Brock football: Zakk Young touchdown
There are tough losses and then there are those that tear at one’s heart, the kind that take a long time - if ever - to forget.
The Brock Eagles experienced one of the latter kind on Friday afternoon in falling to the Malakoff Tigers, 23-21, in their Class 3A Division I state semifinal at The Star.
With three minutes left in the game, Malakoff’s Keevie Rose scored on a 2-yard run for the winning touchdown. It came following a pass interference call against the Eagles that moved the ball from the 11 to the 2, just one play after Brock’s Zakk Young had posted a 4-yard tackle for a loss.
However, the extra point kick was blocked, leaving the Tigers with a two-point lead and Brock with ample time to drive down the field for a potential game-winning field goal try.
Those hopes were squelched, though, when the Malakoff defense tightened and posted a tackle-for-loss and a sack on Brock’s final two plays of the season. With the Eagles having only one timeout and 1:41 left on the clock, the Tigers were able to run out the remaining time and advance to their second state final in three seasons.
The Tigers (12-2) will face Yoakum or Grandview in the championship game on Dec. 20 at 7 p.m. at AT&T Stadium. Those teams played Friday night.
Brock ended the season with a 13-2 record, reaching at least the state semifinals for the third time in their five seasons of University Interscholastic League eligibility. The Eagles won a state championship in 2015 and were state runners-up last season.
Overall, Brock is 67-8 since they became UIL eligible, including 21-4 in the postseason.
“I don’t judge their success on us losing in the semifinals. I’m not any less proud of these kids than I’ve ever been,” a dejected Brock Coach Chad Worrell said. “They played hard all season, and they have represented Brock well. They gave our town a lot to be proud of.”
Ironically, the Eagles had a chance to increase their lead to 24-17 moments earlier, but a 28-yard field goal attempt was partially blocked and went awry. That gave the ball to the Tigers on their own 20 with 6:48 to play, starting them on their game-winning drive.
Brock led 21-17 at the half after a 5-yard touchdown pass from Tripp Jones to Baylor Cupp with four seconds before intermission. It was set up when Takota Taylor returned a kickoff 62 yards to the Malakoff 35.
And all of that came after the Tigers had taken a 17-14 lead on a play that would have made Amari Cooper smile. An alert Malakoff receiver Kaderrius Thomas grabbed a deflected pass in the end zone and managed to get control of the ball as he tiptoed out of bounds with just 37 seconds before halftime.
Malakoff jumped out to a 10-0 lead as Brock struggled to get going offensively with three consecutive three-and-outs to start the game. Hector Romero’s 27-yard field goal was followed by Rose’s first touchdown, a 1-yard plunge with 10:22 left in the first quarter.
Brock broke out of its early offensive slump on the ensuing possession, driving 71 yards in 15 plays and using 6:03 off the clock before Zakk Young’s 3-yard TD to make the score 10-7. They took their first lead a few minutes later after Jesse Hallmark recovered a fumble and the Eagles went 52 yards, capped by a 2-yard score from Taylor for a 14-10 lead.
Game was over when: Malakoff linebacker Colby Rush sacked Brock quarterback Takota Taylor for an 11-yard loss on fourth-and-9 with 1:41 left in the game. Brock had just one timeout left, so the Tigers were able to run out the clock.
Play of the game: Facing a third-and-12 at their own 18 in the final five minutes, Malakoff quarterback Darion Peace found R.J. Carr for a 30-yard gain. It kept the drive alive en route to the game-winning 2-yard TD by Keevie Rose.
Offensive player of the game: Rose finished with 100 yards and two touchdowns on just nine carries.
Defensive players of the game: The Malakoff run defense, which held Brock to almost half of its season average of 310 yards on the ground, limiting the Eagles to 161 yards on 44 carries and only three of more than 10 yards.
Unsung hero of the game: Brock running back Toby Morrison, who finished his final game as an Eagle with 99 yards on 20 carries. He finished the season with 1,854 yards and 28 touchdowns.
What’s next: Malakoff vs. Yoakum or Grandview in Class 3A Division I state final, AT&T Stadium, Thursday, 7 p.m.