Keller Fossil Ridge knew the phrase ‘win and you’re in’ on Thursday night, facing Denton Guyer at Keller ISD Stadium.
The Panthers needed a win to assure themselves of a playoff spot or otherwise leave their postseason hopes in the hands of other district teams.
They won’t have to wait for the outcome of a game on Friday night.
Fossil Ridge (6-4, 4-3 District 5-6A) punched their own ticket in a 14-13 upset of Guyer.
Both teams will move into the Division II brackets next week with Fossil Ridge likely playing Hebron.
As the score indicates, it was a defensive battle all night.
It took just 2:05 for Denton Guyer (5-5, 4-3) to score on the game’s opening series. Kaedric Cobbs carried most of the load, finally scoring from 26 yards out.
Defenses prevailed the most all of the remainder of the first half before Fossil Ridge used less than a minute of the half’s final 1:09 to draw even.
Ridges’ Wyatt Rohmer stole the ball away from a Guyer defender in the end zone from an Austin Stohlman pass from 13 yards out for the Panthers to tie the score with just 12 seconds left in the half.
The Panthers’ score capped a 68-yard drive.
Before that 68 yards, though, Fossil Ridge had managed -2 yards of total offense.
The Fossil Ridge defense stiffened after turning the ball over on a fumble, setting Guyer up at the Panthers’ 4.
Successive losses put the Wildcats back to the 15 where Guyer would attempt a 32-yard field goal.
The try was blocked and Rohmer returned the ball for a score only to have the TD nullified by a penalty.
While the Ridge defense continued to shut down the Guyer offense most of the night, including a goal-line stand, they couldn’t overcome great field position by Guyer after an interception by Deuce Harmon.
Guyer started the drive at the Panthers’ 9 and eventually scored when Cobbs again scored from 2 yards out. After a missed extra point, though, the Wildcats lead was just 13-7.
A Guyer punt pinned the Panthers to their own 11 but they drove to the Wildcats’ 41 when Rohmer hit Colione Evans with a strike for a score. The PAT put Fossil Ridge up 14-13.
Guyer got the ball back after Ridge elected to try and convert a fourth down from the Wildcats’ 14.
With just over two minutes remaining, the Wildcats drove to the Panthers’ 47 when Tim Benson intercepted an Eli Stowers’ pass.
Fossil Ridge was able to run the clock out with two first downs to win the game.
Game was over when: Benson’s interception with just over a minute to play sealed the game for Ridge.
Play of the game: There were two big plays, one for each team. The fumble recovery by Guyer at the Panthers’ 4, set up a go-ahead score for Guyer. For the Panthers, the lateral pass from Ridge’s Stohlman to Rohmer who then hit a streaking Evans was the big play.
Offensive player of the game: Stohlman seemed to pick up the Fossil Ridge offense enough to make it click. It was Cobbs for Guyer that was the player to focus on, though. Cobbs finished the night with 21 carries for 113 yards and the two Wildcats’ scores.
Defensive player of the game: Pick any Fossil Ridge defender, including Hicks, Benson or any of the remaining 11.
Moment of the game: For Fossil Ridge, a strip of the ball of Stowers by DeQuan Hicks set up big score.
Stat of the Game: Fossil Ridge rushed for just 71 yards in the game.
Big picture outlook: Fossil Ridge and Guyer will enter the playoffs as the Division II teams from District 3-6A.