Despite dominating the line of scrimmage in the second half of the District 3-5A contest on Friday at Roo Stadium, the Weatherford Kangaroos kept the Paschal Panthers in the game with too much generosity. Grinding out 400 yards of rushing offense, with three Weatherford runners topping 100 yards each, a potential blowout became a nail-biter to the final tick of the game clock.
But just as they had at the end of the first half, the Grant Werts-led offense maneuvered down the field, ultimately giving place kicker Trey Rich a shot at winning the game with a 29-yard field goal. Just as his four extra-points had done earlier in the contest, Rich’s boot sailed true, splitting the uprights and giving Weatherford a 31-28 district win.
“We tried our very hardest to give that game away, it seems,” Weatherford Head Coach Reid Waller said. “But our defense rose to the occasion a couple of times when their backs were up against it in the second half. They just kept fighting and that gave us the chance to win.
“Trey [Rich] came through for us with the field goal. He thought he was going to get one at 42 [yards out], but I was glad we could get the ball as close as we finally did.”
Knotted at 28-all after the Panthers scored on a 10-yard TD pass, Weatherford took its final possession of the game at its own 25-yard line with 1:38 remaining on the clock.
An incomplete pass and a false start penalty gave a foreboding of looming overtime, but the mood changed drastically on the next play, a 48-yard scamper by Werts. The junior would have four more consecutive rushes in the drive, setting up the game-winning field goal with six seconds left in the contest.
Although the Panthers were moving the ball through the air in the first half, their first score was set up by the defense, who picked off a mid-air lateral after the Roos had driven 55 yards on their initial possession.
Down by seven, the Roos answered on their next possession, displaying the successful running game that served them well through the night.
Three lost fumbles by WHS, one while knocking on the door of a TD and another giving Paschal a short field to work with kept the Panthers close, but the Roos hung on for their first district win.
“I told Trey that I’ve had some conflicts with kickers over the years,” joked Waller, “but that I like him a lot more now than I did 30 minutes ago.”
Weatherford gets back on the road on Friday, traveling to play at North Crowley in a 7:30 p.m. start.
Weatherford 31 Paschal 28 PHS 7 7 0 14 — 28
WHS 7 7 7 10 — 31
PHS — Darrell James 3 run (Christian Vasquez kick)
WHS — Chris Whitling 5 run (Trey Rich kick)
PHS — William Floyd 9 pass to Ben Noel (Vasquez kick)
WHS — Grant Werts 13 pass to Fred Brownlee (Rich kick)
WHS — Jeuqwan Brownlee 2 run (Rich kick)
PHS — James 2 run
WHS — Werts 2 run (Rich kick)
PHS — Floyd 10 pass to Matt Armendarez (Vasquez kick)
WHS — Rich 29 field goal
Team Stats PHS WHS
First Downs 19 27
Rushes-Yards 31-101 45-398
Passing Yards 169 94
Comp-Att-Int 21-33-1 8-11-0
Punts-Avg. 2-33 0-0
Penalties-Yards 4-25 4-20
Fumbles-Lost 1-0 4-3
Rushing — PHS: Darrell James 27-86; WHS: Werts 13-114, F. Brownlee 7-101, J. Brownlee 14-103, Whitling 4-46
Passing — PHS: Floyd 21-33-169; WHS — Werts 7-9-82
Receiving — PHS: Noel 8-84, John Widger 4-43, Marcus Padron 5-30; WHS — Tony Rodriguez 2-28, J.Brownlee 2-27, F. Brownlee 2-26.