For 59 minutes and 57 seconds, Everman and Arlington Seguin played to a scoreless stalemate Friday night.
Then on the final play of regulation, Everman finally found the end zone.
Defensive back Deandre Toliver intercepted a Hail Mary at the 1-yard line and returned it 99 yards down the right sideline for the winning score with no time left on the clock. Everman added the extra-point kick by Juan Jaramillo to escape Wilemon Field with a 7-0 victory in the District 5-5A Division II opener for both teams.
Seguin (0-3, 0-1) quarterback Xavier Gordon completed a 30-yard strike to Taevaun Stanford with three seconds left, giving the Cougars a final chance at a regulation victory from the Bulldogs (1-2, 1-0) 45.
But on the long completion play, Everman’s Anthony Nixon was injured. Nixon was carted off the field after a delay of nearly 30 minutes. Coach Dale Matlock told his team they expected to get an update on Nixon’s health over the weekend but that he had received some positive news about his well-being.
Toliver said he wanted to win it for his injured teammate. “I just said, ‘We’ve got to do it for Nixon. We’ve got to win the game,’” Toliver said. “So when I caught it, I just saw the end zone.”
Everman rushed for 223 yards but found itself unable to cap off several scoring chances. The Bulldogs lost two fumbles and also missed a short field goal try late in the first half.
Seguin lost a fumble, committed three turnovers and had a punt blocked. However, the Cougars had a chance to drive for the win late after stopping Everman on fourth-and-6 at the Seguin 22 with 0:58 seconds left in the fourth quarter.
Game was over when: Toliver found a wall of blockers around midfield. He picked the pass at the Everman 1 near the right hash mark and then veered toward the sideline, outrunning a host of Seguin players on his way to the opposite goal line.
Play of the game: In a scoreless tie, the lone scoring play has to be considered the decisive play. Seguin passed for 125 yards on the night and had completed a 30-yard pass on the play before. So it was a realistic shot that the Cougars could score on the last play. However, Toliver got position on the slightly underthrown ball and was off to the races after securing the INT.
Offensive player of the game: Everman running back Jyden Hollie rushed for 80 yards and helped Everman drive inside the Seguin 20 twice late in the second quarter. Those drives end on a missed field goal and an incomplete pass into the end zone as time expired in the half.
Defensive player of the game: Toliver was the man. His long interception return broke a scoreless tie. He and his fellow defenders shut out the Seguin offense for an entire game and then produced the winning points at the end.
Unsung hero of the game: Sanford, the Seguin receiver, was on the receiving end of a 30-yard catch-and-run that gave the Cougars a chance to score a potential game-winning offensive touchdown on the final play. He finished with six catches for 67 yards.
What’s next? Everman tries to add another district win to its ledger when it hosts Burleson Centennial at 7:30 p.m. Sept. 21. Seguin travels to Midlothian at7:30 p.m. Sept. 21.