A&M slays Knights’ playoff hopes

Heights Herald/CATRINA RAWSON - Harker Heights quarterback C.J. Rodriguez pushes through for yards while facing Bykece Campbell of Bryan Oct. 21 at Leo Buckley Stadium. The Knights 30-23 loss to A&M Consolidated Oct. 28 in College Station ended the team’s chance of making the playoffs this season. - -

By Alex Byington

Harker Heights Herald

COLLEGE STATION - Needing a win to avoid elimination in the District 12-5A playoff hunt, the Harker Heights Knights imploded in overtime with three penalties - including a personal foul that negated a defensive stop and put A&M Consolidated in position for the go-ahead score - as Heights fell 30-23 last Friday night at Tiger Stadium.

"Just mistakes," Heights senior quarterback C.J. Rodriguez said. "We're right there every game, and mental mistakes and little things that can easily be fixed happen to us, and it just seems like everything from there goes downhill."

Tied at 23-23 after Knights kicker Jake Harler nailed a 36-yard field goal with 3:24 left in regulation, Heights' defense did what it struggled to do all night and stopped dynamic Tigers tailback Quinton White behind the line of scrimmage twice in the final minute of the fourth quarter to force overtime.

But once there, the wheels fell off as Heights linebacker Han Yoo was flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct after throwing the ball in disgust when a second-down defensive stop of Consolidated's Durasis Nutall, where the ball popped loose at the last second, wasn't ruled a fumble.

The play gave the Tigers (5-4, 5-1 12-5A) a first down at the 8-yard line. Two plays later, quarterback Jacob Bronowski - who was picked off three times in the first half - found a wide-open Justin Benden in the left corner of the end zone for go-ahead touchdown. An extra point by Dillon Moore made it 30-23 Consolidated.

Since the Knights (5-4, 3-3) won the toss in overtime and elected to defend first, they still had a shot to answer.

But, after Rodriguez sidestepped several Consolidated defenders for a desperation 5-yard run on a do-or-die fourth-and-5 situation at his own 20, Heights was called for a false start. What followed were back-to-back negative yardage plays and a delay-of-game penalty on third-and-21.

And not even a sensational 20-yard screen play by Greg Haynes was enough as the Heights senior receiver was knocked out of bounds 6 yards shy of the first down to end the game.

"We were just hoping for something great to happen there at the end, and we just came up about two or three yards short," Heights coach Mike Mullins said.

Consolidated outscored Heights 17-3 in the second half on the legs of White and Nutall, who combined for 260 yards of total offense, to negate a 27-second scoring frenzy in the final minute of the first half that put the Knights ahead 20-6 at the break.

"I feel for the kids because they played hard for 48-plus minutes and they're pretty torn up right now," Mullins said.

Taylor defeats Salado

SALADO - Sitting in fourth place in District 25-3A entering last Friday, Salado could have done itself a big favor in moving toward the playoffs by taking out third-place Taylor.

However, the Ducks prevailed with a game-winning touchdown in the final minutes to steal the final playoff seed with a 35-31 win last Friday at Eagle Stadium. The loss eliminates Salado (4-5, 1-3) from the playoffs, which finishes the season at Llano (1-8, 0-4), as the Eagles trail both Taylor (3-6, 3-1) and Liberty Hill (6-3, 3-1) by two games with one to play.

Salado led 21-14 in the third quarter when Emmet Wiggins went in from two yards out. His second rushing touchdown tied the game with 4:23 left in the quarter.

But the Eagles jumped out again, getting a Ryan Simmons 20-yard field and 85-yard touchdown catch-and-run from Mike Richardson and Joe Owens. The pass put Salado ahead 31-28 with 3:37 left in the game. Richardson threw for 360 yards off 19-of-31 passing, including three touchdown passes.

Belton 39, Bryan 17 (Oct. 28) - At Bryan, Derick Bates hauled in an 80-yard touchdown pass from Peter Shelburne and Donavan Williams ran for two touchdowns of 10 and 2 yards as Belton scored 24 points in the second quarter as the Tigers ran past Bryan.

Belton (7-2, 4-2 12-5A) got 121 yards from Williams, who scored his third touchdown of the night in the fourth quarter on a 5-yard scamper to seal the win.

The Tigers also got as 36-yard interception return for a touchdown by Tramaine Rose in the third quarter. Shelburne finished the night just 9-of-19 passing, but compiled 210 yards.

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