BEST GAMES OF THE 2000′S
2009 5A Division II Area: Southlake Carroll 35 Allen 34 (2 OT)
2008 5A Division II Bi-District: Cedar Hill 52 Plano West 49 (OT)
Texas Stadium was the scene for what would become one of the most remarkable playoff games in Texas high school football history. Cedar Hill entered the game as comfortable favorites but, as is often the case in playoff match-ups, the game itself took on a life of its own.
Plano West dominated the first half and raced out to a 21-0 halftime advantage. Wolves senior tailback Darrius Cohen scored all three touchdowns for West. West picked up right where they left off when play resumed in the third quarter as Cohen scored his fourth touchdown of the game.
Now down 28-0, Cedar Hill sprang to life as the third quarter progressed. The Longhorns reeled off 28 unanswered points to tie the game at 28 apiece by the end of the third quarter. Longhorn junior tailback Ben Malena, not to be outdone by his counterpart, scored three of Cedar Hill’s four third quarter touchdowns.
Malena gave Cedar Hill a remarkable 35-28 lead in the fourth quarter, but Plano West would not go quietly. The Wolves answered Cedar Hill’s 35-point second half flurry through a touchdown run by senior quarterback Travis Wilson. The game was tied at 35 at the end of regulation.
Cedar Hill and Plano West traded touchdowns and conversions in the first two overtimes. The outcome was finally decided on a 22-yard field goal by Longhorn senior kicker Eduardo Camara in the third overtime.
2008 5A Division II Regional Semifinal: Copperas Cove 55 Cy Ridge 48
Copperas Cove and Cy Ridge levitated Waco ISD Stadium in an explosive Division II playoff encounter. Cove emerged 55-48 winners after 48 frantic minutes. The teams combined to score seven touchdowns on plays of at least 20 yards. This is the highest scoring playoff game since San Antonio Reagan beat Laredo United 72-48 in the 2006 Division II Regional Semifinals.
Cy Ridge opened the scoring with two first quarter touchdowns before Copperas Cove came to life in the second quarter. Cove outscored Ridge 21-8 to tie the game at halftime.
The Bulldawgs kept the pedal to the floor by scoring the first 10 points of the second half. Cy Ridge answered with senior quarterback Russell Shepard’s first rushing touchdown of the game. Copperas Cove quarterback Nic Greene reestablished a two score advantage on a short run. Cove led 38-28 at the end of three quarters.
Copperas Cove opened the fourth quarter with a 71-yard touchdown dash from junior tailback William Wright. Now down 45-28, Ridge turned to Russell Shepard once again. Shepard led the Rams on consecutive scoring drives, with missed two-point conversions, to cut Cove’s lead to 45-40.
Cove bagged a 36 yard field goal from Michael Roell to make it 48-40 inside of three minutes. Cy Ridge needed only a minute to reply. Shepard flew downfield on a 76 yard touchdown run and added the two point conversion to knot things up at 48 with less than two minutes remaining in the game.
Copperas Cove would not be denied as Greene found senior all-purpose player Josh Boyce on a 40-yard touchdown pass with nine seconds remaining. Roell added the extra point to seal a breathless flurry of action with a 55-48 Bulldawg win.
2008 5A Division I Area: FB Hightower 28 North Shore 21
Hightower earned a historic program win over North Shore in one of the Houston area’s most anticipated playoff games of the decade. Hightower and North Shore both entered the game with perfect records, and the winner of this game was projected most likely to win the region and contend for state.
This was a playoff rematch from the 2007 Division I tournament. North Shore knocked off Hightower 33-9 in the state quarterfinals.
The Hurricanes took the initiative and built a 20-7 first half lead. The third quarter was a cagey war of attrition, and the 20-7 score stood when the quarter ended. However, North Shore found the end zone twice in the fourth quarter due to stellar play from senior quarterback Alex Tillman. The Mustangs took their first lead of the game, 21-20, with just over four minutes remaining.
Hightower capitalized on a botched North Shore punt to set up deep in Mustang territory with under a minute left in the game. Senior Hurricane quarterback A.J. Highsmith snuck in from a yard to give Hightower the winning margin.
2007 5A Division I State Semifinals: Euless Trinity 30 Plano 27 (2 OT)
Before the game even began, both Trinity and Plano coaches knew it would be the game of a lifetime, and it would turn out to be just that. Plano came out strong in the first quarter, scoring 7 points to Trinity’s 3. This deficit fired up the Trinity offense led by QB Denarius McGhee, and the Plano defense allowed them to score 14 unanswered points. Both scores were by the previously injured RB Dontrayevous Robinson, who broke his ankle in the regular season finale against cross-town rivals, Hurst Bell. This seemed to be no burden though, as Robinson leaped in for a 1-yard score, and caught a 34-yard pass from McGhee for the second. Despite leading 17-7 at this point in the second quarter, Plano wasn’t going to give up a chance of going to the state championship just yet. With less than 5 minutes kin the first half of regulation, Plano and RB Rex Burkhead pounded its way down the field to set up the scoring pass from Plano QB Carson Meger to WR Grant Davis to make it a three-point game just before halftime.
Quickly after halftime, Plano ran down the field and the clock for another score, giving them the lead nearing close to the final period of regulation. Making up for the 14 points given to the Trojans in the second period, the Wildcats held Trinity to none in the third, giving them some momentum going into the last 12 minutes.. Trinity came out running, though, and behind RB Samir Baker, capped a 80-yard drive with an ending 37-yard TD run by Baker still with plenty of time left for Plano to score. With the weight of the world on their shoulders, the Plano offense returned to the field for the final drive to victory.
They began a great drive, but as they entered the red-zone, the Sea of Black crowded Meger as he tried to gain a few yards after the Trinity defense shut down their play. Trinity DT Robert Griffin caused the potential game-ending fumble on Trinity’s 21-yard line that was recovered by the Sea of Black, narrowing the gap for any comeback by the dispirited Plano Wildcats.. The Wildcat offense sat and watched on the bench, hoping for a miracle to happen in the final minute of the football game. DB/WR Justin Collins answered their prayers on a 3rd down play by causing and recovering a fumble by the Trojans. The Trinity defense was still pumped as they held Burkhead a yard shy of a first down that could potentially cause the end of the game, forcing Plano to kick for the tie. The kick slipped in with ease, and the game headed into the first overtime.
Both defenses held their opponent to a field goal in the first extra period, and as they headed into the second overtime, the score was still tied 27-27. Plano began with the ball, but struggled, and to their despair were stuck in a rut on the 25-yard line, forced to kick. Things only got worse when they saw that the ball fell short of the goal-posts, resulting in a miss. Trinity fans cheered at this sight, and their offense jogged onto the field for possibly the winning score. After Samir Baker tore through the once-solid Plano defense, the Trojans saw themselves on the 2-yard line, awaiting the kick by their beloved kicker, Pery Negreiros. Used to the pressure, Negreiros split the uprights for the winning kick, and the final score of 30-27.
Submitted by Hunter Freeman
2007 Region 4 Championship: San Antonio Madison 38 Smithson Valley 35 (OT)
Smithson Valley led 28-7 after three quarters. Madison scored on the first play of the fourth quarter to pull within 14 points, 28-14. Smithson Valley answered with a lightning strike two-play drive to put the advantage back at 21 points. Madison scored 21 unanswered points in the last half of the fourth quarter to tie the game. The turning point in the fourth quarter came immediately after Smithson Valley took over after stopping Madison on fourth down. The Rangers were set up at the Madison 39 yard line, and could seal the win by running clock and/or scoring more points. Smithson Valley led 35-21 at this point. However, on the first play Madison forced and recovered a fumble. That proved to be the Mavericks’ lifeline. The Mavs drove down the field and scored a touchdown after that turnover to pull within 7 at 35-28. The Madison defense again came up with a big stop, and gave their offense one more chance. Led by senior QB Brian Ehrlich, the Mavericks used just two plays to score from 78 yards out. Ehrlich connected with senior WR Joey Boyd on the first play to get near midfield and then hit sophomore WR Nate Askew for the tying score on a 52 yard pass. In overtime, Smithson Valley was first on offense and were stopped on fourth down by Madison. The Mavericks offense drove down to the four, and then kicked the game winning field goal.
2007 Area Playoffs: Lewisville Hebron 50 DeSoto 44 (4 OT)
2006 Division 1 Area Playoffs: Southlake Carroll 22 Euless Trinity 21
The defending Division 1 champs (Trinity) and Division 2 champs (Carroll) clashed in the playoffs with undefeated, 11-0 records at stake. Carroll took a 9-0 lead into halftime thanks in part to the play of QB Riley Dodge and WR Chris Brainard in addition to a tough Dragon defense. Trinity took control of the game in the second half, and started finishing drives. Trinity RB Justise Campbell broke loose for a long touchdown run giving Trinity its first lead of the game at 21-16. Trinity DE Youri Yenga forced a fumble from Dodge that gave Trinity all of the momentum going into the final minutes. However, Carroll took it right back when they stuffed a fake punt attempt from Trinity, and then drove in for the winning score on a QB keeper by Dodge. The officially announced attendance was just over 46,000. However, its estimated the crowd actually topped the 50,000 mark as Texas Stadium was at least 75-80% full by the third quarter. Many fans couldn’t get into the stadium at the beginning because of heavy traffic. The only crowd on record in the last 20 years that compares to this game’s draw was the 1999 4A state championship game between Stephenville and Port Neches-Groves (55 thousand+ in the Astrodome).
2006 Regular Season: Cedar Hill 40 DeSoto 37 (2 OT)
Cedar Hill erased a 24 point deficit in the fourth quarter led by the talents of senior QB William Cole. The Longhorns tied the game at the end of regulation to force OT after being in a huge hole going into the fourth. Cedar Hill won the game in the second overtime to complete the incredible comeback win.
2005 Division II State Quarterfinals: Katy 32 Cy Falls 28
The Tigers overcame a 28-10 deficit in just over a quarter to edge out Cy Falls in a wild game at Rice Stadium. There were a number of big plays in the game, but the biggest may have been sophomore DB Terrance Henry’s late 3rd quarter interception in the end zone which prevented Cy Falls from extending its lead to 31 or 35-10. Also, senior LB Morris Arnold’s blocked punt late in the fourth set up Katy for the winning score with under a minute remaining.
2005 Division I Regional: El Paso Franklin 41 Mansfield Summit 38
Summit stormed to a 28-0 lead after one quarter. However, Franklin eventually roared to life and pulled off one of the most surprising wins in the history of Class 5A football. Franklin QB Alex Torres led the charge, and helped book his team’s place in the state quarterfinals.
2005 Division II Bi-District: Strake Jesuit 21 FB Marshall 20
An undermanned Jesuit team shocked favorites Marshall in a highly dramatic playoff contest. Marshall ended the game on Jesuit’s one yard line when attempting to make a last push for the win.
2005 Regular Season- Week 1 : Copperas Cove 20 Converse Judson 19
Late in the 4th quarter it was 19-13, Judson. Judson attempted to keep the ball on a 4th and 1 and run it, but Cove stuffed the Judson ballcarrier. With time running down, and Cove on their own 20, QB Brent Garner dropped back to pass, split two rushers and moved up in the pocket, and threw a TD pass to WR Daryl Armstead. Kyle Matthews kicked the extra point and Cove took the lead at 20-19. With less than a minute to play, Cove’s coach, Jack Welch, made a gutsy decision and called for an on-sides kick and Cove recovered and was able to run out the clock.
2004 Division II Regional Semi: Southlake Carroll 35 Abilene 30
Two undefeated teams squared off in Texas Stadium in this top notch third round playoff. Both entered with perfect 12-0 records. This game wasn’t fully decided until Southlake Carroll picked off Abilene QB Taylor Potts in the endzone to seal the win.
2004 Division II Bi-District: Denton Ryan 29 Irving Macarthur 26
9-1 Denton Ryan and 10-0 Irving Macarthur put on a show to remember at Texas Stadium. Senior quarterbacks Duane Brooks (Mac) and Justin Willis (DR) battled brilliantly for four quarters with Willis’ side ultimately prevailing. Ryan advanced to the state quarterfinals before losing to eventual champs Southlake Carroll.
2003 Division II State Championship: Katy 16 Southlake Carroll 15
Championship games rarely live up to their hype, but this game was definitely an exception to the rule. Carroll entered the game riding a 31-game winning streak and had only been held under 29 points once during that run (19-16 win against Arlington Houston in ’02 playoffs). Carroll took the lead, 15-9, late in the game on a clutch Chase Daniel-Aaron Luna dominated drive, but Katy answered with a beautifully executed 50 yard touchdown pass to cornerback Ryan Mouton. Sophomore Will Thompson helped seal the game by intercepting Daniel on the ensuing possession. Katy junior tailback James Aston was named the most valuable player of the game.
2003 Division I State Quarterfinals: The Woodlands 50 Tyler Lee 48 (OT)
The Highlanders and Red Raiders had their wealth of talent on full display in Texas Stadium during the first week of December in this instant classic. Both teams went back and forth during regulation with outstanding performances on both sides. Each offense was on fire and refused to back down. Tyrone Ross of Tyler Lee and Jordan Dodson of The Woodlands had great games. This was the best game played in the Division 1 bracket.
2003 Division II Bi-District: PA Memorial 41 Aldine 40 (OT)
Memorial erased a 34-7 halftime deficit to send the game into overtime tied at 34. Titan tailback Jamaal Charles shredded the Mustang defense for over 160 yards in the 3rd quarter alone. Charles ended up with close to 300 rushing yards on the game. Memorial would go on to the regional semi-finals before losing to eventual state champions Katy. This marked Memorial’s first ever playoff win as a consolidated high school.
2002 Division I State Championship: Converse Judson 33 Midland 32
Incredible. Judson came into this one as the savvy championship game veteran, as usual, against the new kid on the block in Midland. Midland had not made the playoffs in over 50 years prior to the 2002 season, and found themselves facing the definition of championship football in Judson. This game started modestly with both teams trading jabs. However, Midland QB Ryan Rowland led his team on a textbook drive to take a 32-26 lead with 30 seconds remaining in the game. Then, in one of the most unlikely plays in the history of 5A football, Rocket QB Dustin Quinney dropped back and hit a streaking Andre Williams for a 76 yard touchdown to win the game.
2002 Division II State Semi-Finals: Southlake Carroll 33 Lufkin 30
Many thought Carroll’s 14-0 start to 5A play would come to a quick end with Lufkin looming in the semi-finals. The Panthers leaped out to a 30-14 3rd quarter lead on the prowess of their hard hitting defense and tough running of sophomore back Jorvorski Lane. However, the Dragons would not let themselves be defeated and came back to win the game late in an unbelievable series of big plays. Chase Wasson and Scott Chandler were extremely key for Carroll.
2002 Regular Season, Non-District: Katy 37 Humble 36 (OT)
Humble came into this game ranked #1 in the state, and carrying a 1-0 record. Katy jumped out to a 17-7 lead before Humble closed the gap in the 4th quarter to send the game to overtime. The Wildcats took a 36-29 lead in overtime, and Katy took the field. The Tigers came within one point after answering Humble’s score, but elected to go for two and the win, instead of tie with an extra point. Katy ran an option play, and with a one handed catch on the pitch Carl Slack outraced Wildcat defenders to the corner pylon for the game winning conversion.
2001 Division II State Championship: Lufkin-38 Austin Westlake-24
Lufkin, yet again, flirted with disaster as Westlake jumped out to a 21-3 lead in the first half. Panther QB Reggie McNeal aggravated an old ankle injury, but was able to, yet again, gather himself and lead the Panthers to State Championship glory. A huge hit by defensive tackle Ju Parks helped turn momentum in Lufkin’s favor.
2001 Division I State Championship: Mesquite-14 SA Taft-13
Taft pounced on the Skeeters early behind the great running of Taft tailback Robert Merrill to build a 13-0 halftime lead over Mesquite. The Mesquite defense would respond to the challenge, and come back to take a state championship from the clutches of Taft in a nail biting 14-13 win at Alamo Stadium in San Antonio.
2001 Division II State Semifinals: Lufkin-27 Euless Trinity-23
Trinity raced out to a 20-0 lead at Tyler Rose Stadium shocking the East Texas crowd. The Trojans were in total control until Reggie McNeal toughed out an injury to lead the Panthers to a come-from-behind 27-23 win that went down to the last seconds.
2001 Division II State Region 2 Championship: Lufkin-26 Spring Westfield-19 (OT)
The Westfield Mustangs held a slim lead for most of the second half in a strong defensive battle. However, Beau Carr and Westfield could not hold off a late charge by the Panthers at the end of regulation and into overtime. The Mustangs held the lead with just under 2 minutes remaining in the Astrodome, but a great punt return by Lufkin set up a short field for the Panthers to work with to tie the game in regulation at 19, and then win it in overtime.
2001 Division II State Regional Semis: Houston Madison-61 North Shore-58
The Marlins, led by QB Vince Young (#10 in video) clashed with the mighty Mustangs in a 3rd round contest at the Astrodome that no one present at this game will ever forget. The teams combined for 119 points, and over 1100 total yards of offense. The teams traded leads many times throughout the game, and neither offense was thinking of slowing down. The fans in the Astrodome should have had seat belts for this one.
2000 Division II State Region 2 Final: John Tyler Lions-28 Waco Lions-21 (OT)
This game will go down as one of the very best playoff games in a long time. The Waco Lions raced out to a 21-0 lead before Tyler came back to even things up at 21 apiece. In overtime, Tyler rode the momentum surge to a 28-21 overtime victory which would ultimately propel them on to the state championship game. This game was also the first recipient of the “5A Texas Football.com Game of the Year” Award.
2000 Division II Bi-District: Lubbock Monterey-24 Abilene-17
2000 4-5A District Game: Midland Lee-49 Abilene Cooper-36
Cooper made a gallant comeback to tie the score at 28 only to have that joy silenced as they watched Midland Lee streak down the sidelines on the kickoff return for a touchdown. Cedric Benson and Jordan Neal put on two of the all-time great individual performances as Neal passed for well over 400 yards, and Benson ran for well over 300.
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