s next drive by batting down a pass near the line of scrimmage, setting up a 13-play, 94-yard drive for the lead.

The Knights converted two third downs and received a 39-yard receptions from Issiah Nixon, who broke two tackles on a screen pass to set up Elkins inside the five. George found White for a five-yard touchdown with 9:06 remaining.

Austin (3-7, 3-4) followed with a time-consuming drive that reached the Elkins 22. But stops by Richard Broadnax and Micakle Gordon brought up fourth down, and Mitchell ended the drive with a sack.

Troy Omeire and Moise Tezzo had their hands all over the first half. Omeire swung the first quarter in Austin’s favor, breaking up a pass in the end zone on one end to set up a missed field goal.

After a first-down catch by Matthew Lee, Trey Larsen dropped back on play-action and found Omeire for a 46-yard touchdown and a 7-0 lead with 1:44 left in the quarter.

Elkins had a touchdown called back due to holding on its next drive. With a steady rain developing, Austin kept the ball on the ground and Tezzo accounted for all but two of a 47-yard drive, scoring from two yards away with 7:31 left before halftime.

Elkins answered immediately, as George found Issiah Nixon wide open for a 32-yard gain. Michael Granson made a well-covered catch for a 20-yard touchdown to bring the Knights within 14-7.

Elkins received a sack from Malik Rugley and appeared to have some momentum before Omeire picked a deep ball out of the air near the Austin 20-yard line to end the Knights’ drive. He added another pick to start the second half.

Tezzo turned the lead into a 21-7 halftime advantage with a 72-yard touchdown, patiently waiting for a crease and then accelerating past everyone.

Elkins drove well into Austin territory near the end of the half, but a sack by Chase Myers kept the clock running and the Knights eventually ended the half hurriedly trying to spike the ball on fourth down.

But the Knights ultimately prevailed, returning to the playoffs in 6A after a rare 2-6 season in 5A last year.

“We feel football is football,” Brantley said. “As long as we have 11 guys on both sides of the ball, we have a chance. 6A doesn’t intimidate us. We’re just thankful to be in the playoffs again.”

Austin narrowly missed the postseason, almost making a miraculous rally from a 0-6 start. The Bulldogs defeated Clements, Kempner and Bush, all by seven points or less, to set up the finale.

WEEK 11 SCORES

Nov. 8

Ridge Point 35, Dulles 21

Foster 21, Hightower 20

Brazosport 35, Fulshear 25

Nov. 9

Lamar Consolidated 48, Paetow 14

Travis 24, Bush 7

Marshall 60, Madison 2

Pearland 28, George Ranch 7

Dawson 37, Elsik 16

Hastings 42, Brazoswood 7

Strake Jesuit 35, Alief Taylor 0

Shiner 39, Brazos 7

Sealy 43, Needville 14

Giddings State School 64, Logos Prep 58

Nov. 10

Elkins 35, Fort Bend Austin 21

Clements 27, Kempner 26

Willowridge 21, Sterling 8

Stafford 40, Worthing 14

Shadow Creek 21, Terry 6

WEEK 11 STARS

Andrew Bottiglieri, Clements

Bottiglieri recovered two fumbles, returning the first 50 yards for an early touchdown in a 27-26 victory against Kempner. John Perry passed for 201 yards and three touchdowns, while the defense stopped a late two-point conversion.

Deonte Castleberry, Lamar Consolidated

Castleberry carried 10 times for 115 yards and two touchdowns, while Darrin Boston and Roman Punch returned fumbles for scores as the Mustangs defeated Paetow 48-14 for their first playoff berth in six years.

De’core Ford, Willowridge

Ford amassed nine tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss and 1.5 sacks as the Knights defeated Sterling 21-8 to conclude a 7-3 regular season.

Malik Hornsby, Marshall

Hornsby led a balanced attack with four total touchdowns, including a 52-yard run and a 53-yard pass to Devon Achane. The Buffalos completed a perfect regular season with a 60-2 rout of Madison.

Keaton Huebner, Fulshear

Huebner passed for 206 yards and two touchdowns and added 98 yards and a touchdown on the ground to account for most of the Chargers’ scoring in a 35-25 loss to Brazosport.

Joseph Manjack, Hastings

Manjack scored three times, including twice on the ground along with 116 yards on nine carries. Terrence Thomas added 111 yards as the Bears mauled Brazoswood 42-14 to clinch a playoff spot.

Jordan Shelton, Kempner

Shelton amassed 261 yards and three touchdowns on 26 carries, passing the 2,000-yard mark for the season in only 10 games. Teammate Jordan Verge added an interception and an 80-yard kick return in an exciting finale.

PLAYOFF SCHEDULE

TAPPS

Six-Man Division I

Logos Prep (6-3) vs. Austin Hill Country Christian (4-6), TBA

UIL

Class 6A Division I

Katy (9-1) vs. Travis (8-2), 6:30 p.m., Nov. 16, Legacy Stadium

Ridge Point (9-1) vs. Seven Lakes (6-4), 7 p.m., Nov. 16, Hall Stadium

Hastings (6-4) vs. Clear Springs (7-3), 7 p.m., Nov. 16, Challenger Columbia Stadium

Class 6A Division II

Tompkins (8-2) vs. Elkins (7-3), 7:30 p.m., Nov. 16, Rhodes Stadium

Dulles (8-2) vs. Katy Taylor (5-5), 7:30 p.m., Nov. 16, Mercer Stadium

Class 5A Division I

Hightower (3-7) vs. New Caney (9-1), 7 p.m., Nov. 16, Texan Drive Stadium

Foster (6-4) vs. Port Arthur Memorial (9-1), 7 p.m., Nov. 16, Memorial Stadium

Class 5A Division II

Lamar Consolidated (7-3) vs. Marshall (8-2), 7:30 p.m., Nov. 16, Marshall

FB Marshall (10-0) vs. Santa Fe (5-5), 7 p.m., Nov. 15, Hall Stadium

Willowridge (7-3) vs. Nederland (9-1), TBA

Class 4A Division I

Needville (6-4) vs. Canyon Lake (7-3), 7:30 p.m., Nov. 16, Cuero

Class 3A Division II

East Bernard (9-1) vs. Johnson City (2-8), 7:30 p.m., Nov. 16, New Braunfels Canyon Stadium

AP RADIO
Update hourly