By Kevin Posival
Killeen Daily Herald
The Shoemaker Grey Wolves missed the easiest points in the game.
And a week after losing on a last-second field goal to Belton, Round Rock Stony Point kicker Malik Morgan booted a 42-yard tie-breaker with 1 second left to lift the Tigers to a 23-20 win over Shoemaker on Thursday at Leo Buckley Stadium.
Benefitting from excellent field position almost all night, Stony Point’s final drive was no different.
The Tigers (2-1) mounted their go-ahead drive with 54 seconds left from its own 40-yard line. Quarterback Aidan Barrera complete three passes for 28 yards to set Morgan up with the field goal try on the Shoemaker 32 with six seconds left from the home-side hash and the Tigers had their bounce-back win following last week’s 15-14 loss to Belton that was decided by a field goal as time expired.
“I’m real proud of our offense in that last drive in an otherwise bleak performance — that’s been three weeks in a row,” Stony Point coach Craig Chessher said referring to the Tigers’ loss to Belton last week and their win over Harker Heights in the opener.
“We’re fortunate to win the game, much like last week when we lost the game by one point.”
Tailback Johnny Jefferson ran for 313 yards and three touchdowns on 40 carries to lead Shoemaker (1-2). He scored what he was sure was the game-winner from 9 yards out with 54 seconds left, but Natzul Pozo missed his third PAT, to keep the game knotted at 20.
“When I scored the touchdown, I thought it was the winning touchdown and the end of the game, but we missed a little field goal (PAT),” Jefferson said. “I really don’t know what to say on the rest (of the game after that).”
Jefferson ran for 160 yards and two of his three touchdowns in the second half. On the Grey Wolves’ two second-half scoring drives, the Baylor-commit ran eight times for 89 yards and completed 1-of-2 passes for 15 yards.
But instead of running Jefferson again, Shoemaker coach Channon Hall called for the extra-point try instead.
“Bottom line is, we practice field goals — that’s part of it, that’s the easiest play,” Hall said. “He got it off, he just missed it. He just pulled it. It’s just one of them things where you roll the dice and sometimes you’re right and sometimes you’re wrong. ... It’s never a good answer unless you win the game.”
A defensive battle in constant rain, Stony Point took advantage of its prime field position for a 20-6 lead at halftime.
The Tigers’ average starting field position was their own 48-yard line. They scored two touchdowns on three drives that actually started on the Shoemaker side of the 50. The other was Joseph Marrero’s 56-yard run with 7:39 left in the first quarter for a 6-0 lead.
“We just put them in bad position, our defense in bad position. ... We can’t let special teams be the death of us,” Hall said. “There was plenty things more wrong than special teams, but that’s one thing we can see right now and fix.”
Following Marrero’s score, Shoemaker drove the ball to the Stony Point 26 but was forced to punt and Christian Ahrens returned Jefferson’s 20-yard quick kick 44 yards to the Shoemaker 41.
Jordan Tonkins capped the Tigers’ drive with a 4-yard touchdown run for a 12-0 lead. The score was set up by a 21-yard pass from Barrera to Justin Gamble and an 18-yard run by Xaiver Mays.
The teams traded punts before Jefferson finally found the end zone on a 1-yard run that cut the Tigers’ lead to 12-6 with 5:58 left in the first half. Jefferson ran four times for 53 yards on the five-play scoring drive.
Damian Lindley stretched the Tigers lead to 18-6 on his 7-yard scoring run with 1:36 left in the first half and Barrera upped it to 20-6 with his 2-point conversion run.
After a scoreless third quarter, Shoemaker scored a safety in the fourth, cutting the Tigers’ lead to 20-8 on a high snap through the back of the end zone with 8:15 left in the game.
Jefferson’s second touchdown, a 32-yarder, two drives later cut the Stony Point lead to six, 20-14 with 3:15 left.
“I told the offensive line, the game isn’t over until the fourth quarter when the clock says 0:00. I told them to keep fighting. We came out here and we gave it everything we had,” Jefferson said. “We left our hearts out there on the field, but it just wasn’t good enough. Now we know we’ve got to start out early, can’t just wait until the last minute because it won’t always turn out in your favor.”
Contact Kevin Posival at firstname.lastname@example.org or (254) 501-7562. Follow him on Twitter at KDHsports.