Not to give anybody any bright ideas, particularly when it comes to any UIL officials in Austin, but more than a few observers wondered aloud about what effect instant replay might have had on Saturday’s Class 6A Division I state quarterfinals game between Euless Trinity and Allen.
The Trojans got three bad breaks at the very worst of times while losing to the state’s No. 1-ranked 6A team on Saturday, 41-20 at Apogee Stadium.
A questionable spot on fourth down and seven might have — who knows — made a turnover on downs into a touchdown. A great scoring play at the end of half by Allen actually should have been ruled down, and an Allen touchdown run appeared to have been a fumble.
Television replays lent more than enough credence to make those claims.
None of that suggests the Trojans (11-3) would have defeated the Eagles, now 14-0, ranked nationally as high as No. 3, and still the frontrunner to win it all in 6A.
These things happen, and they certainly won’t be the last tough breaks any of these Trojans endure over what promises to be a long life. And instant replay at this level is about as practical as putting wild hogs on a soccer pitch in a friendly.
“You control what you can control. It’s frustrating,” Trinity coach Chris Jensen said. “Pretty much got to play a perfect game against these guys. I’ll just put it this way … we had a lot to overcome today.”
“This is one of the most resilient teams I’ve had here. That’s saying something. I couldn’t be prouder of them. I just wanted to be happy for them one more time.”
The Trojans controlled the ball as they have done all season in scoring twice in successive drives. Both were touchdown runs by running back Courage Keihn of four and 13 yards.
Keihn, who finished with 147 yards on 28 carries, had 96 on the first two drives as quarterback Laki Ellis handed him the ball and the Trinity offensive line won battles.
Allen quarterback Grant Tisdale, who had two touchdowns rushing and another passing, scored on a nine-yard run at the 9:52 mark of the second quarter to put Allen up 14-13.
The Eagles would never trail again as the breaks started falling Allen’s way on the road to 27 consecutive points.
The Trojans turned the ball over on the close spot — they needed the 27 and a half and got the 27 — and punted the ball back again to Allen, which took over at its own 38 at the 1:18 mark.
On the last play of the half, the Trojans flushed Tisdale out of the pocket from Trinity’s 11. Tisdale broke two tackles as he ran to his left. Just as he was going down, he flipped the ball with his left hand — his off hand — to Andrew Magee, who ran 11 yards for a touchdown.
It was play-of-the year material, and a great one, indeed. However, replays showed his knee appeared to be down before he let the ball loose.
Twitter’s agitators fumbled for their phones, just as they did a bit later when Brock Sturges looked to have fumbled on a 31-yard run that was called a touchdown.
No one on the field, however, was making excuses afterward. Bad breaks happen to everyone. It just so happened Trinity’s were magnified by the terrible timing and the stakes.
Sturges, an Arizona State pledge, finished with 177 yards on 22 carries and two touchdowns.
The Eagles moved on to the state semifinals to play Round Rock or Plugerville Hendrickson at 2 p.m. Saturday at McLane Stadium in Waco.
Trinity, meanwhile, walked off the field proud.
“These are my brothers,” said Keihn, a senior. “It was great playing with them. Coach said to leave the program better than we found it. I feel like we did a good job of that. I wish we could keep going, but, hey, Allen played their hearts out. They deserved it.”