Arlington Bowie came into Friday night’s game against Arlington as heavy underdogs.
Arlington was undefeated, ranked No. 20 in the state and was 23-12 in the series, including wins in the past three seasons.
Bowie had everything to prove against the Colts, the reigning District 4-6A champions.
But thanks to two early touchdowns and a stingy defensive unit, the Volunteers upset the Colts 21-20 for their first win against Arlington at Wilemon Field since 1982.
“This is a huge win for us,” Bowie head coach Danny DeArman said. “It’s a testament to how hard our kids have worked throughout the off-season and the leadership that we have on this team.”
The Vols keep pace for the district title race with Martin, which beat Sam Houston on Friday. Both teams are 3-0 in district play and 5-1 overall. They will meet in the regular season finale.
“I’ve been saying it all year, this year’s group is different than what we’ve had for a long time,” DeArman said. “They do a great job of holding each other accountable and pushing each other, and they showed up tonight.”
Bowie was forced to punt on the game’s opening drive, but Arlington muffed the return at its own 21-yard line. Five plays later, the Vols grabbed a 7-0 lead on quarterback Drevvon Ponder’s 6-yard touchdown run at the 8:02 mark of the first quarter.
The Colts (5-1, 2-1) went for it on fourth down during their first four drives and couldn’t convert one. Following Arlington’s second failed attempt, Trint Scott scored from the 7 to give Bowie a 14-0 edge with 4:49 left in the period.
“I don’t know how many fourth downs it ended up being, but you usually don’t see that especially against a good team like that,” DeArman said. “Our defense stepped up tonight. It wasn’t just one kid, it was all of them.”
Arlington’s third possession ended on an 8-yard sack by DeAnte Betts, who came around the blind side untouched. The Colts didn’t complete a pass on their fourth drive.
“It’s an emotional win. It’s a cross-town rivalry and it’s just good to get the win,” senior linebacker Jadyn Landrum said.
But Bowie’s offense stalled as well. After a 5-yard loss and incomplete pass, Arlington’s Drake Stokes and Antonio Franco teamed up for an 11-yard sack.
Then on the punt, the snap was dropped, and Seth Browning and Malakhi Kellough tackled Ponder in the end zone for the Arlington safety with 8:36 left in the second quarter.
Cooper Hicks nailed a 25-yard field goal in the third quarter to pull the Colts within 14-5, and quarterback Kris Sims threw a perfect ball to a striding Charles Brown for a 70-yard TD to make it 14-12 with 2:35 to go in the quarter.
Arlington’s drives in the fourth also resulted in a turnover on downs, and Bowie added to its lead, making it 21-12 with 3:46 to play. The Volunteers fumbled on first-and-goal, but Aaron Runnels was able to fall on the ball in the end zone for six.
“We just completely played all four quarters. They started off slow, which I think messed them up in the long run. We ended up just playing our tails off,” Landrum said. “Defense just flew to the ball. We played aggressive defense.”
The Colts pulled within one with Sims’ 16-yard TD pass to Rodney Luckey with 2:31 left, but Arlington couldn’t stop Bowie, which picked up a first down on Marsaillus Sims’ 11-yard rush with less than a minute remaining.
Bowie rushed for 172 yards, including 114 from Marsaillus Sims on 17 carries.
Arlington gained 304 yards. Kris Sims threw for 217 while Brown made four catches for 118 yards.
“We’ve always been the underdogs so we still feel like we have to prove everyone wrong,” Landrum said.