With the game and season on the line, Birdville turned to Xavier Turner.
And the junior running back didn't disappoint.
Birdville faced third-and-1 at the Azle 41 late in the game and leading by three. Turner took the handoff, burst up the middle and charged into the end zone.
He finished with 257 yards on 26 carries and three touchdowns as the Hawks held off Azle 55-45 Thursday night in a Class 4A Division I bi-district game at Chisholm Trail Stadium. Birdville (11-0) will face the winner of tonight's game between Granbury and Crowley in the area round.
The Hawks raced out to a 48-31 lead in the third quarter. But Azle (7-4) rallied for 21 points in the fourth. A 4-yard shovel pass from Corbyn Koiner to Dalton Cole pulled the Hornets to within 48-45 with 4:17 left in the game.
Koiner passed for 372 yards and four touchdowns. Three of those scoring passes went to Nolan Harris, who caught 12 balls for 213 yards.
Azle tried its second straight onside kick following the Cole touchdown, but Birdville recovered and got the 41-yard scoring run by Turner to hold off the Hornets' late charge.
In the first half, Birdville went on a run of 24 straight points, with 17 of those points coming without Azle running an offensive snap.
Andrew Tucker booted a 27-yard field goal with just over a minute remaining in the first quarter to cut the Azle lead to 7-3.
The Hawks recovered a Hornets fumble on the kickoff, giving Birdville the ball back at the Azle.
On the second play of the ensuing drive, James Martin threw to Samuel Northey for a 17-yard touchdown.
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