Sports > Schools
Hammer Time: Sachse squeaks by Rowlett, 23-20, in rivalry game.
By Townsend Keller, Special to the Times
In a game that was Pinked Out in the stands, Sachse and Rowlett turned each other black and blue during a 23-20 Mustang win at Williams Stadium that wasn't decided until the final minutes of the game.
"(Our) kids played well, (the) defense played well all night long so I was really proud of them," Sachse head coach Mark "Red" Behrens said. "We got some breaks where we needed them."
The night began with the two teams trading three-and-outs. The first big play of the game would be provided by Rowlett's Danyea Garrett-Lawson, who picked off a pass from Sachse junior quarterback Kent Myers, the first of five Eagle takeaways on the night.
But Rowlett failed to capitalize and Myers amended his previous mistake by leading an 80-yard drive down the field to score. Sophomore halfback Devine Ozigbo took a short pass from Myers in from 17 yards out to put Sachse ahead, 7-0.
Finding Chris Heath three times and hitting Jonathan Williams on a 31-yard bomb, Rowlett senior quarterback Carson Hyles led a 13-play, 86-yard responding drive. A 31-yard boot by Aspen Hulme put the Eagles on the board, 7-3.
"We knew we weren't going to keep them down all night long, they've got some great athletes," Behrens said.
The next two Sachse drives would be derailed by fumbles, both of them on the Rowlett side of the field. The first cost the Mustangs a dear chance to extend its lead when they coughed it up at the Eagle 4-yard line.
On the very next drive, Rowlett pounced on another loose ball at the 44 to end another scoring threat.
After the fumbles, the quarterbacks joined the turnover party.
Two plays after recovering the fumble, Sachse's Marcus Hubbard got the ball back when he picked off a pass. The hot potato contest continued, though, as just three plays after that, Rowlett countered with an interception of its own.
The offenses finally settled down and the half would end with junior kicker John Pannel giving Sachse a 10-3 lead going into the locker room. Rowlett ended the first half with four takeaways, but couldn't manage to get points out of any of them.
"We're happy with (the four turnovers)," Rowlett head coach Kiff Hardin said. "We needed to take advantage of those takeaways. We didn't do a good job of taking advantage of the takeaways."
After a failed Eagle drive to begin the first half the defense again came through, blocking a 33-yard field goal attempt by Pannell. Another stalled Eagle drive gave Sachse the ball back, but only temporarily, as senior defensive back Nick Kirpes intercepted Myers and registered the Eagles' third interception and fifth defensive takeaway of the game.
"We hadn't turned the ball over like that all year and a lot of it had to do with they were hitting us," said Behrens. "It was a hard-hitting ballgame."
On this turnover, however, Rowlett finally managed to take advantage. Hyles hit Williams on the first play of the drive with a 40-yard strike and took care of the remaining yard himself, sneaking into the end zone to even the score at 10-10.
Bruce Bookins jumpstarted the next drive by returning the Eagle kickoff to the Rowlett 44. Myers made short work of getting his lead back, rushing six times for 28 yards and finding Tyrique Edwards for 14 yards. Edwards rushed the final 2 yards for the score, but a botched extra point would keep the Mustang lead at 16-10.
"He is that dual threat," Behrens said of Myers. "He's that guy that can hurt you on the ground and can definitely hurt you in the air."
But for the first and only time all night, Rowlett scored a touchdown on consecutive drives as senior halfback Derrick Imade scored on a 4-yard run, capping off a 77-yard march to give the Eagles their first lead of the night at 17-16.
"(We) just started mixing things around and the kids just started playing better," Hardin said of his improved second half offense. "(We) just told them to stay after it and they did."
After a Hulme field goal increased the Eagle lead to 20-16, the Mustangs found themselves 74 yards away from the winning touchdown.
"We've been in that situation before this year and (the players) reacted well and didn't panic, that's the main thing," said Behrens. "Went down there and scored when we needed to."
Myers would cap off the ensuing drive with a 5-yard run, putting Sachse in front, 23-20. The quarterback finished his night 18-of-28 for 190 yards, a touchdown and three interceptions. He also led the Mustangs in rushing with 20 attempts for 136 yards and a score.
Four straight incomplete passes from Hyles on Rowlett's final drive sealed the Eagle's fate. The Rowlett passer was 11-of-25 for 181 yards and an interception. His top target, Williams, hauled in four catches for 98 yards.
"Proud of our guys for the way they fought and the way they played," Hardin said. "We've just got to learn, got to finish."
The Mustangs were awarded the first Hammer Time trophy for the win, a new tradition that has been started between the two schools.
Rowlett heads into a 7 p.m. Friday matchup with South Garland at Homer B. Johnson Stadium. Sachse returns to Williams Stadium for a 7:30 p.m. Friday matchup with Garland.