MCKINNEY — A bold decision to go for it on fourth down and a big interception Thursday night helped ensure the Brock Eagles' trip to AT&T Stadium next week.
In a nail-biter that came down to the wire, the Eagles outlasted Mt. Vernon in overtime, 35-28, in the state semifinal.
Brock got the ball first in OT, and sent in the field goal unit to attempt a 37-yarder. After a timeout, the offense returned to the field, and Zach Brewster secured a monster catch from Tyler Moody to convert and set up first and goal inside the Tigers' 10.
Three plays later, facing another fourth down situation, this time on the Mt. Vernon 3-yard-line, Moody found Nathan Jones in the end zone, and the kick after put the Eagles on top 35-28.
It was all Brock defense at that point, as the Eagles forced a fourth down, then Carson Finney intercepted a Tiger pass to win in thrilling fashion.
Perhaps the biggest drive of the night came midway through the fourth quarter, when Brock found itself down 28-21, trailing in the fourth quarter for the first time this season.
Starting at their own 16-yard-line, Moody found Brewster for a first down to the 33. A 13-yard quarterback keeper kept the momentum going before Moody found Jones to get into Tiger territory with under five minutes to play.
Moody found Elijah Potts for another 20 yards before the receiver crossed the threshold, and the kick tied it up at 28-all with 2:40 to go.
The next drive for Mt. Vernon was near-disastrous, as Kadyn Mathews picked up what appeared to be a lateral and took it to the house, but officials ruled it an incomplete pass, setting up overtime.
Down 7-0 early, Brock's defense stuffed the Tigers on their own 5-yard line on a sack by Kadyn Mathews.
Eli Potts returned the kick to the Mt. Vernon 19-yard line, setting up his 16-yard touchdown pass by Tyler Moody a couple of second later, and the Eagles tied it up at 7-7 at the five-minute mark.
In the blink of an eye, Brock took the lead, when Reid Watkins grabbed the ball out of a receiver's hands and scurried into the end zone to make it 14-7.
The Eagle defense, which held the Tigers to 118 yards in the first half, came up with another turnover, this time on a Potts interception, but Brock yielded no points from the possession.
The defense, however, continued its dominance, when Zach Brewster had a sack to pin the Tigers to fourth-and-14 to end the first quarter.
Early in the second, the Tigers found themselves on the Brock 1-yard-line. Using the "bend but don't break" mantra, the Eagles stopped them on a fourth-and-goal attempt, forcing an incomplete pass and a turnover on downs.
Brett Tutter had a 24-yard-run to get the ball on the Mount Vernon 31-yard-line. Facing a fourth-and-11 situation, the Eagles opted to go for it, with Moody converting on a big run.
Two minutes later, Tutter followed up a Brewster run to reach into the end zone, giving Brock the 21-7 lead right before halftime.
Mt. Vernon scored 21 unanswered points in the third quarter, and had a chance to extend their 28-21 lead at the 10-minute mark in the fourth on a field goal, but a bobbled snap took care of that. It resembled another opportunity for the Tigers 9 minutes later, when kicker Adrian Diaz took the field to attempt a game-winning 36-yard field goal, but another rogue snap gave the Eagles another fighting chance.