November 17, 2017

Texans almost come back, pushing No. 8 A&M-Commerce to its last snap

Jeff Thomas was in tough battles all day Lion defensive backs. He did haul in a 25-yard over the shoulder touchdown from Zed Woerner, part of a Tarleton rally that fell short on his senior day at Memorial Stadium. || The FlashToday/Russell Huffman

By BRAD KEITH
TheFlashToday.com

STEPHENVILLE (November 11, 2017) — Tarleton State has proven itself a pesky matchup for the top teams in the Lone Star Conference. But in the end, those teams have reminded the Texans there are still a few rungs they must climb on the LSC ladder.

No. 8 Texas A&M-Commerce 33, Tarleton State 21

PEREZ COMES UP CUTCH:
On fourth and five from the Tarleton 32, Division II national passing leader Luis Perez hit Marquis Wimberley on a comeback route underneath the coverag for easy first down yardage. Wimberley took it the rest of the way, providing A&M-Commerce the comfort of a two-possession lead with just 1:23 remaining.

THE COMEBACK:
Tarleton showed a lot of grit just being around in the final minutes after trailing 23-0 at halftime.

Adam Berryman replaced the injured Xavier Turner at running back and raced through the middle of the defense for a 69-yard TD to get the Texans on the board early in the third quarter, and following the fourth Lion field goal for a 26-7 margin early in the fourth, the Texans went 75 yards on five plays, culminating in a 25-yard TD from Zed Woerner to Jeff Thomas.

Tarleton stopped A&M-Commerce short of midfield on the ensuing possession, band Tristan Perry punted the ball 45 yards to leave the Texans at their own 10. They moved to midfield where it appeared the drive would stall out following a sack. But on 4th-and-13, Woerner dropped it off to Berryman underneath. He turned just in time to catch the soft toss, shrug off the one Lion defender who ever had a chance on his way to the sideline then turned on the jets for a 54-yard TD that left the Lions clinging to a five-point edge and almost five minutes stil on the clock.

THE INSURMOUNTABLE LEAD:
A&M-Commerce deceivingly showed bubble screen on its first possession, and Tarleton corner back Trey Johnson took the bait, leaving Buck Wilson alone behind him for a 61-yard TD catch. Broken coverage assisted with the second, touchdown, too. This time it was Elliott Hart falling for a Perez pump fake, and the instant he paused was all Darrion Landry needed to be open for an easy pitch and catch.

The Texan defense got itself off the mat and played well the rest of the way. Even following two Woerner interceptions, they minimized the damages, preventing the Lions from returning to the end zone until the final two minutes of the game.

Martinez ended the third Lion drive with a 24 yard chip shot, and also was successful from 39 and 42 yards in the second quarter.

COACH SPEAK:
“I’m proud of our guys for the way they battled to get back in the game. We have to clean up some of that early stuff before we can compete for a championship . I think we’ll probably get the opportunity to go to a bowl game, which would be great. We’ll talk more about that Monday.”

WAIT, WHAT? BOWL GAME?
It’s most likely the Corsicana Bowl. A press conference is set for 11 a.m. Monday at Wisdom Gym. Southeastern Oklahoma and Central Oklahoma are among the potential opponents, but The Flash Today does not know that the list is limited to those two.

The Flash Today photos by RUSSELL HUFFMAN:

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