By Rick Kretzschmar
Special to the Herald
COLLEGE STATION — Derick Bates tight-roped the sideline, carefully concentrating on each step on his way to the goal line.
With two defenders giving chase behind him, Bates scored the go-ahead touchdown in the waning minutes of Belton's 27-26 win over Arlington in the Tigers' final pool play game Friday at the 7-on-7 Division I state tournament at Texas A&M's Penberthy Rec Sports Complex.
Far less focus in their first game cost the
Tigers a shot at the state title.
Katy rallied from an 12-point second-half deficit to beat Belton in the Division I pool play opener for both teams that ultimately relegated the Tigers to tournament consolation bracket today.
Belton finished 2-1 in pool play, but was the odd team out in a three-way tie with Katy and Abilene. The Tigers play Harlingen at 8 a.m.
Abilene won the pool because it scored 68 points in games among the teams involved in the tie, anchored by a 47-33 win over Katy, which was the runner-up because of its 21-19 head-to-head win over Belton.
That game was especially painful for the Tigers, who could not hold a 19-7, second-half lead. Belton rebounded though with a 35-21 win over Abilene.
Bates scored all four touchdowns from quarterback Peter Shelburne in the Tigers' win over Arlington, the last and most acrobatic coming with about 7 minutes remaining. Bates beat two Arlington defenders, then defied his momentum to tiptoe down the left sideline for about a 32-yard score.
"It was more concentration than balance," Bates said. "I had to look down to make sure where I was."
Belton converted its ensuing extra point for a 27-20 lead. Arlington drove for a touchdown with around 2 minutes left but failed to make a game-tying conversion. The Tigers' defense got a boost from three interceptions by Kyle Battle, two on extra-point attempts, and another pick by Chase Kern.
Bates said his team's best game was against Abilene.
"We talked together as a group after we lost to Katy," he said. "We had really good communication against Abilene."
Temple went 1-2 and finished third in its pool.
The Wildcats also dropped their opener, 40-13 to Houston Lamar and then surrendered a 20-point lead in a 27-20 loss to Duncanville before salvaging the day with a 36-0 win over Del Rio.
Temple faces Katy Taylor at 8 a.m. today in the first round of the consolation bracket
Gatesville loses first-round game to eventual champ
Celina scraped past Gatesville and four other teams to win its fourth 7-on-7 state title.
The Bobcats' won four of their five games Friday by seven points or less, including a 42-36 first-round win over Gatesville, before celebrating their third Division II state title in six years.
"It's a little disappointing in the fact that the kids went down there with one thing in mind: they wanted to win it," said Gatesville head football coach Kyle Cooper. "We knew they had a shot at it and came up a little short. That's disappointing. If you lose to somebody, lose to the champion, but at the end of the day, it's still a loss."
Gatesville came into its fifth straight state tournament as the defending consolation champion and won two of three pool games Thursday to advance to the championship bracket.
But Celina, regardless of round, was a tough draw for everybody.
"They made some big plays, and in this game, 7-on-7, you've got to come up with some big plays. I just thought the big-play factor swung their way in some crucial moments," Cooper said.
After the Bobcats eliminated Gatesville, they did the same to West Orange-Stark (33-26), Rockdale (38-28) and Navasota (38-32) before beating Graham 34-28 in the championship game on Kyle Field.
Staff writer Kevin Posival contributed to this report.
DIVISION I POOL PLAY
Katy 21, Belton 19
Belton 35, Arlington 21
Belton 27, Abilene 26
Houston Lamar 40, Temple 13
Duncanville 27, Temple 20
Temple 36, Del Rio 0
DIVISION II CHAMPIONSHIP BRACKET
Celina 42, Gatesville 36