By TONY EIERDAM
It was almost a miracle finish.
With the Mineral Wells trailing by three points with 12 seconds left in the game after Castleberry had just kicked a 19-yard field goal to regain the lead, 24-21, all the Lions had to do on the ensuing kickoff was keep the ball out of the hands of dangerous MWHS set back DaShawn Hicks.
Hicks had given the Lions fits all night with a 98-yard kickoff return and a near touchdown on a screen pass in the fourth quarter that was called back on a holding call.
But inexplicably, Castleberry kicker Cristian Astorga – who had booted the go-ahead field goal with 12 seconds left to play – sent a squib kick down the field that skipped off the field turf and back to Hicks, who was waiting at his 10-yard line.
On the kick, Aastorga lined the kick at MWHS up back Chris Rapp, but Rapp made a heads-up play when instead of trying to catch the ball stepped aside to let the pigskin scoot to Hicks.
Hicks started in the middle of the field and cut left, and after breaking a tackle outraced two Lions all the way down to the Castleberry 28 where he was shoved out of bounds.
Although the clock read 0:00 as it appeared time had expired, officials ruled Hicks out of bounds and put three seconds back on the clock, giving the Rams a chance for a “Hail Mary” pass into the end zone.
Before the final snap of the contest, he Rams were called for illegal procedure, which placed the ball back at the 33-yard line of the Lions.
But the ball was in good hands with junior quarterback Caleb Acosta, who had enjoyed his finest game of the season as he completed 12 of 18 passes for 194 yards and two touchdowns to that point.