Falcons clinch playoff berth with win over LCM
Hargrave coach Mike McEachern heaved a sigh of relief as he walked off the field.
The Hargrave Falcons 26-12 win over the Little Cypress-Mauriceville Bears on Friday night, Nov. 2 at Falcon Stadium in Huffman clinched a playoff berth.
The Falcons are going to the playoffs for the tenth time in eleven years.
Five plays into the opening drive of the game, junior Justin Shively launched a deep pass toward the left sideline, connecting with senior Aaron Johnson who ran the rest of the way into the end zone to complete the 74-yard touchdown reception.
“We’ve been working on that all week,” said Johnson. “I was trying to get outside and get open, and then, once I got open, I saw there was nobody inside of me, so I got outside and found the ball.”
On Hargrave’s second drive of the game, a 26-yard pass from Shively to senior Garrett Halbrooks set up a 17-yard touchdown pass from Shively to Johnson. The open Johnson had to leap up in the air in the end zone to come down with the ball.
“It was a perfect ball,” he said. “That was probably the best pass he’s ever thrown me,”
A nine-yard touchdown run by junior A.J. San Miguel late in the first quarter, which was set up by a 25-yard pass from Shively to senior Matthew Tomjack and a 43-yard touchdown pass from Shively to freshman Luke Thomas late in the second quarter, which was followed by a successful two-point conversion on a pass from Shively to Johnson concluded the scoring for Hargrave.
“That was a pretty sweet pass, it was designed for me, so we got a pick inside, and then once I got outside, it was wide open,” Johnson said of the two-point conversion reception.
A 28-yard pass from senior Adam Pope to junior James Williams set up a 16-yard untouched touchdown run by junior Landon Bearden, capping a quick-hitting 54-yard scoring drive on the Bears’ opening possession of the game.
“The defense was spot on,” McEachern said. “I was worried when they got that first one real quick. I thought here we go with a high-scoring, back-and-forth game, then our defense tightened down, and they did everything we’ve been working on all week and just played their assignments.”
Junior Peyton Pierson intercepted Pope midway through the second quarter. A sack by junior Noah Zemora late in the second quarter forced a Bear punt. A strip sack by senior Caleb Tiffin and fumble recovery by senior Hunter Cone late in the fourth quarter helped seal the game.
Shively attempted three passes in the second half as San Miguel took a heavy load and helped rund the clock.
During halftime, the team talked about how they wanted to run the ball in the second half.
“They were Just being physical,” McEachern said of the offensive line. “We didn’t feel like we were physical enough last week at Splendora [in a 20-6 loss], but this week, we felt like we needed to get physical from the get-go.”
With the team in victory formation, Shively received the snap, took a step back, and knelt down to finish the game.
The win moves the Falcons to 4-5, 2-2 in District 11-4A-1 with one game remaining in the regular season.
They are tied with LCM for third place, though, officially, Hargrave is in third place due to the head-to-head advantage.
Hargrave’s final game is at Livingston on Friday, Nov. 9. If the Falcons win, they will be the third seed out of the district. If the Falcons lose and the Bears win their game against Lumberton on Nov. 9, Hargrave will be the fourth seed.
“Next week we want to win, we wat to stay healthy, and we want to be 5-5 going into the first round of the playoffs,” McEachern said. “We’ll see see who we get, get on a roll and know we’re looking for that gold ball, that bi-district championship.”
Latest loss eliminates Crosby from playoff contention
A 45-22 defeat at the hands of the Nederland Bulldogs on Friday night, Nov. 2 at Nederland was the Crosby Cougars third loss in a row [after Port Neches-Groves was forced to forfeit their Oct. 12 48-45 win over Crosby due to a UIL violation].
That latest loss officially eliminates Crosby from playoff contention.
The score was tied 7-7 after the first quarter, but a 28-7 second quarter by Nederland proved too much to overcome.
It is the first time since 2005 that the Cougars have not made the playoffs.
The Cougars started the season 4-0, but starting quarterback senior Jaiden Howard, last season’s unanimous first team All-District quarterback, suffered in injury in the first quarter of that fourth win, a 42-36 victory over Vidor on Sept. 28.
Junior Kobe Coker took over for Howard and led the Cougars to a 56-41 victory over Dayton on Oct. 5 in his first game as the starter, but the Cougars are 1-3 since then (which includes the victory by forfeit in the Port Neches-Groves game).