High School Football

Defense sniffs out Grapevine’s run late; Birdville hangs on to stay undefeated

Birdville wide receiver Hosea Armstrong (7) and Dylan Graffis (14) celebrate after Armstrong’s 24 yard touchdown reception against Grapevine during the first half, Friday night, October 5, 2018 played at Buddy Echols Field in Coppell, TX.
Birdville wide receiver Hosea Armstrong (7) and Dylan Graffis (14) celebrate after Armstrong’s 24 yard touchdown reception against Grapevine during the first half, Friday night, October 5, 2018 played at Buddy Echols Field in Coppell, TX. Special to the Star-Telegram

With 15 seconds left and no timeouts, Grapevine had a first-and-goal from the 4-yard line and a chance to take the lead against Birdville on Friday night at Coppell Stadium.

The Mustangs chose to run the ball and the Hawks knew it.

“Their running back is good and he’s pretty slippery so in that situation you’re going with what you most believe in,” Birdville coach Lon Holbrook said.

The Hawks read it perfectly and tackled Grapevine’s Roshawn Prear for a loss as they hung on to win 24-20 in a District 4-5A Division I matchup.

“I knew they were going to run it,” junior defensive back Hosea Armstrong said. “Just watching film and seeing the formation, I knew it was a run.”

Birdville improves to 5-0 for the first time since 2012 when it won its first 13 games and went to the state quarterfinals. The Hawks, who beat Grapevine for the first time since 2014, are now 2-0 in district.

“Our defense is really good and we stepped up to the plate big time tonight,” Armstrong said. “Grapevine is an amazing team and we handled it pretty well.”

The Hawks had a 10-0 lead after Armstrong caught a 24-yard touchdown pass from Stone Earle on fourth-and-7 with 5:12 in the first quarter.

Armstrong would add a 43-yard TD run on a fake punt attempt to give the Hawks a 17-7 lead with 8:38 left in the second quarter. He finished with three catches and 50 yards.

“He’s done that all year long — offense, defense and special teams — he’s pretty good,” Holbrook said.

The Mustangs (4-1, 1-1) cut the deficit to 10-7 late in the first when Cade Rhodes threw a 20-yard TD pass to Jack Ertz. Rhodes finished with a game-high 208 yards passing.

Rhodes’ second TD went for 60 when David Clayton caught a pass near the Birdville sideline, took a hit from two defenders, kept his balance and ran another 25 yards to pay-dirt to get Grapevine within 17-14 just under the 8-minute mark of the first half.

A 23-yard field goal by Filipe Sarmiento tied it midway through the third and Oscar Moore drilled a 46-yarder to give Grapevine its first lead 20-17 with 7:29 remaining.

Birdville answered the bell with a 12-play and 75-yard drive that lasted nearly six minutes. Laderrious Mixon capped it off with the go-ahead 2-yard TD run.

He finished with 93 yards on 34 carries.

“Last year they beat us by 10 and we prepared in the off-season; trusted each other and the hard work paid off,” Mixon said. “Big thanks to the defense and my offensive line tonight.”

Two penalties hurt Grapevine; bringing back an 84-yard kickoff return for a TD and an 80-yard TD run.

“Grapevine has had our number the last couple years and it’s good to be on this side of it, but honestly it could’ve gone either way. I respect that group tremendously,” Holbrook said.

Birdville looks to stay perfect when it hosts Carrollton Creekview Oct. 12 while Grapevine tries to rebound at Denton.

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