GAMES OF THE YEAR
Class 5A: Euless Trinity vs. Coppell
"Game of the Year" might be undershooting the effect this game had on high school football in Texas.
Coppell never trailed Euless Trinity, then the nation's No. 1 team, until the clock read 00:00 in the Class 5A Division I regional final game. The Trojans took the lead on a short-yardage toss play to running back Tevin Williams, who strolled around the end and to the left pylon completely untouched for a 41-40 victory.
Coppell scored every time it had the ball, with four touchdowns and four field goals, but it wasn't enough.
The epic finish added to the incredible hype leading up to the game that matched two 13-0 teams.
Controversy surrounded Trinity coach Steve Lineweaver’s selection of Southlake’s Dragon Stadium after he won the coin flip. Fans scooped up tickets as fast as they could, ensuring they would have a seat in the stadium that had a much smaller capacity than SMU’s Ford Stadium, which was Coppell's choice.
The game sold out days before the first live televised broadcast of a Friday night Texas high school football playoff game. Wandering ticket scalpers found buyers right outside the gate on the night of the game.
Class 4A: Aledo vs. Mesquite Poteet
A lack of confidence in its kicking game helped Aledo win its Class 4A Division II state semifinal game against Mesquite Poteet en route to the Bearcats' second consecutive state title.
Aledo coach Tim Buchanan decided to go all in and try for a two-point conversion after scoring in the fourth quarter, and the gamble paid off. Buchanan dialed up the number of record-setting running back Johnathan Gray, who carried the ball into the end zone at Cowboys Stadium.
Aledo had missed three extra point attempts the week before.
The two-point conversion gave Aledo a 29-21 lead with with 3:40 remaining. Poteet, led by a gutsy effort by quarterback Beau Nowell, would not stay down. The Pirates, who had gone 1-19 the previous two seasons, marched 71 yards in just five plays and pulled within 29-27 on Nowell's throw to Paul Kamanda with 1:37 to go.
Nowell's pass on Poteet's two-point conversion attempt that would have tied the score, however, fell incomplete. Aledo recovered the ensuing onside kick and ran out the clock.
Nowell almost decided to skip football his senior season to avoid the risk getting injured while he tried to earn a baseball scholarship. His fears were realized when he found himself being carried off the field in the second quarter against Aledo with what trainers on site thought was a broken leg.
The quarterback remained in the locker room for the first drive of the second half. But to the glee of the Pirates' faithful, Nowell sprinted out of the tunnel and talked his way back into the game. On one good leg, he ran for one touchdown and threw for two more in the second half, but just missed carrying his team into the state title game.
While the injury turned out to be a severe high ankle sprain, it does not diminish Nowell's effort, made while in pain and with chants of “Beau, Beau, Beau” coming from the Poteet bleachers.