The Weatherford Kangaroos (3-0) and Birdville Hawks (1-2) traded blows for four quarters Friday night at Kangaroo Stadium, but in the end, the game came down to a single play.
After pulling within 33-32 on a 10-yard TD reception with 23 seconds left in regulation, Birdville called a timeout before the PAT attempt.
After breaking the huddle, instead of attempting a field goal and potentially forcing overtime, the Hawks lined up in a spread formation for a two-point conversion attempt.
Birdville quarterback Stone Earle rolled right looking for an open receiver, but his pass was batted down short of the end zone, preserving Weatherford’s lead.
Needing a last-minute score, the Hawks lined up for an onside kick, one which Birdville initially appeared to recover.
However, a pair of fouls on the kicking team (offsides and an illegal formation) forced a re-kick, one which Roos’ senior linebacker Keehlyn Howard cleanly recovered.
Quarterback Ken Seals took a knee near midfield moments later, sealing the 33-32 win for the Roos.
Weatherford Head Coach Billy Mathis said he was immensely proud for the way his players handled adversity in the back-and-forth affair.
“Just the fight in them is what’s so great,” Mathis said.
“They never laid down. Birdville’s a really good football team. They punched us in the mouth, but we just kept going. The resiliency that we played with [Friday] is what excites me about our team, their never give up attitude. They don’t worry about the scoreboard or anything but the very next play. And that’s what they did [Friday], and it shows.”
Despite starting running back Laderrious Mixon being out due to injury, Birdville still managed a strong ground game, churning out 215 rushing yards.
The team’s effectiveness running the ball helped make up for a Hawks’ passing attack which managed only 185 yards.
Still, Birdville’s attack was enough to help the team take a 9-0 lead in the first quarter, before adding another score in the second frame (compared to nine points in the quarter by Weatherford) to go up, 16-10 heading into the half.
However, much like the week before versus North Crowley (which led the Roos, 23-13 at halftime), the blue and white did not falter, rallying back thanks to a pair of rushing scores from running back Dez Forrest in the third quarter while holding the Hawks to 10 points (compared to 15 by the Roos) in the frame to pull within, 26-25.
After taking the lead, 33-26 seconds into the fourth quarter, courtesy of another rushing TD from Forrest and successful two-point conversion, Weatherford made a game-changing play early into Birdville’s subsequent drive.
A pass from Earle was tipped by Roos’ junior safety Cisco Caston and immediately recovered in the air by senior linebacker Keehlyn Howard.
While the turnover did not directly lead to points for Weatherford, the pick helped take away precious time on the field for the Hawks’ offense, which was hurt by a second interception, this time by senior cornerback Brendon Lopez with 5:37 left in regulation.
The pair of turnovers proved crucial, as Birdville nevertheless found the end zone with less than one minute remaining in the game, setting up the game’s dramatic finish.
Like the Hawks, the Roos displayed a balanced offense, putting up 275 yards through the air and 179 on the ground (454 total).
Seals finished 16-of-29 for 275 yards and a score, with senior wideout Rey Huang proving the quarterback’s biggest target, hauling in three receptions for 76 yards.
Teammate and fellow senior wideout Jorden Wheeler followed closely behind with 75 yards on four receptions.
Forrest enjoyed another strong performance, churning out 132 rushing yards and three scores on 23 carries.
Weatherford hosts the Fort Worth Southwest Raiders (0-3) in a non-district game at 7:30 p.m. Friday.