Mineral Wells Index
By TONY EIERDAM
It was simply a good, tough six man playoff football game played between two good teams Friday night in a Region III, Division II state quarterfinal game at Ram Stadium, but someone had to lose.
In a run-and-gun game that saw the lead change hands nine times in the second half, No. 7 Newcastle made one last defensive stand and it was enough to hold off the No. 3 Strawn Greyhounds, 64-62.
The loss ends the Greyhounds’ season as Strawn finishes 10-3 overall. Newcastle (10-2) will advance to the state semifinals against either
Calvert or Milford. That state quarterfinal game was not finished before press time on Saturday.
The loss dampened a fantastic effort by Strawn sophomore Coletyn King, who had his hand in every Greyhounds’ touchdown. King scored five times on the ground, had a touchdown reception and also threw for two scores.
The ‘Hounds appeared to have sewed up the game with 2:32 remaining. After the SHS defense had forced Newcastle to punt, on the first play of the series King threw to Ross Alison for a 32-yard touchdown.
Jacob Trujillo booted the two-point PAT kick to give the ‘Hounds a 62-56 lead.
But Newcastle, led by the arm and legs of quarterback Tyler Mays, who finished with four rushing touchdowns and threw for a pair of scores, had one more big play left in it.
On first down from his own 20-yard line, Mays threw a towering deep pass down the middle that was snared by receiver Ryan Hardin, who out-jumped his single defender at the Strawn 20 and lumbered into the end zone to tie the game, 62-62, with 2:35 remaining.
On the PAT attempt, Newcastle lined up for a two-point kick. However, the Bobcats faked the kick but were called for illegal procedure as officials marked off five yards against NHS.
That forced Newcastle to kick the PAT, and Mays’ attempt split the uprights as Newcastle took a 64-62 lead.
The Bobcats then came up with the defensive play of the game with a 15-yard sack on second down that put Strawn in a not-so-desirable third-and-25 situation from their own 10.
Harrison Nowak completed a pass to Tyler Bays for five yards on third down as the game – and the Strawn season – came down to a fourth-and-20 play.
On fourth down, a pass intended for Alison fell incomplete and Newcastle ran out the clock to seal the win.
Strawn head coach Dewaine Lee said he was proud of his team for playing hard and until the bitter end in what might be referred to as an “instant classic.”
“It was a great game, and Newcastle has a great ball club,” Lee said. “We played very good at times, but the ball didn’t bounce our way at the end.
“I thought it was a hard-fought battle between two good teams. In six man football, every possession counts and PATs are big.
“I am very proud of my kids, and it was a heck of a game even though it is tough to go out this way.”
The ‘Hounds jumped out to a 24-6 lead in the opening period. King had a pair of three-yard TD runs, and he caught a 44-yard touchdown pass from Nowak. Trujillo was also true on all three PAT kicks.
In the second quarter, Newcastle scored three times and held the ‘Hounds to one score.
Mays threw a 43-yard TD strike to Nathan Wilson; H.R. Shields ran for a 21-yard score; and Hardin scored on a 65-yard sprint with seven seconds left in the half.
The final NHS touchdown of the first half came when it appeared the Bobcats might run out the clock. The TD ended up having a huge impact on the outcome of the game.
The Greyhounds’ one score of the second quarter came on a 55-yard TD run by King as Strawn led 30-28 at the break.
In the wild second half, the teams matched each other in scores over the course of eight touchdowns.
Newcastle struck first on a 23-yard touchdown run by Mays, but that score was matched when King threw to the elusive Alison for a 39-yard score. Trujillo’s kick gave the ‘Hounds a 38-36 lead.
NHS came back with a six-play, 42-yard drive that ended on a 14-yard sprint to pay dirt by Mays. But again, Strawn came right back on a drive that Nowak showed his diversity. Nowak completed passes on the second and third plays of the drive, the second a 25-yard completion to Abram Jaramillo.
Nowak threw for five yards to King before pitching the ball to the talented sophomore on the next play. King juked and jived for 17 yards to the end zone on the right sideline which was aided by a big block from Nowak that set King free.
With 4:10 left in the third period, Trujillo’s kick gave the ‘Hounds a 46-42 cushion.
It was Newcastle’s turn next. Shields completed a five-play drive with a five-yard blast up the middle, and Mays booted the PAT to give Newcastle a 50-46 lead with 28 seconds left in the third quarter.
Strawn followed with a four-play, 30-yard drive that was finished by an 11-yard TD run by King with 8:59 left to play. Trujillo’s PAT boot gave Strawn a 56-50 lead.
On Newcastle’s ensuing possession, the Bobcats faced a fourth and nine from the SHS 12. A defensive stop would have been huge for the ‘Hounds, but the crafty Mays slithered 12 yards through the SHS defense and found the end zone with 6:13 left to play. Mays added the PAT kick to give the Bobcats a 56-54 advantage.
The Newcastle defense forced the ball over on downs on Strawn’s next series, but the ‘Hounds forced the Bobcats to punt after three plays as Strawn put itself in position to take the late lead.
“I wish the outcome could have been different, but our kids got after it and I am very proud of them,”Lee said. “I thought our kids did a good job. It just wasn’t our day.”