Nolan Catholic scored only seven points during its first-round loss in last year’s TAPPS playoffs to All Saints. The Vikings managed to match that in less than four minutes on Friday night.
But the Vikings had to battle back to regain their lead as they hung on to beat cross-town rival All Saints on the road, 31-24, to clinch the TAPPS 6A Division I title.
The Vikings (8-1, 3-0) trailed for the first time all night when All Saints (2-6, 1-2) got a 30-yard catch from Money Parks and Andrew Lin connected on a 37-yard field goal that put the Saints in front 24-23 with 10:45 left.
Nolan, which was predicted to finish last in district, responded five plays and 78 yards later. Sam Hicks rushed down the Nolan sideline for a 50-yard gain and Chance Cover capped it off with the go-ahead 1-yard TD run out of the Wildcat with 8:42 to play.
“Everybody stepped up and the coaches did an amazing job,” Nolan defensive back Shawn Holton said. “We used that playoff game as motivation to show people that this is a different Nolan Catholic team.”
Far from over, the teams exchanged punts followed by a turnover on downs by the Saints.
After another Nolan punt, All Saints had the ball at its own 41 and 2:10 to go. Clark Hillman rushed for 14 and hit Donshay Douglas on a 14-yard pass.
Nolan was hit with a 15-yard penalty that put the ball at the 14, but Notre Dame commit NaNa Osafo-Mensah got to Hillman for a loss of 14 and loss of down before the Saints couldn’t complete the fourth-and-long pass.
The Vikings, who wrap up at home vs. TC-Addison on Nov. 9, took a 7-0 lead on Luke Macias’ 6-yard TD pass to Danny Taylor with 8:22 in the first quarter.
All Saints, which beat Nolan 49-7 last year, tied it early in the second when Jordan Jones jumped on a fumble in the end zone, but the Saints gave up the lead on a safety midway through the frame.
Trae King, who had a game-high 105 yards rushing on 15 carries, scored his lone TD from 23 yards to push Nolan’s lead to 16-7 at the half.
Irene Ngabonziza caught a 23-yard TD from Macias to start the third to make it 23-7.
“We came in knowing we had to beat All Saints,” Nolan linebacker Richard Silva said. “We fought until the very end. The work we put in during the off-season showed tonight.”
All Saints started its comeback when Jacob Matlock scored both his TDs on back-to-back runs from the 1 and 8 – the second coming after Nolan had muffed a kickoff return – which brought it to 23-21 with 2:25 left in the third.
Nolan rushed 37 times for 215 yards and gained 448 total. Macias went 21 of 27 for 233 and two TDs. Ngabonziza made five catches for 63 yards while King had 170 total.
The Saints, who finish at Midland Christian, gained 297. Matlock had 20 carries for 73 yards.