By Travis M. Smith | Ellis County Sports Sports
A valiant second-half comeback effort fell 42 seconds and one Hail Mary pass short for the Waxahachie Indians against Grand Prairie at the Gopher-Warrior Bowl on Friday.
The no-longer-winless Gophers built a 28-14 halftime lead, only to have the resilient Indian offense eventually tie the District 7-6A ballgame at 42-all late in the fourth quarter.
A 1-yard touchdown run by Tylexius Straughter (13-128) with 42 seconds to play in the fourth quarter capped a 12-play, nearly six-minute drive. The score also put the bow on the 49-42 Grand Prairie victory.
The win was the first of the season for the (1-7, 1-5) Gophers, while Waxahachie fell to 1-7 on the season and remains winless in its two seasons against 6A opposition.
Grand Prairie opened its homecoming night with a 28-7 lead following an 8-yard touchdown run by Ira Stuckey with 3:03 to play in the second quarter.
The Indian offense then punted on its ensuing drive and pinned the Gophers deep in their own zone. Three plays and three offensive penalties later and Johan Castillo recovered a Stuckey fumble in the end zone for a Waxahachie touchdown.
Crisanto Perez drilled the extra-point kick to cut the Gophers lead to 28-14 with 20 seconds to play in the first half.
The Waxahachie offense came out of the halftime locker room to put together a quick six-play, 86-yard drive that was capped by a 35-yard pass from DJ Hollywood to Kieran Page.
The two offenses then traded a pair of scores — with the final of the four touchdowns going from the right hand of Hollywood to standout wide receiver BJ Hawkins for 59 yards with 11:09 to go in the fourth quarter.
With Grand Prairie in front, 42-35, the Indian offense pieced together a 10-play drive that set up running back Derrick Jackson (23-125, 2TD) for his second rushing touchdown of the game. Perez again split the uprights on the extra-point kick — this time to tie the game at 42-all — with 6:37 showing on the fourth-quarter clock.
At that point in the ballgame, both Waxahachie and Grand Prairie were still in search of their first 7-6A victory of the season. So to say neither team had anything to play for was abundantly false and short-sighted.
Unfortunately for the Indians, it’d be all Gophers over the final six minutes and change.
The Grand Prairie offense promptly put together a 12-play, 78-yard drive that overcame two offensive penalties and was capped by a 1-yard Straughter run.
Hollywood and the Waxahachie offense did not go down without putting the green-and-white faithful on the edge of their seats.
The Indians began their final drive on the 30-yard line of Grand Prairie, only to quickly be faced with a fourth-and-10 situation at the same spot. Hollywood then completed a 17-yard pass to Blair Williams and followed with a 15-yard pass to Hawkins to move the Indians to the Gophers 47-yard line.
Hollywood’s ensuing pass to Hawkins along the 25-yard line fell incomplete. A Hail Mary into the Gopher end zone was then intercepted to end the game and Waxahachie comeback hopes.
BY THE NUMBERS
Hollywood finished the game 20-of-37 for 219 yards with three touchdowns to two interceptions.
Hawkins was on the receiving end of 10 of those Hollywood passes. The junior wideout ended the game with 137 total yards and two touchdowns, which runs his season totals to 80 catches for 1,021 yards and 14 touchdowns.
Vidal led the Gophers offense with 237 yards and three touchdowns to one interception on 8-of-12 passing.
Waxahachie will host Mansfield Summit at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 1 at Stuart B. Lumpkins Stadium. The game will be senior night for the Indians.
All photos by Kirk Holt/Ellis County Sports Sports
Photos to come…..
Travis M. Smith, @Travis5mith