Grapevine coach Mike Alexander and Birdville coach Lon Holbrook went out to the middle of the field for the coin flip just before overtime on Saturday night. The pair knew they had a good chance they’d meet for a second time this season.
“Only fitting, huh,” Alexander said.
“Yup,” responded Holbrook.
In a game with a little bit of everything, including the thrill of overtime, it ended with a bad snap.
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Trailing 28-21 in overtime, the snap went past Grapevine quarterback Cade Rhodes and Birdville junior Jalen Brown jumped on it to seal the win for the Hawks in the Class 5A Division I regional round at the Ford Center.
“I chased it down, jumped on it and made sure I secured the ball,” Brown said.
Birdville (12-1) advances to the state quarterfinals for the first time since 2012 to face a district opponent for the second-straight week in No. 3 Denton Ryan (13-0), 8 p.m. Saturday at the Ford Center. Ryan shut out Lubbock Coronado 30-0.
“The kids keep finding ways to win,” said Holbrook, who was an assistant for the 2012 team. “Every group is a special group. These seniors are awesome and the juniors are talented and it’s just a good fit with great chemistry. More than anything, I’m so happy for them.”
Birdville, which beat Grapevine 24-20 in Week 6, went on offense first to begin the extra period and Ladderious Mixon scored his third touchdown on a 2-yard run.
“I know he’s going to get his work in,” quarterback Stone Earle said. “The offensive line was phenomenal again.”
Grapevine (10-3) tied with the game at 21-21 with 4:27 left after a 12-play and 65-yard drive, which was capped off by a 10-yard TD pass from Cade Rhodes to David Clayton.
Rhodes and Clayton hooked up on the first play of the third quarter to tie it at 14-14 when the duo connected for a 75-yard touchdown.
The Mustangs had a chance to take their first lead on their next drive. Roshawn Prear scored on a 43-yard TD, but the play was wiped off with an offensive holding. They went for it on fourth down and turned it over on downs.
On the ensuing drive, Birdville regained the lead, 21-14, on Earle’s 7-yard TD pass to Cade Shaffer with 1:34 left in the third.
“We knew it was going to be huge game and that they wanted redemption,” Birdville junior Hosea Armstrong said. “We had to play a tough game and fight all four quarters, and I think we stepped up to the plate.”
“Anytime you pull out a win, it feels great,” Earle added. “Once we scored in OT, I knew the defense was going to come up huge.”
Birdville took the opening drive 13 plays as Mixon capped it off with a 10-yard touchdown run with 7:26 in the first quarter.
Damian Morrell picked off a Grapevine pass on the ensuing drive, but after the Hawks went three-and-out, the Mustangs tied the game 7-7 with a 46-yard TD pass from Rhodes to Seth Texada.
The teams traded a pair of punts before the Hawks went in front.
Following a 38-yard pass from Earle to Carter Self, Mixon added his second TD of the game and 25th of the season from 42 yards out with 2:04 in the second quarter.
Mixon led the Hawks with 37 carries for 185 yards and three TDs. Rhodes was 23 of 33 for 330 yards and three TDs for the Mustangs. Clayton, a 3-star prospect with six offers, had a game-high eight catches for 134 yards and two TDs.