WACO — In crunch time, both teams made plays Saturday in the ninth annual Heart of Texas Fellowship of Christian Athletes Victory Bowl football game at Waco ISD Stadium.
With 1 minute, 36 seconds left to play in the game and the Red team trying to drive to take the lead, the Blue team’s C.J. Bivins, of Kerens, intercepted a deflected pass from McGregor’s C.J. McClaein at the Red 16-yard line and raced to the end zone to give Blue a late 24-17 advantage.
But McClaein found redemption.
With under a minute remaining, McClaein lobbed a Hail Mary pass deep downfield on fourth-and-19 and found Clayton Keahey, of Waco Reicher, for a 77-yard reception with just 28 seconds left, and the game ended in a 24-24 tie.
Bivins was named defensive MVP, and Hillsboro’s Kamion Bell was awarded offensive MVP after rushing 17 times for 174 yards and two touchdowns for Red.
“It was a great game,” Killeen High offensive tackle Tyler Kanaly, who played for the Blue team, said. “Sadly, no one won. But I couldn’t imagine it ending another way.
“Honestly, I feel amazing for the fact that I got to play with all these amazing athletes and got to play as much as I did.”
Red got on the board first after Blue failed to capitalize on a fumble by Red inside its own red zone.
On the first play from scrimmage, Wortham quarterback Zach Jones was sacked by Teague’s Nathan Vick, who stripped the ball and recovered it at the Red 19-yard line.
The Red defense forced a turnover on downs, however, and regained possession of the ball at its own 15. Bell then took a handoff on the first play of Red’s second possession and raced 85 yards to paydirt for his first score of the contest.
Joshua Nash, of Grandview, made the point after touchdown to give Red an early 7-0 lead with 10:12 remaining in the first quarter.
Blue scored its first points on a 40-yard field goal by Lorena’s Cole Baker with 38 seconds remaining in the opening period to make the score 7-3 in favor of Red.
Blue captured the lead at the 10:22 mark in the second stanza as the Lorena duo of quarterback Baker and wide receiver Jacob Spivey connected on a 70-yard touchdown on a screen pass, and Blue took a brief 10-7 advantage.
Spivey finished the game with 10 catches for 132 yards.
With 4:47 remaining in the first half, Red regained the lead after marching 48 yards on nine plays. Bell scored his second touchdown of the evening, this time an 8-yard scamper, to punctuate the drive and put Red up 14-10.
Early in the third quarter, Baker found Mikquon Diver, of Waco University, for a 54-yard touchdown pass to put Blue up 17-14. Baker finished the game 8 of 13 for 161 yards to accompany his two scoring passes.
Late in the third, Gatesville’s Sam Jackson picked off a deflected Baker pass at the Red 42 and raced to the Blue 24 to set his team up with great field position.
Jackson said the Red coaching staff had him playing down toward the line of scrimmage on every third down, but was told to stay back on that particular play.
“There was a tight end and a single receiver, so they knew they were going to try to run something,” the linebacker said. “I went back and the DB made a good play on the ball and popped it up, and I was able to grab it. I was in position because my coach put me in position, so I give the credit to him.”
At the end of his return, Jackson bowled over a Blue defender before stepping out of bounds.
“I also played wildcat quarterback for my high school,” Jackson said. “I didn’t want to get sissy tackled at the end, I guess you could say, and try to juke him or whatever. So, I finished strong, and I kept trying to get the coaches to put me in at running back after that, but they weren’t having it.”
Jackson also tallied three tackles in the contest.
Red was unable to score after Jackson’s interception, however, and had to settle for a 25-yard field goal by Nash to tie the game up at 17-17 with 11:54 left in the fourth period to set up the late fireworks.