KELLER -- There wasn't a question in running back Cedric Dale's mind when he picked up 5 yards on a fake punt that gave Keller Timber Creek a key first down late in the fourth quarter -- the Falcons were headed to the playoffs for the first time in the school's four-year history.
But he made sure the next play when he scored on a 15-yard run to give Timber Creek a 26-14 victory Friday over Keller Fossil Ridge at KISD Stadium.
Dale rushed for 99 yards on 25 carries and two touchdowns in only his second game back from a broken arm he sustained in Timber Creek's first district game.
Dale played the game with a padded sleeve around his forearm.
Timber Creek (4-6, 4-3 District 4-5A) held the early advantage and went into halftime with a 13-7 lead on a 20-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Taylor Jones to Chris Hernandez and a 4-yard touchdown run by Dale.
The Dale touchdown was set up by an interception and 74-yard return by Timber Creek linebacker Brandon Bailey.
The first half was riddled with personal foul penalties as emotions boiled over for the final playoff spot in District 4-5A. Timber Creek coach Kevin Golden said the biggest adjustment made at halftime was to settle his team into the game without penalties.
"I told the guys, you have to take all that extra-curricular stuff out of the game and you have to play like you've been coached," Golden said. "If you go to work and do your job, this is going to turn out well for you."
Timber Creek was penalized just twice in the second half.
Fossil Ridge (3-7, 3-4) had a chance in the red zone with under two minutes left but turned the ball over on downs after two incomplete passes in the end zone.
"I had full trust in my defense to come out and stop them," Dale said.
Timber Creek will face Arlington at 9 p.m. next Friday in a Division II bi-district game at Cowboys Stadium.
"The kids are going to be knocked over. I have to get them focused so they can actually play Arlington," Golden said.
We welcome your comments on this story, but please be civil. Do not use profanity, hate speech, threats, personal abuse, images, internet links or any device to draw undue attention. Comments deemed inappropriate will be removed and repeated abusers will be banned. NOTE: If you log in using your Twitter account, your comments will be signed using the name on your Twitter profile, NOT your Twitter user name. Read our full comment policy.