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December 30, 2013

Stepp's Top Five Games 2013

Matt Stepp,
Senior Analyst, TheOldCoach.com

Email questions or comments to: mstepp@theoldcoach.com
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Top Five Games Attended 2013

5. Frisco Centennial 21 The Colony 20 Nov. 1, 2013: In a game that was to decide the 9-4A title, Centennial rallied in the final minutes to keep the district title away from upstart The Colony. TCHS jumped out to a 20-9 lead with 5:30 left in the game, despite being without star RB Bryan Hammond who suffered a season ending knee injury the week prior. The key blow in the Cougars taking the lead was a 12 yard blocked punt return for a touchdown. Centennial had just 122 yards of offense through the first three and a half quarters, but they found some late magic. Facing a fourth and seven on their own 37, Centennial drew The Colony offsides but the play was still alive and a moment of hesitation allowed D.J. Jackson to get behind the defense to haul in a 63 yard touchdown reception and cut the lead to 20-15. Needing a stop on the next possession, Centennial stepped up and got even more as the Titans recovered a fumble by The Colony on the first play of the ensuing drive. Centennial wasted little time putting the dagger in the Cougars as on a 3rd and 12 QB Kelly Cordova lofted a 27 yard touchdown pass to a leaping Stoney Hawkins giving Centennial the lead for good. The Colony would touch the ball twice in the final three minutes, both times failing to get a first down and Centennial took home the district title.

4. San Antonio Brandeis 12 San Antonio O'Connor 10 Sep. 21, 2013: In one of the wildest endings you'll ever see Brandeis upset O'Connor to earn the 27-5A title. The game was a defensive struggle for the most part with Brandeis taking a slim 9-7 lead with 8:32 remaining on a 24 yard field goal by Patricio Botello. O'Connor would jump ahead 10-9 with eight seconds remaining in the game as Chandler Coleman nailed a 29 yard field goal. However, after a kickoff that was fair caught Brandeis had one final play to work some magic. The Broncos threw a short pass and after two laterals it appeared a BHS player was going to be tackled and the game would end. However, the Bronco managed to stay on his feet and get another lateral off, the O'Connor sideline thinking the game was over rushed the field while the play was still going on. After the chaos had ended the Broncos were tackled on their own 30, after the 15 yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty Botello trotted out and buried a 32 yard field goal on the untimed down giving Brandeis an improbable 12-10 victory.

3. Cedar Hill 39 Temple 35 Nov. 16, 2013: The eventual state champion Longhorns nearly saw their title hopes vanish in the bi-district playoffs against a stout Temple squad. Trailing 28-7 at the half, Cedar Hill got junior WR DaMarkus Lodge involved in a major way as he caught nine passes for 246 yards and two touchdowns, all in the second half as the 'Horns rallied for a thrilling come from behind win. Despite the big comeback, Cedar Hill needed a late interception on the goal line to seal the victory as Temple was driving for the go ahead score.

2. San Antonio Johnson 42 Cibolo Steele 41 December 7, 2013: One of the biggest upsets of the playoffs took place on a cold December night in San Marcos. Johnson won their first regional championship in thrilling fashion over San Antonio powerhouse Steele and handed the Knights their first ever playoff loss to a San Antonio area school. Johnson, a heavy underdog against Steele came out swinging taking a 28-14 lead at halftime. The Jaguars benefitted from two Steele turnovers and a monster night from QB Hunter Rittimann who finished with five touchdown passes and nearly 300 yards of total offense. After opening the second half with a long touchdown pass it appeared the Jaguars were well on their way to a win leading 35-14. Steele however fought back scoring 21 straight points to tie the game up at 35 with 5:48 remaining. Johnson would embark on their eventual game winning drive scoring a touchdown with fifty-five seconds left on a trick play to take a 42-35 lead. Steele wouldn't go away easily scoring just 31 seconds later to cut the lead to one at 42-41. Instead of playing for overtime, Steele felt they had momentum and decided to go for two, but the pass was broken up and the Knights escaped with a huge 42-41 upset.

1. Argyle 38 Fairfield 33 December 20, 2013: In what was the most entertaining state title game of the ten games played at AT&T Stadium, Argyle won an absolute shootout with Fairfield. The game was the only that featured two 15-0 teams playing and it lived up to the billing. Argyle jumped out to a quick 17-3 lead as their defense stepped up and contained the normally explosive Fairfield offense forcing two interceptions early. Fairfield however took control of the game in the second quarter scoring 21 straight points as RB Larry Rose who finished the game with 160 yards two scores found some lanes against an aggressive Argyle attack. The Eagles took a 24-17 lead as time expired in the half on a 39 yard touchdown pass from QB Jacob Gallegos to Alex Ward. It looked like Fairfield forced an Argyle punt early in the half but Argyle's Ian Sadler who finished his stellar career with five touchdowns, 284 yards of offense and two punts pinning Fairfield inside their own five stepped up. Faking a rugby style punt, Sadler kept the ball and got a first down sprinting 42 yards to the FHS four. He'd score on the next play tying the game at 24, after a Fairfield punt, Sadler would again make the Eagles pay this time returning the punt 65 yards for a score giving Argyle the lead back at 31-24. Fairfield would score the next nine points of the game as the Eagles got a safety and then two plays after the free kick, Rose would score from 54 yards out to give FHS a 33-31 lead. Argyle would respond and on their ensuing drive Sadler would give AHS the lead for good on an eight yard run. Fairfield would respond on their final drive as Rose would break a 64 yard run down to the Argyle 17 to give Fairfield hope. Facing a 4th and 4 from the 11, Rose was stopped for a three yard gain at the eight and Argyle would secure their first state title as they'd take a knee three times and run out the remainder of the clock.



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