Crowley defensive back Xavier Goynes stopped a 2-point conversion try by Granbury with 54 seconds left in the game as the Eagles held off the Pirates 35-34 in a District 3-5A Division I football game on Friday afternoon at Eagle Stadium.
Crowley (6-1, 4-1) scored twice in a 1:14 span, late in the third quarter, to take a 35-14 lead.
Running back Clatayvion Jackson ran it in from 14 yards out with 1:45 left in third. The ensuing kickoff was booted high in air and into the wind, and was recovered on the fly by Goynes at the Granbury 38.
Four plays later running back Duante Blake, who led all rushers with 141 yards on 24 carries, darted in from the two with 31 ticks left on the third quarter clock.
But Granbury (3-3, 2-2) didn’t quit.
Pirates’ running back Zach Watson raced 59 yards for a touchdown with seven seconds left in the third to cut the lead to 35-21. With 1:20 left in the game, quarterback Kyler Gibson capped an 8-play drive with a 4-yard scoring run and the Pirates trailed 35-28.
Things looked bleak for Granbury, but the Pirates were able to force a Crowley punt after using all three of their second half time outs on the Eagles’ next series.
A low punt snap was mishandled by the Eagles and Granbury’s Keeton Derouen somehow came out of the pile with the ball and raced 24 yards for the score, cutting the lead to 35-34 with 54 seconds left.
However, the Pirates were flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct on the play and the tying extra point was tried from the 18, making it a 35 yarder.
The kick by Logan Moore was way short and wide left, but Moore was roughed on the play. The ball was moved to the 9-yard line and the Pirates set up for a 26-yard try, but opted for a fake instead. Moore took a pitch from the holder around the left end, but was tackled by Goynes well short of the goal line to preserve the win.
Both teams started slowly with the noon Friday kickoff due to inclement weather on Thursday night.
Crowley scored first on an 8-yard run by freshman quarterback Jacobe Robinson with 3:01 left in the first quarter. The play was set up after Bryson Bonds recovered a Granbury fumbled punt at the Pirates’ 23.
Granbury answered on the first play of the second quarter when Watson took a handoff, then found Pete Brown wide open downfield. Brown outraced the defense 71 yards on the halfback pass and the Pirates had a 7-7 tie with 11:49 left in the half.
Crowley fumbled on its next series and Tate Baker fell on the loose ball for the Pirates at the Eagles 12-yard line.
Watson did the honors again scoring from 12 yards out to give Granbury a 14-7 lead with 10:48 left before intermission.
He led Granbury with 106 rushing yards on 18 carries.
After the teams traded punts, the Eagles got a spark from Missouri commit Dominique Johnson. The senior running back raced around the left end 73 yards for a TD that pulled Crowley even at 14. Johnson rushed for 108 yards in the game on 11 carries, but left after what looked to be a hip injury on the first play of the second half.
Johnson gained six yards on a run later in the series, but came out after and never returned.
The Eagles took a 21-14 lead into the half when quarterback Kevin Miller capped a 9-play, 66-yard drive with a 6-yard scoring pass to M.J. Tillman. Tillman used his height to grab the high toss out of the air with four seconds left in the half.
Gibson had a big game for Granbury completing 14 of 27 passes for 182 yards, including several clutch throws late to get the Pirates close. His favorite target was Tristan Morris who had six catches for 101 yards.