By BRAD KEITH
GRAHAM (September 29, 2017) — I said it would come down to physicality in Graham Friday, but I failed to predict that the physical play changing the game would include a Graham defender being blocked by a Yellow Jacket at the end of a play and landing hard against Krece Nowak, injuring him and making him miss the entire second half and all but two plays of the second quarter.
Stephenville was as physical as it needed to be, it just couldn’t find the right combination of weaponry with Nowak coming back to run the ball twice in the first half but not looking close to the same Nowak that has more than 1,000 all-purpose yards after amassing 996 through just four games. He lost two yards on two plays of the second quarter and came out in a sweat top with no helmet following halftime, unfortunate after he had already racked up 74 all-purpose yards in the opening quarter. He was actually ahead of pace to reach his 249 yard per game average.
Penalties were the other major issue, both called and not called. A side judge said a ball landed where it stopped rolling instead of where it hit the ground, therefore waving of intentional grounding because it had rolled past the line of scrimmage.
Holding calls were a dime a dozen against the Yellow Jackets, who were flagged 11 times – 9 accepted in the first half alone.
A holding in the end zone finally broke the 14-14 tie, and a touchdown on the ensuing safety kick return put Graham on to 23-14 with 3:14 remaining.
The Steers got a stop and managed to melt away almost half the fourth quarter with a long drive. The Yellow Jackets made what would have been their fourth four-down stand of the game, this time wit their backs to their goal line, but a personal foul gave Graham new life, and two plays later the Steers were ahead by two scores and two conversions.
Sometimes the best laid plans are executed the way they were at Decatur a week ago, other times they go up in smoke. And still others, they lay crumpled on the turf, a victim of the same physical play that had led to four convincing wins by the Jackets. This time it resulted in a body being slammed into their star running back, taking
Stephenville hurt itself enough with penalties. The didn’t need Graham’s only 15-yarder, a bad call at that, as a video replay would later prove.
Graham does have a fine football team. Impressive pass blocking by offensive line. And Chase Gilmore can flat run. But a penalty resulting in a safety and a kick return, a personal foul gifting Graham a late touchdown, and a late hit that prevented Stephenville from having all its horses are what determined this one.
DUBLIN 45, BOSQUEVILLE 26: Lion fans are starting to get used to these second half combacks, and everyone loves a homecoming win. This one came down to second-half defense – as in two quarters of shutout football – and too much Josh Hanes, who tossed a pair of TDs and rusehed for four. What a night in Lion land!
DE LEON 38, CRAWFORD 18: Was 2A Division I just put on notice, because it certainly feels that way. Anthony Rangel was the missing piece that has taken De Leon from being in the conversation about regional contenders to being a true top tier contendr for a state title. Folks will be discussing Refugio, Mart, and dare we say, De leon? It’s happening in Bearcat country, where Rangel amassed 208 yards on just 9 carries and the Bearcat defense yielded just six points the final 2+ quarters to finish the game on a 35-6 run. Wow. Statement game.
FAITH 54, Veritas 36.It was more work than your typical outing by FAITH and may prove to be the Knights’ only game of the season to go the full 40 minutes. The Knights jumped on top and stayed a couple scores clear of TAPPS power Austin Veritas, however, leading 34-14 at halftime and sailing on to the victory. They haver now avenged both their losses from last year in back to back weeks.